Even with an initially crowded field of Democratic presidential candidates, including some interesting ones, we heard Democrats vowing to “vote blue no matter who.” It was their unity mantra as one after another of the candidates fell away, until it was down to essentially just two by Tuesday, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, neither of whom was in the most intriguing group; or at least, Sanders was intriguing, but in the wrong ways: i.e., why would voters want a massive, statist lurch behind a man who has been carrying the same red hammer for 40 years, claiming every problem is a nail made by Scrooge McDuck?
With Tuesday, we approached peak no-matter-who as Biden, the presumed frontrunner before the race began, dominated Sanders again.
We cannot dispute Biden’s having been a good-enough senator and a loyal aide to Barack Obama; but after his past runs, it was also hard for us not to think of him as a balloon that gets stuck against the ceiling. And just sits there. Maybe later gets some lucrative speaking engagements or the presidency of a university.
Now, with primary support for Sanders collapsing faster than it did in 2016, and Democratic establishment figures such as James Clyburn suggesting it’s time to wrap up the nominating process, what Biden more nearly resembles is the ball put under the center’s jersey in a sneak play.
This may be fine in a football game if no one notices in time; and if not, not. For now, the Sanders supporters see everything and decry it, calling Biden a senile swamp thing. They are the people who will need to be hushed for the play to succeed. Is that possible, when their complaints mirror the case Trump will make against Biden? He could be pecked to death.
The other problem with this strategy is it leaves Democrats approaching the summer appealing for support not for anything, let alone anything that excites, but solely against an incumbent president. It’s an act of desperation – a Hail Mary play.
When Biden spoke from Philadelphia Tuesday evening, it was a subdued Joe, a Joe who must have been told to exude calm in order to pose a contrast to President Trump: no sudden moves. Apparently, he has to be hushed too because he has a lock on the Trump Resistance vote or it has a lock on him and no one knows whether that spells narrow victory or defeat.