“Joe Biden is gone now…and we are all a bit poorer for it. He was a player, and we need those people in politics. They are the ones who have defined us to ourselves as a nation of leapers and dreamers and risk-takers, and awesome world power with a lover’s sense of adventure.” – H.S.T. (September 28, 1987)
Much has transpired since John Sasso (of House Dukakis) plunged the long knives into the heart of the Biden ’88 campaign. Granted, Joe left himself open to the assault; and Sasso himself endured a temporary exile for his deeds.
But it ended Biden’s last great look at the Oval Office. He passed on ’92, ’00, and ’04. His 2008 campaign went nowhere except insofar as it helped convince then-Senator Obama that his colleague from Delaware would be a darn fine Vice President, thus leading to the ticket that secured 365 Electoral Votes.
Sure, Biden had a voting history that might not endear him to the Left, but Biden-Warren would have made for a formidable Democratic Unity ticket, or Warren-Biden for that matter.
It’s a shame that the 2016 Democratic Convention will nominate zero Bidens for national office.
The default setting in the party now, as it was in 2007, is Hillary Clinton. She simply has a higher ceiling this time around, and more favorable conditions to win the nomination (diminished Clinton fatigue, weaker primary competition, and a slightly better candidate skillset). She may inspire millions, but the gnawing concerns linger for many. Will another Clinton presidency bring four to eight years of Clinton mishegoss? Anyone with half a pulse during the 90s knows exactly what I am talking about.
The tragedy is that there really wasn’t a great Democratic alternative. Red state/blue state calculations aside, our 50 States (and DC)…with perhaps a couple of exceptions… are comprised of electorates that net out as pro-free market, usually by overwhelming margins. A decidedly hypothetical Trump- Sanders race would devolve into a capitalist – socialist debate that Sanders could not win.
For many this cycle, including this author, a vote for Sanders was a vote for a message and not the candidate. He is no longer running for the nomination, despite what his campaign says, he is staying in to realign the Democratic Party for 2017 and beyond. The Corporate Democrats are in the catbird seat, and many populists, blue collars, and liberals are none-too-happy about what this might mean for American jobs. Sanders got this, but he was/is a flawed vehicle for their hopes and dreams. And while Vice President Biden doesn’t check all of the Progressive boxes, at least he can speak the language…and he could have won.
Stay tuned, as more will follow.