Former Vice President Joe Biden is everything Donald Trump is not: erudite, tactful, politically experienced. Because he is so unlike Trump, and so like the “classic” image of an American politician, he will not win his 2020 bid for the presidency.
Rumors are circulating that Biden wants to run again, this time for the highest office, though nothing concrete just yet. A Politico article cites Biden as saying, “I’m not committing to not running … I’m not committing to anything.”
While Biden’s status as the former VP could lend a sense of leadership and legitimacy to the Democrat Party, it would be inadvisable to make him their flagship candidate as it ignores the very reasons for why Donald Trump has won in the first place.
In a world of increased radicalization and polarization, both in the mainstream and alternate groups of both ideologies, Biden is boring. Barring a sudden and radical change in his political philosophy, he’s more of the same. Politics is also not just a game about whoever offers the more appealing social policies. While Biden and the Democrats may feel more sympathetic towards liberal social values, Trump was able to offer a “better deal” by focusing on the economic issues at the forefront of Americans’ concerns.
When Trump was elected, the left liked to focus on how his supporters are all racist and “deplorable.” What they ignored, however, was the very tantalizing offer of having a new and dynamic outsider. The people needed someone they could feel had not been compromised by the allure of the corruption of the “swamp,” hence Trump. Therefore the current political climate should be thought of not as unnatural or illogical, but rather the result of people using their vote to express fatigue with the established system of stagnation.
If the Biden wants to even have a shot at 2020, he needs to change — and fast.
The Democrats need to capture the spirit of revolution that has taken hold of politics these days and elect a more radical candidate, a sort of “fight fire with fire” approach. Senator Bernie Sanders, who proposed many radical wealth redistribution programs, was one such example of an anti-systemic voice that could have aligned with the Democrat party’s constituents.
Look at the promises that Trump has fulfilled that, believe it or not, actually endear him to the people who voted for him: he’s negotiated with companies such as Lockheed Martin to produce their fighter jets for cheaper, and he killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral trade agreement with Pacific Rim nations that would have harmed American employees through an even larger scale of domestic job outsourcing.
These are the kinds of things that people want, substantive proof that the government is taking a stand against the predations of big business. This is of course ignoring the particularities of Trump’s coercement of corporate support through tax breaks, but that doesn’t matter to the public because Trump is still doing something about big business. That is why they find their champion in Trump, not the man who played second fiddle to Barack Obama, who proposed the TPP in the first place. Clinton herself was forced to drop support of the TPP, fearing the negative backlash from the blue-collar Democrats whose jobs would have been threatened by the trade deal.
Biden represents more of the same pro-corporation mindset with a primary focus on using monetary incentives to retain American jobs rather than taking the corporations to heel. Unlike, say, Sanders who opposed bailing out big business due to a desire to not wipe up their messes, Biden’s own history of choosing to placate corporate greed would be off-putting to the the spurned voters that the Democrats desperately need to win back.
Four years isn’t a lot of time. Trump is already planning his 2020 bid for what he hopes to be a re-election. Even if Biden wanted to run again, he’d have to undergo a change in policy and break with not just the Democratic norm but the political mainstream. Nevertheless, Biden remains optimistic by saying that in 2020, “hell, Donald Trump’s gonna be 74. I’ll be 77 and in better shape.”