If nothing else, Donald Trump is self-aware. He’s spent the last three years taunting, enunciating incendiary and dangerous lies, abandoning the rule of law, attempting to run the country like his failed businesses, and above all else, being protected. He’s a noxious and innumerate tyrant who’s tirelessly forging his bullying métier and incessantly pandering to his racist base— all the while failing to honor any campaign promise beyond strict discrimination and torment towards those the Right necessarily identifies as “enemy.” He’s the poster child for abject incompetence and a paragon of unconscionable malfeasance. But perhaps most crucially, he’s acutely self-aware. To ignore this fact would be a gut-wrenching mistake—because it’s telling. If we are to succeed in blocking Donald Trump’s path to reelection and his subsequent path to the most powerful office in the land, we cannot make the same mistakes as 2016—responding to a senile racist reactionary with a relatively weaker candidate. The Democratic establishment (and voters over 35) would be wise not to ignore the lessons of 2016 because they don’t want to run the incredible risk of nominating a relatively weaker candidate all for the sake of what they perceive as being “safe.” Regardless of how much the establishment and Obama voters think Joe Biden is within striking distance of the presidency, his lukewarm policy visions and retrograde ideologies put him in a position that isn’t actually proximal to the Oval Office again whatsoever. Joe Biden is running an uninspiring campaign. Largely, his supporters are those who feel that he is the safety pick—the illusion of a virtuous, moderate pragmatist. They feel that safety and perceived stability will not only return us to the time before Donald Trump, but that that time is somehow preferential to a future with sweeping progressive overhauls, radical climate change action, and economic justice. If we fail to nominate Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump will be illegitimately awarded with another four years as president.
There is still half of the country up for grabs at this point in the race for the nomination, but if Joe Biden maintains his front runner status, he will no doubt be the one to debate to beat Donald Trump—a notorious and exploitive bully. There is certainly a not-so-insignificant amount of Democrats who are rightfully worried if Bernie can stay competitive and clinch the nomination as we pass the “halftime” mark in the primary races. Hopefully the debate between the two highlighted well the flaws of Joe Biden—his abysmal record of advocating to slash government assistance programs, his record on the Iraq war, etc. And as far as actual public performance of the candidates is concerned (especially lately), Joe Biden makes Donald Trump’s incoherence look like dancing eloquence and clarity.
If the Democratic establishment’s response to the victory of a far right-wing extremist, conspiracy theorist, and virulent racist is to nominate the most incoherent establishment-favored Democrat, then not showing up for Biden in the general will not make a bit of difference—just as it didn’t in 2016 when Hillary Clinton won 4 million more votes than Donald Trump (and still lost). As Donald Trump has shown, his supporters don’t care too much about facts, reason, or humanity. If they did, Joe Biden would certainly not be the one reaching enough voters on the other end of the political spectrum to capture those votes in crucial midwest states. Aside from the fact that people don’t want to vote for one sexual predator or the other, there is also a large enough chunk of the Democratic party (or in Bernie’s coalition) who won’t show up for Joe in November, because by simply nominating him, we see it as a failure of the party. It’s the exact point at which he’s already lost to Donald Trump. If 2016 is any lesson to us, it’s that nothing is predetermined, but what other reason do we have to believe that Biden’s candidacy is not a repeat of Hillary Clinton’s without the smear campaign about her email scandal? Do people seriously not think the Trump campaign won’t completely exploit Joe Biden’s lies? Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton hold the same views on trade that helped Clinton lose the midwest and is nowhere near as sharp on a debate stage as Hillary Clinton was against Donald Trump in 2016. Donald Trump will undoubtedly clobber him on the debate stage and exploit Joe Biden’s lies and inconsistency in the senate. He can do this because Donald Trump enjoys a certain invincibility amongst his supporters of criticisms to his own dangerous lies. He says whatever he wants. He isn’t held accountable whatsoever by congressional Republicans or his supporters. One last point here is that Joe Biden is a relatively weaker candidate who is speculated to pick Amy Klobuchar (of all people) as a vice president—someone who brings nobody new into the party nor does she inspire the energy necessary to organize and implement radical change, just like Hilalry Clinton’s VP pick Tim Kaine.
Joe Biden consistently tells us to look at what someone’s done in the past to asses what they can do going forward. Joe Biden’s egregious record on cutting government programs, his stance on the Iraq War, his lies about his college career, and lies about his civil rights record provide sufficient insight into the type of person Joe Biden is. All Joe Biden ever has done is advance is the racist legacy of neoliberalism and fail to hold the financial industry liable to the public. Even if his his intention is to “reach” across the aisle and “get things done” with the mythical reasonable Republicans, it will culminate into no actual action or real policy victories that help the working condition of the U.S. No one is made better off. Joe Biden’s main selling point is that he clings to Obama era “victories,” helping him to surge with support amongst black voters, yet Biden believes not in helping anyone outside of his own generation or class. His language on the campaign trail showcases his fraudulent sell of the image of him as as “a common guy,” but he has proven time and time again that he cares about nobody besides those who look like him when he looks around the room at a fundraiser. He has nothing but mock and scorn for everyone who tries to hold him accountable for this, like younger voters or union workers.
We shouldn’t aim for the time before Trump that Joe Biden is so fond of—the Obama era classified by bank bailouts and botched healthcare reform. We need Medicare for All immediately to protect our most vulnerable citizens, realize economic justice and climate change, impose wealth taxes, and finally signal that we are ready to improve our current condition. We need not try and rehabilitate capitalism or settle with lukewarm foreign policy goals. We need to take aggressive action sooner rather than later, and Joe Biden is a retrograde candidate who does not care about such matters. Anyone under 40 today in America has only known their government to thrust them into the perils of wars, extreme inequality, and financial crises. To Joe Biden, winning is only about riding on the coattails of Obama, except he knows that he won’t be around as long as the rest of us to deal with the fallout.