What kind of a candidate for President is Joe Biden? Well, he certainly is not a new candidate. He has been a candidate for higher office several times before, but never made it to the head of the pack – until now. What has changed from the time when Biden was in his prime in the 80’s and 90’s? Is it Joe Biden’s experience on the world stage? Have his views evolved in a major way that align him more with the mainstream of the Democratic party? Neither is correct.
Joe Biden in 2020 is a mere shell of what he used to be in earlier years. Whether this is due to cognitive decline or not will be talked about till election day, but it is clear that he is a different person today than he was even 4 years ago. Decades ago, he led the Senate Judiciary Committee in their controversial confirmation proceedings for Clarence Thomas. Most people either lauded or criticized him, but he was most certainly in charge and effective in his role.
From 2008 and 2016, he served as Vice President to Barack Obama without much distinction, but he was largely considered a capable backup as Commander-in-Chief. Biden probably helped legitimize Barack Obama’s progressive agenda through his moderate image, but was probably not a major part of any major policy decision throughout Obama’s tenure. One thing that was clear was that he was more experienced than Obama and therefore would bring some dimensions that Obama did not to the White House.
So how did Biden become the front-runner? The answer is that he became the front-runner via process of elimination. There was nobody else serious running for office that wasn’t too radical for the majority of the Democratic party. It took till Super Tuesday for Biden to break out of the pack, but he only broke out when the stardom of Bernie Sanders fizzled out in the Democratic south. Sanders’ socialist rhetoric resonates much better with people in the urban centers on the East and Left coasts. But the southern Democrats who may want a big government, don’t support a socialist government. Biden was nothing more than the only guy who fit the bill for the majority of Democrats.
The problem today is that Biden appears to have certainly lost a step or two – if not more. He looks healthier than many people his age, but a bit of cognitive decline for people in their late 70’s is not rare. Can people function well at that age? Yes. Should they run for Presidency of the United States? Probably not. President Trump will probably crucify Biden in a face-to-face debate despite Trump getting up in the years himself. Trump is as sharp and crude as ever. But that is not reason enough to not vote for Joe Biden. Even attempts like the above video to turn Biden into a corrupt politician will probably not succeed in convincing people to not vote for him. President Trump is also not much of a model of decency on nearly anybody’s metrics.
The main reason to vote or not vote for someone is their policies, and on their voting record. Joe Biden is a moderate liberal who is going to great lengths to pacify the more progressive leanings of the Democrat party. Donald Trump is a straight-talking free-market capitalist who despises the mass media. He is not much of a conservative but has appointed conservative judges to shore up the more ideologically right-wing base of the Republican party. On international policy, they will not be as different as people may think. Both will probably avoid major conflagrations as much as possible.
But this election will probably be focused more than anything on who will rebuild the economy after the Coronavirus pandemic. These are unique times that call for unique talents in this realm. President Trump will probably convince more people that he is the right man for the job. Biden has a better chance to win than many are giving him. The polls that say he is in the lead are legitimate. But he will have to hold on to the flexible voters who’s economic concerns will continue to grow as the economy struggles through record unemployment due to the pandemic.