By Lilly Price | Reporter
At the beginning of the Democratic party’s quest to find a candidate capable of defeating Donald Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden was certainly not a front runner. His campaign has held no significant or newsworthy angle and his performances in the earlier caucuses were weak. To just about everyone in America, Biden’s chances for the Democratic nomination were slim at best, until Super Tuesday, where he won 10 out of the 14 states. Maybe it was the fact that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders split the progressive vote or that when the other less promising candidates dropped out of the race, they endorsed Biden. But whatever the reasoning, Joe Biden’s comeback was unforeseen and impressive.
That leaves us with the great question: Is Biden really the Democratic Party’s best chance at beating Trump — its sole goal at the moment? The answer is yes, but it shouldn’t be. On paper, Biden is everything that the American people have proven that they want in the past: white, old, male, a seasoned politician and a guy who uses his charm and personal connections to do business. He checks all the boxes.
However, as we’ve progressed further into the 21st century, we’ve seen a marked change. The election of our first black president and the slow burn breakdown over the past few decades between the president, press, and public has widened our perception of who the president can be.
And while the race for Democratic nominee certainly isn’t over and Sanders still has more than a chance, Biden has what Sanders doesn’t — the Iron Triangle. This triangle is made up of three sections of the electorate: minority voters, with black women casting the largest amount of votes, white ethnics, and highly educated women. But it seems that the electorate’s attraction to Biden is often not by his own merit. Many black voters are attracted to Biden because he served as vice president under Barack Obama, someone who recognized that racial equality was an important part of his platform. Votes for Biden’s association to someone else aren’t votes of confidence for his own ability in my book. It was Biden himself who said “It’s easy being Vice President. You don’t have to do anything.”
Biden is an old vet to presidential elections, this being his third. His repeated tries leave a bad taste in my mouth, like he’s trying to find the right timing where he gets lucky because no one else is more qualified this year. In 1988, during his first run, plagiarism incidents on the campaign trail ended his already struggling campaign. It seems that the only edge Biden has is that he’s been making mistakes longer, which makes remembering them harder.
Biden’s platform and policy proposals are even harder to recall, but the gist is to expand what his predecessors have already done. From Obamacare to the Green New Deal to reversing tax cuts, Biden’s proposals are the same song and dance that have been done a thousand times. And while that may be appealing to some, it communicates a lack of initiative and attention to detail.
One of the most compelling moves a candidate can make to convince me of their credibility is to conduct sustained research about a specific area of government policy. For Elizabeth Warren, it was analyzing why middle class families were defaulting on their mortgages during the otherwise promising economic climate of the early 2000s. She was a compelling candidate because, to put it in the simplest of terms, she knew her stuff. Joe Biden just doesn’t leave that impression. And since the COVID-19 pandemic has begun, Biden has faced backlash for the vague and unrealistic propositions he’s made, as well as the criticisms he’s thrown at current relief bills. His plan includes student debt forgiveness and boosted Social Security checks, which some have suggested is off topic and overly aggressive.
Maybe the idea of a conventional, familiar, nonthreatening face in the White House is what the Democratic Party thinks they need after the incumbent has basically thrown all the rules out the window. But if Obama’s presidency taught us anything, it’s that the American public wants someone who represents a modern America. And Joe Biden doesn’t.