[one_third]Liberal – Colin Bayne
Why is Joe Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee? After all, everyone had almost a year in which to get behind him as the candidate of choice for the party, and up until South Carolina, the opposite seemed to be taking place. Here’s how I and many on the left see it.
Bernie Sanders terrifies the Democratic party establishment. He represents an existential threat to their grip on the party, to their access to power and to their very mode of politics. His populism and appeal to the working people of the country leaves no room for big money donors and special interest access. And so, when the first three primaries went to Bernie Sanders, they began to get desperate.
Biden’s win in South Carolina was the only sign the establishment needed. Within two days, Obama made some phone calls, and voila! Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Beto O’Rourke all endorsed Biden for president.
This massive and near instantaneous coalition of the entire force of the Democratic establishment behind Joe Biden gave moderate voters the confidence going into Super Tuesday to vote for Biden, as it made the argument that he was the safe, electable candidate. This could not be further from the truth. His record on policy is terrible, with his push to cut social security and other popular programs, as well as his votes for the Iraq war and several disastrous trade deals which cost many American jobs, Biden is extremely vulnerable to well-deserved attacks on his record, which Trump has already begun to employ. In addition, his policy proposals do not rise to the needs of the moment, positing a return to the status quo on healthcare and other topics which many Americans consider to be their priority in the coming election.
He does not excite any voters. And beyond that, he seems to be declining cognitively day by day. He increasingly struggles to finish sentences, forgets names, loses his train of thought, and makes other verbal gaffes every time he speaks. Reports from his campaign staff say that they are forced to limit the amount of time he spends out campaigning after sunset because his cognitive coherence declines sharply with the sunset. Since Super Tuesday, he has hidden from the public eye except for a few very short appearances where he did not manage to avoid making several new verbal mistakes. Aside from being worrisome in its own right, it is liable to lose Democrats the election, as Trump is already weaponizing it against him.
Joe Biden is the last gasp of the dying neoliberal establishment in the face of economic populism and the rising tide of socialism. If he’s the best they can muster, then it says a lot more about the establishment than anything else. If he wins the nomination, Trump will win reelection.
[one_third]Independent – Anthony McInnis
Given the current state of the Democratic Primaries it seems that half of the party is rallying behind Joe Biden, while the other half is behind Bernie Sanders. Given conventional political thought, Biden should be dominating the primary rather than a close race with a self-described “Democratic Socialist” in America. After all, Biden has been in politics for decades and was the Vice President to a popular president within his party. However, times have changed and old ways of analyzing politics are becoming outdated. Also, despite what many media outlets would say, Biden is a weak candidate.
People have been ridiculing Biden’s mental decline due to age for a while now. While that may be a low blow, it’s not unjustified. President Trump, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are all in their 70s. These are all old men, and appearing to be mentally checked out is going to highlight the age, and make the opposing candidate seem more youthful. Over the past few months Biden has had embarrassing gaffs like “poor kids are just as bright as white kids” or an incoherent ramble about leaving record players on for children at a debate. If it’s Biden debating Trump in the fall, the President will not hold back and eviscerate him for these moments.
The problem with many Vice Presidents who make their own run is that they are always defined by the administration they served under. That much was true for both Al Gore and George H.W. Bush. They are always seen as another term for the previous President except far less charismatic. H.W. Bush may have been a more competitive Commander-in-Chief than Ronald Reagan, but he lacked the charm and ability to create strong coalitions that Reagan had. Being defined by Barack Obama is an exceptionally difficult hurdle for Joe Biden. We live in a political climate where Obama is unjustifiably deified or hyperbolically vilified. It becomes increasingly difficult for Joe Biden to defend the Obama record as his centrist policies are viewed as radical by Republicans and not nearly enough by today’s Democrats.
The biggest issue for Joe Biden is that he’s simply an uninspiring candidate. He’s very much a holdover from a different era of politics where politicians use flowery language and the classic thumb point to appear as professional as possible. For better or worse, voters don’t respond to that as much anymore, and part of that is because Trump ripped up the traditional playbook on how to win an election. Across the aisle, more people nowadays see the Joe Bidens and Hillary Clintons of the world to be inauthentic.
The perfect time for Joe Biden to become President has passed. It’s too late for his brand of politician, especially up against Trump. While most of his policies are fairly reasonable, that never actually mattered when appealing to voters.
[one_third]Conservative – Mark Pothen
In the last week, the state of this Democratic Primary has changed dramatically. After placing fourth in Iowa, fifth in New Hampshire and second in Nevada, the conventional wisdom was that Joe Biden would arrive dead in the water on Super Tuesday and leave Bernie Sanders with a clear pathway to the Democratic nomination.
His campaign was floundering, however, after having a phenomenal performance in South Carolina, Biden won big during Super Tuesday, which put him in the delegate lead. While I am personally no fan of Joe Biden, I would much rather have him as the Democratic nominee than a socialist like Bernie Sanders. According to the polling website FiveThirtyEight, Joe Biden now has a ⅞ chance of gaining the prerequisite number of delegates needed to become the nominee. Even though, as a conservative, I know that Biden will be harder for President Trump to beat, as an American I would much rather have him because at least he values American principles.
However, Joe Biden does have plenty of his own problems that leave him open to attack. The first is the fact that half the time the man can’t remember what state he is in. Biden is simply a gaffe machine and his constant blundering may warrant concern for the state of his health. He has routinely mixed up states and even the office that he is running for. While campaigning in South Carolina, he said “I’m a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate. Look me over. If you like what you see, help me out; if not, you can vote for the other Biden.”
The second problem that the Biden campaign has is the corruption that seems endemic to his family. It seems as though many members of his family have been using his name to leverage themselves into positions of power. For example, his son, Hunter Biden, has routinely used his last name as grounds to accrue power and capital. In the case of the Ukrainian oil company, Burisma, Hunter Biden was being paid an estimated 7-12 times more than the typical private company director all while knowing nearly nothing about the oil industry. Another example would be his son-in-law, Howard Krien, who served as the chief medical officer of the investment consultancy firm StartUp Health. In 2011, StartUp Health barely had a website when two of its executives were given access to the oval office and met with President Barack Obama solely on the basis that Joe Biden’s son-in-law was involved in the company.
All President Trump needs to do in order to maintain his presidency is to dial down the chaos because Joe Biden is very beatable. The only real barrier that will hold the president back from winning reelection is himself.