It’s no secret that many Democrats suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome and would stop at nothing to boot President Trump from office. But the national Democratic establishment seems to be much more cautious. The establishment would prefer to run its own hand-picked candidate in the Presidential race, rather than one chosen by an enraged electorate. And it has seemed to find that candidate now in Joe Biden.
After a disastrous start to his campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire, Biden’s campaign appears to have had new life breathed into it. National media figures are falling all over themselves announcing the resurrection of the Biden campaign and proclaiming him the presumptive nominee. To the Democratic establishment, Biden is the “safe” candidate, one who can appeal to both Democrats and to undecided voters in the middle. But will that safe strategy come back to bite the Democrats?
In 2016, the big battle within the Democratic Party was between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. While Sanders seemed to be the favorite of the voters, the Democratic establishment thought differently. It was “her time” to run for President, and so the Democratic establishment pulled out all the stops to get Hillary the nomination. Many in the Democratic base were furious, thinking that Bernie had the nomination stolen from him. And they were determined to get their revenge in 2020.
The wave of progressives voted into office in 2018 signaled that the progressive faction of the Democratic Party seemed to be in the ascendant. And Bernie’s campaign got off to a momentous start in 2020. But numerous rivals bowed out at just the right time, flipping their support to Biden. And now Bernie seems to be on his heels, fighting Biden neck and neck for the nomination.
National Democrats are worried that Bernie’s unabashed enthusiasm for socialism will turn off American voters. But is Biden really an alternative? Biden has vowed to put Beto “We’re Taking Your AR-15s” O’Rourke in charge of his firearms strategy, meaning that all-out gun bans and seizures are on the table. And does anybody really think that Biden’s economic policies won’t take us any further towards socialism than Bernie’s will?
The Democratic establishment tried to play it safe in 2016, running a candidate who was safe but despised, and they paid the price for it. Will running another safe candidate in 2020 bring about the same result, another loss to President Trump? Let’s hope so.
Image: Phil Roeder