As a Bernie Sanders supporter, I have a warning for our friends on the Right. The warning is to be afraid of Joe Biden (D-Delaware).
You need to fear Joe Biden, because the former Vice President is one of the most dangerous politicians in America today. All the polls and pundits; including myself, thought Biden’s presidential bid was dead on 29 February 2020.
Now, Biden is leading the race for delegates in the Democratic presidential primary. In detail, Biden had 664 delegates to the Democratic Convention on 8 March 2020, five days after Super Tuesday. In contrast, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders had 573 delegates on the same day.
Overall, Biden won 10 primaries on Super Tuesday, including the giant state of Texas. Notably, Biden can win in Texas, and I think Republicans need Texas to hold the Presidency in 2020.
Warning to Republicans, do not draw the Wrong Lessons from the Primary
I believe many Republicans; however, will learn the wrong lessons from the Democratic primary.
To explain, those Republicans will convince themselves that U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) is a weak candidate promoting an unpopular cause; socialism. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Sanders is a strong candidate and the most popular U.S. Senator in America. To elaborate, Morning Consult ranks Sanders as the most popular Senator with a 65% approval rating in 4th Quarter 2019. In addition, Sanders is an aggressive campaigner who attracts support from groups who normally do not vote, such as young people.
That makes Bernie dangerous, because he can mobilize groups of voters pollsters do not count. Notably, Sanders received the votes of 58% of Texans between 18 and 29 and 42% of Texans between 30 and 44, CNN Politics estimates.
Additionally, Sanders’ policies of Medicare for All, Free College, opposition to free trade, unrestricted immigration, and a $15 minimum wage are popular. For instance, 40% of Americans want to replace Obamacare with Medicare for All and 63% of Americans favor universal health insurance, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates.
In particular, Sanders’ agenda has wide appeal in parts of the U.S. where economy fails ordinary people – such as California. Notably, Sanders won 33.8% of the Super Tuesday vote in California.
Republicans need to avoid the mistake of thinking Sanders has no appeal because they find his agenda offensive. Remember, Democrats thought the same thing of Trump in 2016, and they lost.
In the final analysis, Biden won an impressive upset victory over a popular and well-financed candidate. Notably, Open Secrets estimates Sanders had raised $132.565 million as of 31 January 2020.
Plus, a well-organized grassroots movement with a powerful digital presence backs Sanders. Thus, Biden’s primary win is similar to Donald J. Trump’s (R-Florida) unexpected victories in 2016.
How Biden Could Win
I think Biden could win the General Election because he could mobilize two groups.
First, Biden has a strong appeal to blacks, particularly older African Americans. Importantly, Biden has the support of the organized power structure in many African American communities, including the remains of the Civil Rights movement.
In fact, Vox estimates Biden received 61% of the black vote in the 29 February South Carolina Democratic primary. Meanwhile, Sanders won just 17% of the South Carolina black vote.
This support, and Biden’s association with former President Barack Obama (D-Illinois) gives Biden popularity, credibility, and moral authority in black communities. In particular, Biden has strong appeal to older and less educated African Americans.
Notably, the black vote in 2016, was lower than in 2012. In detail, Pew estimates 66.6% of blacks voted in 2012 but only 59.6% of blacks voted in 2016.
Could 2020 be a Repeat of 2012?
Some observers blame voter suppression for this phenomenon. I believe voter suppression is a serious problem, however, I do not think Republicans could suppress enough votes to affect an election.
In particular, Biden could repeat Obama’s performance in 2012. In 2012, some observers thought Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts) could win. However, a large African American turnout not predicted by polls, put Obama over the top.
In detail, RealClearPolitics average of Polls predicted Romney could receive 48.1% of the vote. However, Romney received 47.2%. In addition, RealClearPolitics predicted Obama would receive 48.8% of the vote, but he received 51.1%.
If Biden gets a lot of black support and help from Obama he could repeat that performance in 2020. Moreover, Biden could win by choosing a black running mate. Personally, I think Biden needs to pick a left-wing black such as Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D-Minneapolis) or Stacey Abrams (D-Georgia).
The fire breathing Ellison; in particular, will be a perfect counterweight to the touchy feely and wishy-washy Biden. I.e. Ellison could fire up the true believers while Biden reassures their grandmothers.
African American Support can Take Biden to the White House
One reason why Biden is successful with African Americans is that he forms close relationships with Civil Rights Leaders such as U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina). Many observers believe Clyburn’s support helped Biden carry South Carolina.
Conversely, I think Biden’s success among African Americans provides an opening for both Trump and Sanders’ style leftists. To explain, younger and better-educated African Americans are fed up with traditional leaders and looking for alternatives.
For instance, NBC News estimates 38% of black South Carolina Democrats under 30 supported Sanders. However, 36% of black South Carolina Democrats under 30 voted for Biden.
Thus, a smart move for the American Left is to pump money and resources into next generation African American groups such as Black Lives Matter. Another is to use credible black celebrities such as comedy great Dave Chappelle and popular rappers to reach young black people.
Finally, the Left needs to identify popular young African American leaders and back their careers. In particular, the Left needs to build up alternatives to people such as Clyburn before Republicans do the same thing.
Republicans need to pay attention to Biden’s appeal to blacks, particularly Southern blacks, because it could lead to nasty surprises. Remember, David Jones (D-Alabama) upset victory in the 2017 Alabama US Senate race. I think Biden could carry some supposedly red Southern States, including South Carolina and Mississippi because of the black vote.
