Than Win the Presidency with Bernie
Former Vice President and 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, after more than three decades of losing in Democratic presidential primaries, finally won big with his resounding victories in South Carolina and the Super Tuesday states. In the days immediately following his success in South Carolina, both Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar promptly suspended their campaigns, and, along with current and former Democratic senators, endorsed Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination. The coalescing of prior presidential candidates around Joe Biden represents a concerted effort by the Democratic establishment to rally around a deeply flawed candidate, to intentionally prevent the candidate best suited to defeat the incumbent president, Senator Bernie Sanders, from winning the Democratic nomination.
With Biden’s victories in South Carolina and Super Tuesday, Joe Biden breathed new life into his ailing campaign after finishing 4th, 5th, and 2nd in the previous primaries and caucuses. The reason for Biden’s decidedly poor results was his belligerent and incoherent behavior on the campaign trail. In campaign events and debates in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, Biden called a prospective voter a “damn liar,” a young student a “lying dog-faced pony soldier,” and continuously fumbled over his own words.
The legal requirements for the presidency of the United States, as stated in the constitution, are as follows; must be a natural-born citizen, a resident for at least 14 years, and be at least 35 years of age. Our founding fathers probably didn’t think it necessary to state that a president should be able to speak in complete, coherent sentences, but perhaps they should have. Furthermore, if these kinds of reactions to inquiries from the press and prospective voters are going to be customary, then it begs the question; should Biden win the nomination, how is he going to handle the rigor of what will surely be a contentious presidential election?
Say what you will about Trump’s bluster, but in the 2016 Republican primary and general election, he showed himself to be a skilled debater, quick on his feet, and very adept at launching ad hominem attacks against his opponents. Considering Biden’s difficulty handling challenging questions, it takes a real stretch of the imagination to envision him being adept enough to handle President Trump on a debate stage.
Biden’s verbal gaffes and belligerence, however, are the least of his problems. Far more worrisome, and much more of a liability, are his voting record, his history of transactional politics, and vocal support for all of the same policies that proved to be the undoing of former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House in 2016. Biden’s electoral vulnerabilities aren’t merely identical to those of Clinton; they are, in fact, greater in number and more severe.
Any study of the electoral breakdown of prior presidential elections will see a consistent pattern emerge. The east coast states of New York and Massachusetts, and the west coast states of California and Washington, are typically regarded as safely blue in any presidential election. While the Great Plains states and the states of the former Confederacy are always reliably red, it’s the states of the Industrial Midwest; Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, that typically decide the winner of any presidential election. The region, previously referred to as the “Manufacturing Belt” for its once flourishing industrial sector, is now, in a pejorative sense, referred to as the “Rust Belt”. In 2016, candidate Donald Trump performed a clean sweep of the entire Industrial Midwest by hammering his challenger for her support of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The economic livelihood of the electorate of the former “Manufacturing Belt” suffered severely as a result of NAFTA. While studies have shown that NAFTA produced a great deal of wealth for the United States, that prosperity was not shared, and the trade agreement is said to have resulted in the loss of up to 1 million manufacturing jobs throughout the mid-1990s and early 2000s. Secretary Clinton’s prior vocal support for NAFTA proved to be an irreconcilable difference for the electorate of the region. Biden, then serving as a Senator from Delaware, voted for the passage of NAFTA in 1993. Furthermore, Biden has stated publicly, even with the well-known hardships inflicted upon America’s manufacturing sector, that he didn’t regret his vote. Should he win the presidential nomination, Biden’s support for NAFTA will prove to be a grave liability in the general election.
Yet another line of argument that proved damaging against Clinton in 2016 was Trump’s repeated criticism of Clinton’s vote for the invasion of Iraq in 2003; the grounds for which, were based on the false premise of Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction (of which none were ever found). The invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq is now widely regarded as the most disastrous foreign policy decision since the invasion and occupation of Vietnam. Not to be outdone, Biden also voted in favor of the decision to invade Iraq. If Biden wins the Democratic presidential nomination, Trump will remind the electorate, especially its working-class members, who are always disproportionately represented on the front lines of any military conflict, of Biden’s vote for a war that lasted seven years. A war that cost 2 trillion dollars, resulted in tens of thousands of U.S. casualties, hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, and the creation of ISIS.
What makes Biden a uniquely risky Democratic presidential nominee, especially when considering the beleaguered economic circumstances of the Industrial Midwest, is his 40-year effort to reduce social security benefits. Millions of elderly American’s rely on social security for their financial well being, and they are also a demographic known for high voter turnout. It is incomprehensible as to why putting forth a candidate with a long history of advocating for the reduction of social security benefits, is somehow supposed to be a winning strategy for returning the states most crucial to any presidential election to the Democrats.
Making it even more likely that Biden will lose the swing states was his central role in making it more difficult for families to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Debtors prefer that families file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy as it guarantees that a portion of future wages are to be garnished for repayment, a measure that got Biden nicknamed “the senator from MBNA”. To add insult to injury, Biden ensured that the bankruptcy bill also made it impossible for Americans to discharge student loan debt, which current estimates put at around $1.6 trillion. If Biden is the Democratic nominee in 2020, there should be no surprise if voter turnout among young voters is low.
At this point, it is well known that Trump’s campaign promise to “drain the swamp” was entirely hollow; however, it did represent a credible line of rhetorical attack against his establishment opponents in 2016. In Biden, Trump could potentially be competing against a veritable Swamp Thing. Biden’s record reflects a long history of the kind of corrupt transactional politics that much of the electorate has come to despise.
Trump’s election in 2016 was a referendum on the establishment; an establishment that created the Great Recession of 2008, installed a trade agreement that decimated the economic prosperity of America’s Industrial Midwest and plunged the United States into an expensive and unnecessary bloody war on false premises. A Biden presidential campaign against President Trump has the same pitfalls as Clinton’s in 2016, in addition to more egregious liabilities. Not only did Clinton not have a history of calling for the reduction of social security benefits, but she also wasn’t crucial to the creation of the student loan debt crisis. Perhaps no other candidate other than Biden would make it pertinent to mention that Clinton was also adept at handling the press and stringing together coherent sentences.
That the Democratic establishment has chosen to rally around such a flawed candidate, is not an indication of their desire to defeat Trump, but instead an unveiling of their real number one priority; the preservation of the status quo and its corporate monetary foundation. The Democratic Socialist from Vermont has sworn off corporate donations and funds his campaign entirely with online fundraising from the general public. Furthermore, Sanders has vowed to end the overwhelming influence of wealthy corporations and donors in our political system.
This pledge from Sanders, anathema to the record of Biden, to end the influence of capital in our politics, represents a clear and existential threat to the Democratic establishment’s way of life. The revolving doors between government and big business, the hundreds of millions of dollars that flow from corporations to campaign coffers, the relationships between those that hold the levers of power and those that fund them, would all be threatened with extinction under a Sanders administration.
If Biden wins the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination and loses the general presidential election, then at the very least, the way of life for the Democratic establishment: the leaders of the DNC, the paid political consulting firms, the lobbyists, the political operatives, and the influence that wealth maintains over them will remain intact. The Democratic establishment would still be able to preserve their funding, political power, social status, and livelihood. If Sanders, invulnerable to Trump’s anti-establishment attacks, were to win the nomination and the presidency, the establishment’s way of life would radically change. With the coalescing of the Democratic establishment around a hopelessly flawed candidate, the establishment has chosen to prioritize their way of life over winning back the presidency.