We’re at a crucial point, with the Coronavirus, with the economy collapsing and America’s political future hanging in the balance. At this time, Joe Biden seems poised to the Democratic nomination. To this I have to warn: do NOT nominate Joe Biden. It would be an absolute disaster, not just in 2020 (though it would be), but for decades to come.
To explain, I'm going to work backwards, starting with the long term consequences I'm certain of, (specifically the political ones since that's what most people seem to care about), then get to the potentially more disastrous immediate ones.
Joe Biden’s Political Strategy Ensures A Political Catastrophe For The Democrats In The 2022 Midterms, The 2024 Election And Decades To Come
Joe Biden's candidacy has been banking on (relatively) low youth voter turn and winning over centrist Republicans and Republican leaning candidates alienated by Trump. I'll leave aside whether this could work in 2020, but it would be a disaster in 2022 and a total catastrophe in 2024.
First, to state the obvious, you can't base an election strategy entirely on ignoring young voters in favor of old ones for the simple fact that older voters die and are replaced by younger voters. As a general rule, younger voters are farther to the left, and despite expectations that they'll moderate more than ten years of political experience indicates they have not. By now the “young voters” who Bernie wins in landslide with are anyone under 50. Contrary to the popular narrative, they are showing up for Bernie, they're just simply getting swamped by generally high turnout and discouraged by long waiting lines. However they won't show up if you don't give them a reason.
And you can't simply scold these voters into submission. As a general rule, partisan loyalty counts less for younger voters (the vast majority of whom are independent). And since voting takes time they don't have, especially if they're low income you need to make voting and political activism worth their time. And this is to say nothing of creating generations of young activists who will have internalized the message that the Democratic party is not a viable vehicle for enacting change because its complacent leadership will just keep enacting arbitrary rule changes to shut them out.
Then there's the second part of the equation, the “alienated Republicans” and wealthy suburbanites. Do I even need to explain why that's a dumb long term strategy? Even if they are turned off by Trump (which large majorities aren't), they're just going to shift back to being Republicans afterwards. They don't like Biden, or you. At best it would be a marriage of convenience that would fall apart, entirely to your disadvantage.
And to add to this, with Trump gone the central argument for Biden disappears as well. Republicans will be glad to turn every problem Trump created against Biden, and it'll work. We can be pretty certain of this because that's exactly what they did to Obama. The only way to counter it is to actually have loyal supporters and a convincing counter argument. Biden has neither.
A Biden Administration Would Be A Disaster For Progressive Policy
Biden has often been sold as a person who's more likely to actually get things done than Bernie. First off, not only is this an entirely unsupported argument. Bernie does as well as Biden in the polls, he has a better political organization help candidates down ballot, and he's an accomplished legislator. Moreover, to the extent that Republicans would Sanders a socialist and block everything he'd try, they'd just do that to Biden too. We can say this with absolute certainty because they have done this before.
No, you have to justify this in terms of the type of policies they'd enact, and in every way Biden is a much worse choice. His stated policies are not even remotely sufficient to handle the issues of climate change, healthcare, economic inequality, racial injustice, gender equality and immigration, among other things.
It'd be too long to get into every policy area, but let's focus on something straight forward like healthcare, which is especially key given the coronavirus. Biden has consistently positioned himself to block Medicare for All in favor of relying on Obamacare. This is a terrible idea because it leaves in place all the vulnerabilities and iniquities of the modern healthcare system. For example, the patchwork of private insurers with their own byzantines rules have been a central reason why we haven't been able to get the extensive testing needed to stop the coronavirus. Medicare for All resolves that problem, Biden's plan would not.
You can't justify this by simply say, as Biden has, that Medicare for All is too expensive. Beyond the fact that Medicare for All saves money, the stock market crash brought on by the fact that people can't get the testing needed to stop a pandemic has destroyed far more wealth than it would have cost to simply pay for their healthcare. We are living the exact disaster Medicare for All is designed to prevent.
