A lot of faith, these days, is put in candidate Joe Biden. But a couple of things have happened since he effectively ran away with the nomination.
One, he is confined to his basement – given his age and risk of COVID. His health condition won’t change after November.
Yes, any sane adult would be better than Trump in the Oval Office – as the lawn sign says. But being better than Trump is a low bar. The country is in crisis. We’re headed to a depression, with the economy shut down, with people unemployed, schools, college campuses closed. We need a leader able to perform the herculean job ahead of us.
Two, a former aide, Tara Reade, emerged saying Biden had assaulted her in 1993. The details are graphic: “It Shattered My Life”. The press has treated Biden gingerly on this. Trump has worse allegations, from more women.
Biden supporters continue to stand by him. Many, privately, admit they wish they knew of Tara Reade’s story earlier.
Biden’s aides have denied the allegations. But Biden never did so himself. The alleged assault came two years after Biden chaired the Clarence Thomas hearing.
We had a great roster of primary candidates: Buttigieg, Sanders, Klobuchar, Yang, a couple of governors, a couple other senators. They had great debates, were credible, and ready. Biden was badly trailing in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada. He was effectively written off.
Then, how did Biden run away with the nomination?
Biden is the result of a new primary process that fused South Carolina momentum into the new Super Tuesday. This has given too much power to state politicians in South Carolina – both in the Dem party and the GOP. This time, Dem party Whigs in that state catapulted Biden, not on the strength of his skill, but based on an endorsement from Jim Clyburn, with South Carolina voters neatly falling in line on orders from the above.
Next cycle, Republicans in South Carolina will catapult to Super Tuesday whoever they usually support – which, in South Carolina, would be the most rabid, America first, conservative, born again, Trumpian gun toting Dixie that they can find.
With Super Tuesday awarding more than a third of pledged delegates, the primary election is nationalized. It was never supposed to be this way. This is not the old state by state process that Obama and Hillary Clinton went through, all the way to summer. And caucuses, favoring reform candidates, have effectively disappeared.
Voters have three days to decide after South Carolina, before Super Tuesday. That is THREE DAYS.
Massachusetts voted on Super Tuesday for Biden, and he never showed up for an election rally. Most who voted early wasted their vote, with their candidate dropped out.
Remember the Boston Globe editorial page and many other democrat voices protesting Iowa and New Hampshire for voting ahead of Nevada and South Carolina? They got it wrong. Nobody really understood how the primary process worked any more.
Biden, the only somnolent candidate, with his national party connections, bested everybody else.
That is really bad news this year, and will be bad in four years time. Both national parties are corrupt, and both national parties will have more influence in the primary race than ever in recent memory.
The reason why the Dem national party is corrupt? Follow the money. Small donors give directly to candidates, big donors give to the Party to get around amount limits. Biden collected from big donors though the Party structure, as did Hillary four years ago.
When both parties put up bad candidates for general election, the winner is not known, but the result is guaranteed. We get a bad President, the US government gets weak, incompetent, impotent, and, slowly, irrelevant. We end up looking more like a Confederation of states than the United States we ought to be.
Charley on the MTA says
Tara Reade’s accusation is credible. Her history of praising Putin raises eyebrows, to say the least. But she’s consistent with her statements around the 1993 allegations. The Larry King clip with her mother’s voice checks out. She told her brother. Ryan Grim at the Intercept is hard-left but does real work, as they seem to have done here.
All that said, yes of course, I’d still support Biden because, as we flirt with the end of our civilization, a sexual assailant who is a small-d democrat is better than a sexual assailant who is a fascist. But that is *not* a case I want to have to make.
He wasn’t my choice, but I don’t get to decide, do I.
She brings up a few too many memories of Paula Jones for my comfort.
I fear that this piece rings of white privilege. I’m very explicitly NOT accusing the author of racism. I’m saying instead that the piece is based on a set of assumptions that presume that white officials dominate the process and white voters dominate the results. The pronounced role that race played in the 2020 Democratic Primary campaign is not even mentioned in the thread-starter. That’s what I mean by “white privilege”.
To whit (emphasis mine):
Joe Biden won South Carolina because an OVERWHELMING number of black voters chose him as their candidate. Joe Biden got an astounding FORTY EIGHT PERCENT of the vote in a contested primary.
