At long last, Joe Biden has declared his candidacy for the Presidency. On paper, he would seem to be a logical candidate. And yet…
And yet, my gut tells me that he’s on a fool’s errand. Biden will appeal to a certain segment of the electorate, certainly; he will appeal to the segment that is largely older, and remembers a time when we had a broad consensus in this country about what was right and wrong, and our divisions were mainly on issues of policy. Those days, sadly, are gone forever.
We now find ourselves in a reality where right and left no longer talk to each other. We are in a reality where a significant minority of the population is fine with building walls, imprisoning children, suppressing the votes of people they don’t like, and look up admiringly to a brass-plated wannabe strongman. These people didn’t get there on their own. They had help from a network dedicated to propaganda. They had help from an economic system that took their homes, and left the people who sold them the bad loans in the first place largely alone and free to carry on. They had help from cynical, power-seeking politicians who pandered to racial prejudice and told lies about a legally elected President, who placed party above country, and who told them that they would make everything wonderful again, and that their problems were not the fault of the massive corporations that rule their lives, but of the poor brown people who were coming here to find a better way of life, using the classic reactionary tactic of setting worker against worker.
With all of that, you can’t expect a 76-year-old, white, male, business-friendly neoliberal to present much of a compelling case to the people who voted for Trump. You also can’t expect him to be an attractive option to the base of the Democratic Party, which has shifted leftward to embrace far more progressive positions than Biden is comfortable with, such as Medicare For All and the Green New Deal. He’s yesterday’s man, and although yesterday’s world has its attractions, it’s not coming back.