It would be generous to say Biden is only offering half measures. In reality he's offering measures that predominantly reinforce problems and build in numerous hidden strings that are designed to not only work against the average person. For example, one policy he's suggested, providing no interest loans to working class people during quarantine based work stoppages, sounds like a good idea at first. But then you realize since those people won't be working they'll be losing a lot of income they can't get back, so you'll just have a bunch of people taking on massive amounts of debt they can't pay back. Only policies a moratorium on mortgages, rents and utilities are certain to help low income people long term. Bernie supports such policies. Biden does not.
“But surely a Biden administration would see to it those people are helped?” Not with Treasury Secretary Jamie Daimon they don't.
And that's another issue, Biden has already committed himself to stacking his cabinet with corporate insiders and inept apparatchiks who will ensure that, even if his policies are better his policies broadly conform to a liberal agenda, they will be designed in the most putative, oligarchic way possible. And again, we can say for certain that that'll happen because that's what people like Timothy Geitner spent their entire tenure doing last time.
Biden would, at best, drag us indolently through a series of increasingly serious crises, never actually resolving someone until he gives us someone just as bad as Biden and potentially much more competent.
Biden is the Only Candidate Who Could Lose Against Trump
Now I'm fairly certain a ham sandwich could beat Trump by this point. But if there's anyone who could lose to Trump, it's Biden. The man is a walking time bomb of barely concealed scandals and toxic positions. Moreover, he's the perfect foil for Trump to play against, a consummate insider who made his career glad handing lobbyists.
Trump would endlessly hit him on his recording on NAFTA, proposing social security cuts, his bankruptcy bill and a host of a half dozen other things. Then he'd hit Biden with accusations of corruption and DNC vote rigging in the primaries, along with claims that he's going senile.
These accusations will will fester, month after month, picked at by a media wondering why Biden rarely does public appearances and eager to speculate on what exactly Biden and his family have been doing behind closed doors all these years.
This will happen whether or not the primaries are wrapped up now or if they keep going. If anything, a longer primary would inoculate Biden against the claims if he had a good response, but it's obvious he doesn't. You may dismiss the criticisms, and maybe that's enough to get him through the primary, but it won't get him through the election. People who aren't Democratic partisans will take the claims seriously, because they are serious. You'll cry foul and accuse people of being Russian bots, but no one will care. On the contrary, they’ll and think that you're hacks who've allowed their brains to be twisted by partisan loyalty, just like the Republicans. And they’ll be right.
And this will all come on top of Biden's strategy, which again seems designed to be as unresponsive and alienating to young voters and the left as it thinks it can get away with. There's already a substantial number of these people who refuse to vote for Biden, and an even larger number who will simply not put in the donations or man hours to carry out his campaign. You may claim you don't need these people, but that's horribly irresponsible.
And y'know what? I will never voter for Joe Biden
It's not because I'm lazy, I knock on doors, donate and engage in activism as much as I can reasonably be expected to as a person with a full time job and family.
It's not because I don't appreciate how bad Trump is, I've literally spent 3 years, (163 weeks) maintaining a list of everything awful the man has done. I know how serious it is right now. I'M that serious.
Nor is it because I'm “insulated” or “spoiled” whatever. My wife is an immigrant who could just as easily lose her status, my job is directly affected by Trump, I have family dependent on Medicare and Medicaid and so on and so forth. If anything, I'm uniquely affected by Trump.
It's definitely not because I don't care about people less fortunate than me, I'll still be plenty active on plenty of far more fruitful projects, political or otherwise, that can help them more directly. Quite frankly, I should have be spending more time doing those things anyways.
It's because I know a dead end and waste of time when I see one. Biden is political carbon monoxide who will simply take up space until he suffocates me. He's not worth a second of my time.
There is nothing you can say that will convince me to vote for Biden, I've heard it all. Call me a traitor if you like, I don't care, you're appeals to strict partisanship for its own sake mean nothing to me. I owe the Democratic Party nothing and my support needs to be earned. I don't care if you resent me for this, I don't need you to like me. What I need you to do is think about how many otherwise people like me you'll be hearing this sort of thing from, and how long you can keep this before you start to realize you're shooting yourself in the foot if you nominate Biden. At this point it's clear that's the only thing the Democratic Party will respond to.