I invite you to offer a description, supported by evidence, of who gave these “orders”, how they were communicated, and by what mechanism these tens of thousands of black voters were coerced.
I think there’s a MUCH simpler explanation that Occam’s Razor says we should pay attention to:
South Carolina was the first state where black voters got a chance to vote.
The thread-starter asks “How did Joe Biden run away with the nomination?” and posits an answer that requires a conspiracy of “Dem party Whigs” instead of offering the obvious answer:
“Black voters in South Carolina overwhelmingly chose Joe Biden over the other candidates.”
It sounds to me as though the thread-starter asserts that the Super Tuesday process is broken because Joe Biden won. I think the more accurate answer is that Black voters voted differently than urban white progressives want them to.
I’d like to point out that all of the other candidates would be confined to their homes just like the rest of us. That’s got nothing to do with any particular candidate and everything to do with our catastrophically failed management of the Coronavirus pandemic. So item 1 of the thread-starter is irrelevant to any failure.
Unless, of course, the thread-starter is intended to mean that any primary outcome that chose a candidate above 65 is “failed”. I reject that premise. If Tara Reade had made her accusations any time in the last twenty five years then the argument that Mr. Biden should be disqualified because of them might be stronger. I think the allegations of Ms. Reade are irrelevant to the integrity of the primary process.
If any change to the primary process is needed, surely it is to break the iron grip currently held by two lily-white states on the early and influential primaries.
Black voters have spoken. Joe Biden is their preferred candidate, by an overwhelming margin. I don’t see anything “broken” about that result at all.
Andrei Radulescu-Banu says
> If any change to the primary process is needed, surely it is to break the iron grip currently held by two lily-white states on the early and influential primaries.
That is the point I’m making, Tom. Those two states had zero influence in the outcome, but you speak of an iron grip. I’m happy to be called to have white privilege.. That always spices things up.
Biden’s age is not the issue, His health, and his difficulty getting out of the basement, are. I don;t see any of the governors having that difficulty.. They keep press conferences, face journalists, field questions.
That’s part of the job description, when running for president. If Biden is incapable of doing it, he should be called out. It’s not age discrimination. Fauci, for example, is out speaking. He’s 79. But he’s capable of doing it.
Neither Bernie Sanders nor Elizabeth Warren are getting out any more than Mr. Biden is.
Both you and I need to stay sensitive to white privilege, because both of us are white and privileged. Things that seem natural and obvious to us are neither for a person of color.
Since he IS the presumptive nominee and there are no other realistic alternatives right now, then when we talk about the “broken” primary process and repeat unsubstantiated allegations, the only effect is to hurt our chances in November.
You’ve not addressed the most important point I raise: Mr. Biden is the choice of an overwhelming majority of Black voters. That’s not my choice and not yours. Nevertheless, THAT is the reason why he is the presumptive nominee.
Your steadfast refusal to even mention Mr. Biden’s support among Blacks nationwide — even after it being called to your attention — is what I mean by commentary that reveals white privilege.
In any case, I’m glad we apparently agree that we should not perpetuate the embarrassing lock that New Hampshire and Iowa currently have on the Democratic primary. That’s an archaic tradition that reeks of white privilege and should be stopped.
NH and IA have their dates set by law and apply to both parties. Personally I like the idea that non-base states that have the potential to swing get first crack at the nomination. OTOH this year proved that their input is hardly definitive.
The laws in NH and IA can be changed, just like the laws in FL were changed.
There is no good reason why NH and IA should come first every cycle. None. There are many good reasons why they should not.
Nobody is saying that their input is definitive. To the contrary, it is clear that they BADLY distorted the perception of who was strong and who was weak.
The collective opinion of black Democrats is important. That opinion should not be suppressed in order to give the candidates preferred by whites a head-start.
I think February collectively gives as us a good start with very Hispanic NV and very black SC in the mix, and this time it turned out that the latter was more decisive. You will pry first in the nation status from NH’s cold dead hands, and while this is obviously not the most objective reason, as a political junkie who lives close to the NH line and enjoys being able to hop the border to see the candidates and volunteer for my choice I personally will never support them losing their status.
