Joe Biden: Appealing to No One, Yet Somehow Everyone
Why Biden’s Neoliberal Record Could Be His Downfall
It seems an unlikely hero of the party of socialism and identity politics could be a 76-year-old white man with a scattered record on civil rights and a litany of sexual misconduct allegations. Joe Biden announced his candidacy for President today via YouTube video, becoming the media’s instant front-runner in a massive Democratic field.
Can Biden continue to rise in the polls and come out victorious in the primaries? Maybe.
Biden’s record doesn’t support the increasingly progressive platform the Democrats have championed since Bernie’s 2016 run for the presidency. His career also firmly cements him in the “establishment” category which has been a disqualifying offense of late for Democrats (and Republicans, for that matter).
The former Vice President has been in politics since 1970 and a Washington insider for 45 years (he was a US Senator from 1973–2009, and has run for the presidency twice before). His establishment image certainly isn’t helped by today’s optics of an online announcement, followed by Biden’s first-class trip to Philadelphia for a big-money fundraiser held by Comcast Vice President David L. Cohen.
What’s more, Biden has recently come under fire for inappropriately touching women and girls, complete with wild YouTube compilations of his body language towards those of the opposite sex and children.
Despite all this, Joe Biden clinching the Democratic nomination in 2020 doesn’t seem far-fetched. If Biden’s career choice and/or brush with the #metoo movement don’t disqualify him from consideration, it may be his past voting record that does.
Part of his record aligns him more with a moderate Republican than a progressive Democrat. He believes life begins at conception. He does not support the legalization of marijuana. He does support the death penalty. He wrote the disastrous Clinton Crime Bill of the 90s, which President Trump railed against before Signing the First Step Act into law. Biden’s support for segregation in the ‘70s and his treatment of Anita Hill have raised eyebrows (to say the least) in recent weeks.
Biden also supports America’s role as the “Policemen of the World,” advocating for more costly regime change wars in troubled areas, even after the Obama Administration’s disaster in Libya. He was also a major advocate for the Iraq War.
Even with a bit of common ground with neoconservative voters, many of his other political positions alienate him from the populist left and right and land him more squarely under the “Moderate Democrat” umbrella.
Biden supports an assault weapons ban and agrees gun manufacturers should be prosecuted if their weapons are used to commit crimes, supports universal catastrophic healthcare coverage and free healthcare for all children, he supports equal treatment of LGBTQ couples and civil unions, he’s in favor of progressive taxation, campaign finance reform (although it has yet to be revealed whether or not he will take corporate PAC money, yet, as I mentioned, he began his campaign with a big donor fundraiser), and he’s voted to limit drilling and expand clean energy options. He believes life begins at conception, yet he has voted “no” on legislation to protect unborn children.
Joe Biden’s record may appear too Obamaesque for most Republicans, and not progressive enough for most Millennial Democrats, but he has found a fairly significant support base, with 27% of his party backing him out of the gate (although these numbers have faltered as Bernie has risen).
Progressive group “Justice Democrats” — the organization that got Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and others elected — have already begun to come after Biden on Twitter.
One issue Biden seems ready to unite the left on, however, is identity politics. He launched his campaign early Thursday morning in a video strongly denouncing the Charlottesville white nationalist rally that left one young woman dead and he took aim at the President’s rhetoric about the situation last year. Biden’s video offered a parallel to President Trump’s 2016 announcement speech, wherein Trump spoke poorly of illegal immigrants that set off a coverage mudslide in the mainstream media.
With Hillary Clinton, narrowly losing the presidency despite receiving almost 70% of the minority vote, the race is on to lock down the bloc of voters and raise the percentage from 2016. This means the American public can continue to look forward to buzzwords like “bigotry, xenophobia, and racist” reaching a fever-pitch in the news coverage.
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The era of simple “left” versus “right” politics seem to be over as more factions grow within parties and the electorate becomes more divided.
If Joe Biden has enough moderate appeal, he may be able to cobble together a coalition in the center, although there is little evidence to show many voters who truly identify as a “centrist” in recent years.
He may toe the party line enough to get an abundance of DNC funding and squash out the competition monetarily. He may also sew more seeds of racial and economic division and plunge America even further into chaos and isolation on his third quest to claim the White House.
Secret Coran-Stacy is a best-selling author, entrepreneur, and a senior contributor to CitizenSource, writing with a focus on U.S. elections and politics, media criticism, and illegal immigration. She hails from Little Rock, Arkansas.
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