Joe Biden’s Campaign May Be Reinvigorated, But He Isn’t

Joe Biden’s Campaign May Be Reinvigorated, But He Isn’t

It’s conventional wisdom that a Biden coronation and a hyper-disciplined party apparatus coalescing will bring everything back to normal in the frayed Democratic field. Not so fast.
Sumantra Maitra
By

An oft-repeated adage claims the left falls in love  — with ideas and personalities, probably — and the right falls in line. In short, it’s often asserted that the right is more disciplined, hierarchical, and mechanical than the left.

Is it, though? After Super Tuesday, many such assumptions are under renewed scrutiny. For example, after Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg torched their millions, only a lunatic would claim money can buy everything in politics. Yes, that includes a few thousand dollars of Facebook ads, allegedly by someone sitting in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Likewise, the coalescing of the Democratic field behind Joe Biden just ahead of Super Tuesday, with the message discipline and precision of a Soviet Central Committee, is a testament to the fact that not those on the right but those on the left are mechanical in support of their candidates.

Compare it with the 2016 cycle, and you’d see there was simply no such elite establishment machinations on the right during elections. The right, for good or for bad, is comparatively freer and more welcoming to anti-establishment ideas and personalities. The left leaders, on the other hand, will form a Roman phalanx behind a lamppost if that lamppost is their candidate.

Consider the fact that there is still a formal Never Trump crew. There will unlikely ever be a formal Never Bernie or Never Biden. Collectivization is, after all, a left-wing ethos.

Is Joe Biden a Viable Candidate?

Biden’s win is portrayed as a return to normalcy. Call me a cynic, but I have my doubts.

First, Biden wasn’t under the harsh spotlight in the last month and a half. After the first debate, he was considered a lost cause and not taken seriously. On the debate stage, everyone avoided arguing with him, as you refuse to argue with your grandparent suffering from the first stages of Alzheimer’s. Things changed after South Carolina, with Biden practically coronated overnight. Unfortunately, now the eye of Sauron will be back on him.

His foreign policy misadventures, his gaffes, and his personal indiscretions will all come to the forefront again. Of all the septuagenarians running in the race — Biden, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and formerly Bloomberg — Biden’s cognitive ability seems to be in the most visible decline. The man has trouble completing a whole paragraph, looks and sounds agitated when questioned, and is visibly exhausted compared to Sanders and Trump.

And the actual presidential campaign heat has not even started yet. Other than questions of severe cognitive decline, Biden’s son’s background and dealings will be under renewed scrutiny. Of course, the majority of the media will fall in line, and at least tacitly take sides, but that will not stop the oppo dumps. How Biden performs under pressure, with millions of dollars of ads dumped on his head, is yet to be seen.

That leaves out the people who are genuinely feeling depressed at this skullduggery, with the Democratic National Committee backing Biden covertly. Ben Sixsmith, a conservative columnist writing for The Spectator, said of the Sanders supporters:

I sympathize with them. They have been told for years that a party establishment which voted for the Iraq war and lost to Donald Trump is the only alternative to the Republicans, and now the abrupt ending of Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar’s campaigns and immediate endorsement of Biden have shown that this establishment will move Heaven and Earth not to give them a chance. To some extent one can understand their pure hatred.

Three Types of Voters

Jason Brennan wrote in a phenomenal and controversial book that there are three types of voters. The first group are the Hobbits, who don’t understand or care and vote mostly based on instincts and emotions. The second group are the Hooligans, who have more knowledge of the process and tend to be extremely partisan. The third are the Vulcans, who are mostly the intelligent swing voters who can detach from the personality and rhetoric, and vote solely based on policies. They are the thinking ones who don’t care about charismatic candidates or establishment-pushed political lines.

A common sentiment evident on Twitter among hardcore Democrats is that many are what Brennan would name Hooligans, with the dejected acceptance of “vote blue, no matter who.” You can’t reason with them, as they have already decided for whom they will vote. But they are not everyone.

A huge chunk of voters are undecided, from the relatively socially conservative African Americans who rejected Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, to the foreign policy restrainers worried about going back to a Hillary Clinton-Biden foreign policy from a few years back. Biden has now gotten the endorsement of Susan Rice, Samantha Power, John Brennan, James Comey, and the Never Trumpers. Whether that will be a blessing or a curse remains to be seen.

The Breakdown of the Democratic Party

The reality remains that Biden is anachronistic in a party with two distinct factions that are neither liberal nor moderate. On one hand, the transgender-pandering, intersectional, feminist Warren stans are heartbroken that nobody liked their beloved KWEEN. The managerial class and high-achieving high-schoolers who most favored Warren realized painfully that woke, annoying, and condescending nerds are still woke, annoying, condescending nerds. Thus, she plummeted and dropped out. Where her faction will go is yet to be determined, and she has not yet made an endorsement.

On the other hand are the Trotskyist Berners, who are still being sold a lie that one grandad can reverse climate change, put bankers in jail, and make everything free including their stupid choices in higher education that have led to their meaningless, debt-ridden lives. Those two factions are out of place and out of sync but full of wrath for their establishment.

Yes, the liberals have an establishment. Much more than conservatives, given the left’s hold over academia and media and other institutions. And betrayed masses despise the priests in the temples when they see their gods bleeding.

To complicate matters, both these groups are filled with the educated, white, hyper-liberal middle class, made up of people who fail to comprehend that a significant majority of minority voters refuse to pander to woke transgender politics or turn full Trotskyist. It is the conservative-leaning minorities who voted for Biden compared to Sanders or Warren.

If they can vote for Biden, they can vote for Trump. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in the U.K. learned this lesson the hard way. It appears the lesson is being retaught to Sanders and grieving Warren groupies now. The game isn’t over. In fact, it is not even halftime yet.

Sumantra Maitra is a doctoral researcher at the University of Nottingham, UK, and a senior contributor to The Federalist. His research is in great power-politics and neorealism. You can find him on Twitter @MrMaitra.

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