@ pry & your support:
I get that. I’m just saying that you are defending a policy that suppresses the influence of Black Democratic voters. Your own candidate, Joe Biden, was nearly eliminated from contention because his strongest demographic base is essentially non-existent in NH and IA.
I, personally, am particularly resistant to NH’s insistence on first-in-the-nation status. I find it arrogant and rude, especially in the context of the changing national demographics.
I also find it reminiscent of the perpetual battles over NH taxes. For the nearly fifty years I’ve lived here, NH has fiercely defended its absence of an income tax while poaching goods and services from MA. There are no decent hospitals, public transportation, airports, or other public services in NH because the majority of its residents mooch from the excellent resources provided by MA.
The NH towns along the MA border, in particular, are full of freeloaders who move to NH to avoid paying MA income tax (even though they can’t legally do so), complain about MA taxes, and then rush to Mass General when they’re sick and drive to Logan when they want to fly to CA or London.
In my view, the first-in-the-nation claim is just another way that self-centered NH thugs try to bully their way to national prominence. It is no accident that NH has not produced a President since Franklin Pierce.
Other than sheer self-importance, NH has no justifiable claims towards being first. I think America and the Democratic Party would be a better place if the primary schedules were different every cycle and with different states going first every cycle.
Now wait a second, NH has also produced one of my absolute favorite Presidents!:)
Ultimately I prefer to live on this side of the state line, but I like NH and its people and would not characterize them as harshly as you do.
I’ve met people I like in every state I’ve visited. Still,
there’s just no good reason for NH to come first.
I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but I really must push back against the premise of your response. It is analogous to arguing that the civil rights bill of 1965 was impossible because the Jim Crow laws existed.
Institutional racism must be eradicated when it is discovered. If that eradication means forcing states to change their laws, then so be it.
Both Florida and Michigan were penalized by the Democrats in 2008 for scheduling early primaries. The threat of that is one way to do what needs to be done.
The Democratic Party has the means. The question is whether or not it has the will.
I believe that if the objective is to win in November there is something to be said for small, rural, non-base states to start the process.
Or, to paraphrase, “… if the objective is to win in November there is something to be said for pandering to whites to start the process.”
There really isn’t any other reason besides demographics for choosing NH and IA, and especially NH.
I don’t see it as pandering, though I suppose ethanol in IA is a pretty big example of that. I’m still firmly in the expand the coalition camp and frankly, black voters will stick with us pretty much regardless of whom we nominate. Also in terms of states we have a much better shot at swinging IA and NH our way than we do SC.
” I’m still firmly in the expand the coalition camp and frankly black voters will stick with us pretty much regardless of whom we nominate”
That attitude toward our most loyal, stalwart black supporters will not expand the coalition — it will decimate it.
Expanding beyond your base to reach voters in the middle is campaigning 101 (says the guy with a BA in PoliSci and MA in Political Management).
How are activist liberals in IA and NH “the voters in the middle”. Using that logic, Sanders or Buttigieg was the most electable nominee even though Biden cleaned their clocks. I have not worked a NH primary, I have worked a caucus. There are very few independent voters who participate in the caucus and the ones that do are generally to the left of national Democrats. The liberal candidate has beaten the centrist in both contests going back to 2000. Even Kerry was the second most liberal after Dean, so his supporters migrated to him. It’s not like Edwards or Lieberman won those states.
@Black voters will stick with us:
That attitude is EXACTLY why we lost in 2016. Urban black voters in MI, WI, and PA stayed home rather than vote for our nominee. The similar lack of enthusiasm in other states made the election much closer than polls suggested, that’s why the result was shocking.
We drive away black voters when we:
1. Ignore them during the first crucial weeks of the primary season
2. Act as if it is a great and shocking “turnaround” when they are belatedly given a chance to vote for their overwhelming preference in a primary.
3. Ignore them afterwards because they will “stick with us pretty much regardless of whom we nominate”.
We really cannot afford to view our black brothers and sisters with this kind of “benign neglect” that is really a euphemism for something much worse.