The Devil’s bargain Republicans made with Southern Racists in the 1960s and 1970s could come back to haunt the Grand Old Party (GOP) in 2020.
Biden’s White Supporters
Second, I think Biden’s surprise wins in Minnesota and Massachusetts shows that Joe has strong appeal to some white voters.
I suspect those voters are older, educated, suburban whites, and retirees. Many of the Biden voters are older women who fear both Bernie and Trump.
To elaborate, Trump’s racism, sexism, and blustering ways scare those ladies. However, Sanders’ radicalism and talk of socialism and revolution also scares those women.
In contrast, Biden seems gentle, kind, safe, and reassuring to those women. Thus Biden’s act is Mr. Rogers on the campaign trail. Biden’s conservationism, which puts off younger voters, appeals strongly to older white voters.
Notably, Biden received the support of 43% of Texas voters over 65 and 42% of Texans between 45 and 64, CNN Politics estimates.
Is Biden A Kinder and Gentler Trump?
Thus, you can think of Biden as a kinder and gentler Trump. Notably, Biden appeals to one of the same emotional triggers as Trump. That trigger is nostalgia for a better and simpler time.
The difference is Biden’s nostalgia is for the age of the union hall, national consensus, and New Deal politics. However, Trump’s nostalgia is for the white bread suburbs of the 1950s and the simplicity of pre-1960s America. To some voters, Biden represents a simpler time when responsible politicians met behind closed doors and worked out sensible solutions to the nation’s problems.
Thus, the Biden fantasy is that Joe can restore consensus and civility to American politics. I do not believe Joe could restore consensus or civility because divisive figures such as Trump, Sanders, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), and U.S Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are powerful enough to sabotage any effort at consensus.
Can Biden Attract Trump Voters?
Therefore, I think Biden can peel away some Trump voters. However, I am not sure if it will be enough to affect an election.
Despite that, I believe Biden is very competitive in white suburbia. Joe may not bring in new voters, but he will attract the older whites who are more apt to vote. Only elections will reveal if Biden can attract enough suburban votes to win.
Biden vs. Bernie vs Trump
You can blame Biden’s success on the former vice president’s ability to accumulate social capital or political favors.
In essence, Biden is a master of old-fashioned politics that are built on personal relationships and coalitions. That helps Biden win in places with strong traditional communities such as South Carolina. However, it hurts Joe in places such as California where such communities are few.
In addition, Biden appeals to older voters because he is like them. For instance, Biden is conservative, moderate, and averse to radical solutions and strongly wedded to traditional institutions and values.
Bernie accumulates a different social capital. In particular, Bernie is an expert at appealing to intellect and ideas. This helps Bernie online and appeals strongly to younger voters.
I think many people under 40 like Bernie because they view him as one of them. In particular, Bernie is a nerd and a Geek, which speaks to thirtysomethings in a way Biden’s emotionalism cannot.
For example, a 30-year-old woman could see Biden’s empathy as creepy and offensive. However, her 65-year-old mother sees Biden as compassionate and loving.
Meanwhile, the 65-year-old mother sees Bernie as a cold, unfeeling egghead. Yet the 30-year-old woman views Bernie as intelligent, sort of edgy, and visionary.
In addition, Bernie’s personalty has a strong appeal to people who rely on digital media for news, while digital media makes Biden appear to be an incompetent clown. For instance, Bernie appears to be a clever intellectual on YouTube while the same medium portrays Biden as a bungling clown.
Donald J. Trump (R-Florida) in comparison is a weird hybrid. To explain, Trump has a strong appeal both on and off of digital media. I know of no other politicians with such a dual nature. That could help Trump win in a nation where 73% of adults say they watch YouTube videos in 2019, Pew Research estimates.
Joe Biden will be a Terrible President
I fear Joe Biden because he could win, and I think Biden will be a terrible president.
To explain, America needs a leader willing to propose and attempt big, dramatic, structural changes. The American welfare state, for example, needs a complete overhaul, and the economy will need vast changes to cope with Climate Change. Other areas that need dramatic changes are taxes, the military, and foreign policy.
Biden, however, fails or refuses to acknowledge that reality. Instead, Biden focuses on cheap emotionalism and maintaining the status quo at all costs. For instance, Jail Crooked Donald instead of Medicare for All.
Despite his faults, Bernie recognizes this reality and proposes such changes. Whether Bernie can make such changes is anybody’s guess. Biden in contrast will not even try. Trump sort of recognizes this reality, but has failed to do anything meaningful as president.
Instead, Biden will try to restore an old-fashioned consensus by being nice to Republicans and Left-wing Democrats who are out to destroy him. How Biden will react that reality is hard to predict, but my guess is Joe cannot cope and will probably suffer an emotional breakdown.
Essentially, I think Biden is intellectually and emotionally incapable of providing the leadership America needs. To elaborate, the skills that help Biden win elections and survive in Congress will not help him as president in today’s environment.
Ironically, those attributes of relationship building and “empathy” could keep Biden from making the tough decisions. For example, Biden could refuse to sign controversial legislation out of fear of offending some group or reject a sensible deal because it offends his supporters.
In conclusion, I fear Joe Biden because he could win, and he will be a terrible president. All sane Americans need to fear Joe Biden because the amount of damage President Biden could do is vast.
Originally published at https://marketmadhouse.com on March 10, 2020.