When we have such a diverse field of candidates including dynamic women and younger voices like Beto and Buttigieg. So why is the media so obsessed with promoting Biden and his “great” polling numbers? I call it, the Hillary effect for 2020.
The Media Has Pre-Nominated Biden
One of the problems in 2016 is that Sanders, while popular, never got the free promotion that Donald Trump got and certainly did not get the attention that media heaped on him. It was said at the time the Trump received $1 Billion in free promotion from the media during the 2016 race. Hillary was gasping for air time. The sad thing about that is that the media was invested in Trump because he was good for ratings. Les Moonves said, “It’s good for CBS” at the time. Media attention can make or break a candidacy, even in this day and age and the fact is that by lavishing attentioon Biden through TV, podcasts, and other mediums, the media is doing their best to pre-nominate the “safe option.”
Biden is Good for the Establishment
I’ve never been one to play establishment politics and to pit the establishment against the people. The Young Turks does that very well and I feel no need to compete with them. However, it’s no secret that Biden is much more palatable to certain establishment forces than some of the other candidates. Many of the other candidates will reverse tax cuts, offer universal basic income, or eliminate the health insurance industry. This leaves Biden as a great option. He is likely to expand Obamacare not eliminate private insurance like Kamala, Warren, or Sanders. He won’t give money away like Andrew Yang and while he might do some things for climate, the transition will be slow and palatable rather than the dramatic actions of candidates who have come out in favor of the Green New Deal.
Biden is Familiar
Another reason that Biden works well with the media is that he feels like a known quantity. People already know the name and seem to think they know who he is as a known quantity. The media can put him on TV and know what they are getting. They can play into the same energy that surrounded Barack Obama and can play into nostalgia. He walks and talks like a politician of the past. He stays off political 3rd rails and he is very much a return to normalcy that can make everyone feel good inside. However, familiar and normalcy is not what is needed. America needs radical change and Biden is unlikely to produce that, which is why the media is busy pre-nominating him.
Remember: Media is a Narrative
Media coverage is very much about narrative. Biden has a tragic story with losing a wife and child at a young age and then losing a son to brain cancer, like the cancer that killed McCain. That is the game that is being played. Do not get caught up in the idea that Biden is a given and that anyone else simply can’t compete. Don’t let his establishment politics set the narrative around a party ready to move forward. We have better options and the Media would do well to get on board with the rest of the party and realize that while Biden is attractive, American and the Democrats have moved on. It’s time they did too.