Making the click-through worthwhile: The hilariously ironic implications if Joe Biden’s current polling boost continues and he goes on to win the Democratic nomination; Kamala Harris and the question of what kind of Democrat can win in the Midwest; some news that will probably influence your choice for lunch; and an appeal for a little bit of help.
What If It’s Just Joe Biden All the Way Through the Primaries?
Late yesterday afternoon I raised the possibility that the hype surrounding Pete Buttigieg is peaking. He’s back to modest single digits in most national polls after a quick rise and very few African-Americans are attending his events, even in places such as Orangeburg, S.C. Young, well-educated, ambitious, and articulate, Buttigieg may well be a boutique candidate who mostly appeals to one important but not quite decisive demographic: the kinds of people who end up covering the Democratic presidential primary for major news organizations.
Since formally announcing his presidential run, Joe Biden has enjoyed leads in national polls of 21, 32, 30, 26, and 24 percentage points ahead of Bernie Sanders. Perhaps this will turn out to be a short-term bump, but the people currently preferring Biden probably feel like they know him well. He’s a familiar and liked face amidst a crowd of strangers.
Biden doesn’t need the formal endorsement of Barack Obama because he’s already received the clearest de-facto endorsement imaginable: Obama wanted Biden in the Oval Office if he ever died or was incapacitated. Obama effectively made his 2020 presidential endorsement in the summer of 2008.
And if Biden does become the 2020 Democratic nominee . . . the ramifications will be hilarious. After all the talk of the most diverse group of candidates in American history, and for all the identity-politics obsession gripping the party, the Democratic nominee would be a (very) old, straight, white male. Post-Obama Democratic politics would not be focused on a Generation X or Millennial figure, but (sigh) yet another Baby Boomer.
Here’s Biden’s inspiring message to young people:
“The younger generation now tells me how tough things are. Give me a break. No, no, I have no empathy for it. Give me a break. Because here’s the deal guys, we decided we were gonna change the world. And we did. We did.”
(Paraphrasing what they say on Twitter, “What the heck? I love Joe Biden now.”)
For all of the talk of the Democrats’ move towards socialism, the nominee would be a figure from the party’s establishment, who’s done the bidding of Delaware’s banking industry and credit-card companies for most of his career. Biden might throw out a proposal or two to appeal to the hipster Bolsheviks setting the tone for Democrats on Twitter, but as with Trump, the instincts and attitudes of a septuagenarian rarely change much.
Biden 2020 would, explicitly or implicitly, promise a return to the Obama-era status quo. The Trans-Pacific Partnership would be back. Finally, we would have a Democrat willing to stand up for demonized billionaires: “I don’t think 500 billionaires are the reason we’re in trouble.” Ideas like a new “universal basic income” would be off the table.
As vice president, Biden defended immigration policies in 2014 that were designed to assess asylum claims quickly and return those who did not qualify — and that “the vast majority” would be returning to their countries of origin:
The Department of Justice, Homeland Security, this is what they’re doing. They are enhancing the enforcement and removal proceedings because those who are pondering risking their lives to reach the United States should be aware of what awaits them. It will not be open arms. It will not be ‘come on’ — it will be, ‘we’re going to hold hearings with our judges consistent with international law and American law, and we’re going to send the vast majority of you back.’
. . . we are prioritizing the need to resolve these cases as quickly as position in light of the humanitarian crisis caused by the — number of crossings. Make no mistake, once an individual’s case is fully heard, and if he or she does not qualify for asylum, he or she will be removed from the United States and returned home. Everyone should know that.
We expect many of the recent immigrants — migrants I should say to fall into this category. My guess is a vast majority, and they will be going home.
For all the talk of cultural “wokeness” and progressives’ eagerness to police even casual speech for unintended slights and insults, the Democratic nominee would be a guy who jokes about Indian-Americans owning 7-11s and uses terms such as “Shylocks” and “the Orient.”
After all of the talk about the enormous consequences of #MeToo, the 2020 race would come down to Trump, of the infamous Access Hollywood tape and tawdry payoffs to Stormy Daniels, against Biden, the hair-sniffing habitual toucher of female strangers — whose wife, Jill Biden, recently declared “it’s time to move on” from discussion about the Anita Hill hearings.
For some progressives, Biden winning the nomination would be almost as severe a defeat as Trump’s reelection. It would mean that the Alexandria Ocasio Cortezs, Ilhan Omars, and Rashida Tlaibs of the world were no more than newer versions of Maxine Waters, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Barbara Lee — liberals representing heavily Democratic districts with limited influence over the party as a whole. It would affirm, as some of us have insisted for a while, that the current House majority was built by Democrats in reddish-purple districts running as centrists and — Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, Kendra Horn of Oklahoma — touting their ownership of guns and support for immigration enforcement and disavowing or at least ignoring a chunk of the progressive agenda. It would mean that Twitter really is a bubble, representing a limited political discourse that is far to the Left of the political spectrum of the real world.
For Democrats who wanted a woke, diverse, intersectional or Socialist candidate, and who find themselves horrified that their party could betray those much-touted values in exchange for a well-known egomaniacal septuagenarian with a runaway mouth . . . well, those of us who thought the Republican nominee should worry about deficits and the debt know exactly how you feel.
Is ‘the Midwest’ Oversimplified?
A side effect of a party obsessed with identity politics is that any supporter or argument in favor of any white male will inevitably face the accusation that it is rooted in racism or sexism.
Kamala Harris, speaking to the NAACP in Detroit:
There has been a lot of conversation by pundits about ‘electability’ and ‘who can speak to the Midwest?’ But when they say that, they usually put the Midwest in a simplistic box and a narrow narrative, and too often their definition of the Midwest leaves people out. It leaves out people in this room who helped build cities like Detroit. It leaves out working women who are on their feet all day — many of them working without equal pay.
And the conversation too often suggests certain voters will only vote for certain candidates regardless of whether their ideas will lift up all our families. It’s shortsighted. It’s wrong. And voters deserve better.
Indeed, Obama proved he could “speak to the Midwest,” winning Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Iowa twice. But he A) was a Midwesterner of sorts himself, having spent most of his adult life in Illinois and B) excelled in making his agenda sound moderate, whether or not it actually was. He wasn’t running on reparations or allowing felons to vote from jail. Despite the fact that under Obamacare, you could not keep your plan, he promised that you could keep your plan and doctor.
Can an African-American win those midwestern states? Obama proved that he could. Can an African-American woman win those midwestern states? Probably. (Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa currently have women senators.) Can an African-American woman from California win those midwestern states? Er, again, probably, but the odds are getting a little trickier. Can those states be won by an African-American woman from California running on a platform of . . .
That’s a lot trickier!
Business News That Will Make You Hungry
In today’s Wall Street Journal: “Chik-fil-A is poised to become the third-biggest U.S. restaurant chain by sales behind McDonald’s and Starbucks, according to food-service consultancy Technomic Inc.” And that’s with zero sales on Sunday!
So much for that boycott, huh? The booming popularity of the chain makes the anti-Christian, McCarthyite campaign against the sandwiches look that much more ridiculous.
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