Joe Biden is currently sitting on 1,215 delegates, in comparison to Bernie Sanders’ 909 and so, in all likelihood, it is Biden who will be the next Democratic Presidential candidate. And so, in all likelihood, it is Trump who will be the next US President once again. There were some on the left preferring a Trump win to a Clinton win in the 2016 general election, in the hopes that in the very least Trump would be so vile and shocking that he would push people to seek radical change and pave the way for a bold, new progressive leader. But in fact, whilst this may have occurred to some extent, the opposite is also true. People have become so beaten down by the idiocy and cruelty of the Trump administration that instead of seeing politics of the past as a system so bad it created Trump, people now view it through rose tinted glasses, begging for a return to normalcy, a return to politics as it used to be. And Biden, the former Vice President of the Obama administration, epitomises just that.
This is not, however, an issue of right versus left. Whilst I disagreed with candidates such as Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, I believe that all of these candidates would have beaten Trump easily in the next general election. Joe Biden, however, I have always doubted. Joe Biden is a target-rich environment. He has always been prone to political gaffes which are now seen as part of his character, loveable ‘uncle Joe’. Yet recently we’ve seen more and more cases of what seems to be genuine senility, Biden not knowing which state he’s in, or pointing to his wife and saying “my little sister Valerie”. He seems to be both forgetting and imagining events, and told a story three times in two weeks about being arrested on his way to meet Nelson Mandela alongside the UN ambassador. But Mr. Young, the UN ambassador, has stated “no I was never arrested, and I don’t think he was either”. Worst case scenario is he loses to Trump, but say best case scenario and he does win, is it then okay to have someone with questionable mental faculties in charge of the country? How have standards dropped so low? People calling these signs of senility out have been accused of being impolite, but are the Republican party going to be polite to him? Is Trump going to be polite to him? No, they will rip him apart in the general election. They did so with Hillary Clinton in 2016 over imaginary illnesses, so just imagine the level of their attacks when they no longer have to imagine.
Biden also has a questionable track record on issues of civil rights and civil liberties. He worked with and praised Strom Thurman, who ran on a segregationist ticket for the presidency, a deeply racist man who stayed deeply racist throughout his life. He was also to the right of Reagan on drugs policy and was one of the earliest advocates of the war on drugs which has been so detrimental to African Americans, as the policy did little more than to mass incarcerate non-violent drug users and cause a 100 to 1 crack vs cocaine disparity. When you dig deeper into Biden’s record, it is actually quite grotesque. Biden’s association with Obama is seen to vindicate him but he was picked by Obama as a safe white choice, not for his appeal to African Americans.
Biden has also faced criticism over his dismissive treatment of Anita Hill who accused Clarence Thomas, President Bush’s nominee to the Supreme Court, of sexual harassment, when he was chairing the committee overseeing the hearings. She said she does not accept his apology after a phone call as she does not feel like it can even be characterised as such, as he still has not taken full responsibility for his conduct at the hearings. Whilst his track record is not nearly so vicious as that of Donald Trump, it doesn’t need to be. It just has to be enough to discredit his moral high ground, as Trump voters are going to vote for Trump no matter what. Democrats and independents are different, this may put off minorities and women from turning out to vote and make Biden unable to put forward a case for himself to independent voters, whom Biden needs.
Whilst some Democratic voters might simply be desperate for a return to the politics of the old days, Republicans and independents are anything but. They showed this when they elected Trump. This is why Bernie Sanders polls so highly with independents and actually leads amongst candidates most able to beat Trump, because he is promising to change the economy to empower the working classes and fight corruption. Trump promised similar things in the 2016 election, he promised to “drain the swamp”, although clearly Trump never meant any of this and has stocked his cabinet with millionaires, billionaires and bankers. But Biden has also promised his rich donors that “nothing will fundamentally change”.
The truth of Trump’s claims is irrelevant, people believed them, and for some reason, despite his failure to follow through on any of them, his voters still believe he will pull through and deliver the change they crave. Biden has said himself, that he will not even try. What’s worse?