Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thank you, Joe

Well, it's official. Joe Biden will not be running for the Democratic Party in the upcoming Presidential race.  Thank you, Joe.  That one decision, which some applaud and some are despairing has essentially made the Democratic ticket a two horse race.

I think Joe Biden was a good Vice President. As a President, I'm not so sure. I feel that he has been a great 'get things done' aid for President Obama, but I don't have a feeling for Biden's politics.  Add to that I'm not sure that now is the time for him to make a Presidential bid.  I've heard some people really passionately arguing for him. It's an excitement that I never really shared.  I always thought of  Joe Biden's possibility of running this year as a spoiler for the other two major candidates.

So, I think Biden is better off, biding his time.

I was very surprised, to hear people actively lamenting that Biden wouldn't run this year.  There are some folks out there who honestly think that neither Hillary Clinton, nor Bernie Sanders is electable. I think those people will be very surprised by what happens in November 2016.  The electoral base is shifting.  People of color, immigration in the past fifty years, and youth are going to be the deciding factors in the upcoming election.  Voter turnout, and the attempts to block voting or gerrymander regions is also going to play a role.

Most of those people I have seen bemoaning the Biden refusal are white male moderates, who veer a little to the right of center.  They aren't happy with the GOP, seeing them as highly dysfunctional, but they aren't ready to commit to Hillary Clinton because of her husband's turn in the White House.  Also, perhaps because of some hidden misogyny there. Bernie Sanders, who they often describe as far "too liberal" is also a no go.  For them, socialist is still something of a dirty word. Most of them are also gun owners or people who have small businesses, and are stuck thinking that Democrats equal "taking away their guns" and "giving handouts to the undeserving".  But, I don't think their concern is relative.

Sure I would love a world, fantastic though it would be, where everyone voted for my candidate. But, I know that is not going to happen. There will be moderates who believe that even dysfunctional and divided as the GOP is, that it is the party which will protect their interests better.  And, it might.  However, I think any benefit a moderate might see from the GOP will be mainly from stagnation rather than movement.  Right now the push-me-pull-you of the political right is going in circles.

So my moderate, male, Caucasian friends who love their guns are mourning the lost idea of Biden.  But I think they are working their way into an eddy of the political process.  Hillary or Bernie is going to be the Democratic Presidential candidate.

And I think it likely that there may be a Hillary/Bernie ticket.  Although, I've had people vehemently argue that with me.  It seems that even the Democrats have adopted a bit of the "all or nothing" attitude of the GOP.  All I can say is remember the adage about Politics making strange bedfellows. You know the quote.

Here an uber ticket to the moderate and progressive sides of the spectrum would create one very powerful team.  Can it be done?  I don't know.  But I do know that under such a team, economic reform for the middle class would become much more defined.  We would see progress on social equality and on the repeal of Citizen's United.  We might even see some Wall Street reform and the adjustment of the tax code to address the ballooning wealth of the 1%.  Interesting possibilities all.

Moreover, the momentum is there for social change.  Wall Street has over played it's hand and the middle class is looking up from the "panem et circenses"  to see that their lot has visibly worsened under Republican strategies.  So in the words of Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration:

Going after white “swing” voters [...] is a losing strategy now. The next Democratic candidate for president – whether Hillary or Bernie – can best win by mobilizing and energizing (1) progressives and (2) people of color. Together, they constitute a majority of the electorate. And the best way to mobilize and energize them is to be crystal clear that America must be fundamentally transformed – the economy reorganized so everyone prospers as the economy grows, and democracy altered so everyone’s voice is heard. Such a platform and political movement may cause concern among some white swing voters. But that’s okay. America's emerging Democratic majority doesn’t really need them." 

And that is strangely comforting.


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