It’s not that belated. As I said before I think February taken as an entire package is a good balance. I’m not convinced our system is broken enough to require fixing. Can you demonstrate that in years our nominee lost the general election that a different sequence would have produced a different nominee who would have in turn won the general? Also, as a counterexample, our first black nominee in 2008 was propelled forward precisely because he proved he could win in white IA. I’ll have to check what ultimately became of him and get back to you:) The success of our nominee is really the only metric by which we should be measuring our process.
Not really. IA is a red state. NH is a blue state. I would bet one of Fred’s lobstah dinners on that outcome in the fall. Harrison is much more likely to upset Graham than the Democrat running against Ernst.
Neither of those states are genuinely purple anymore and it’s somewhat odd to start the primary process with our worst performing demographic. Let’s not kid ourselves either-the caucus and primary process in both states is driven by the affluent liberal minority in both states. Keene state and U if Iowa professors are showing up, not yeoman farmers or small business owners or factory workers. At least anymore. NH was a better microcosm or America in 1976 and 1992 when it first became influential, it isn’t today.
If your conclusion from either contest this year is “Bernie Sanders does well with rural white states”, his poor performance with that demographic going forward should prove their irrelevance. The NH primary votes a lot more like a VT general than a NH general. The candidate who did best with rural whites in IA (Buttigieg) did the most poorly with African American voters. The candidate who did best with NH suburban college whites (Klobuchar) did the second worst with voters of color in NV and SC.
I thought Pete and Amy would have stayed through Super Tuesday, but suspending their campaigns before that was completely up to them.
Important post. Very appreciated. Let’s not forget though the way that the party orchestrated the taking out of he insurgent candidate (with that mass coordinated dropout and endorsement all within a few hours) who had been committing the most ghastly of crimes in Democratic Party circles: actually fighting for something
Party didn’t orchestrate anything. Either present evidence for that assertion or try again!
I’ve long been critical of the Democratic establishment, but they ran a fair and square primary. One that had no superdelegate endorsements at the gate and fewer caucuses, two reasonable demands from the Sanders camp the DNC agreed to. Now the same people who pushed for fewer caucuses are calling for more. The same people who insisted that the candidate with the plurality of delegates should be the nominee are now banking on the convention overturning the will of the voters by backing Sanders over Biden because of the Reade allegations.
If the left wants to win it has to learn how to build coalitions and play with others. Sanders is showing you how with his full throated and far earlier endorsement of Biden compared to four years ago. AOC and Ayanna Pressley are showing you how by working with “establishment” Democrats to pass progressive legislation and setting out reasonable concessions for Team Biden to make to win over their endorsements. This is how you play politics. It’s not a morality play, but a play about who has the power and who does not.
“Ghastly of Crimes”. Grow up and learn how politics work. Lesser known candidates drop out and endorse frontrunners all the time. It’s happened in every single presidential primary and even local primaries. Should we call Williamson endorsing Sanders a “ghastly crime” or does that not count as “ghastly” politics since St. Bernard did it?
The goal of any political party in any democracy it to attain a governing majority. I certainly did not vote for Biden, but the candidates who dropped out had zero incentive to endorse Sanders. His supporters treated every other candidate in the field like garbage and his campaign arrogantly thought it could win a nomination with 30% of the primary vote. Maybe if Sanders had not run at all his supporters would have been forced to go for Warren who actually had a shot of bridging the divide between his supporters and the party mainstream. The establishment Democrats fought back fist and square and decided that the man without a party could not lead the worlds oldest. I voted for that man. But the grassroots of the party voted for Biden. To call for more caucuses as a solution strikes me as Monday morning quarterbacking. From the same people who loved superdelegates when the could have blocked Hillary and hated them when they blocked Bernie instead.
Again, ordinary voters and party insiders decided to go with someone they have known and trusted as a fellow Democrat over someone who only recently started running under their banner. I’ve pushed back against that sentiment myself, but I was overruled by the voters. So was Sanders. Such is democracy.
Apparently you too don’t want to hear the voices of Black voters.
There was no party “orchestration”. There were no crimes, “ghastly” or otherwise. The choice of Joe Biden was not the cause or result of anybody “fighting” for anything.
An overwhelming majority of Black Democratic primary voters prefer Joe Biden in 2020. The Democratic Party explicitly and formally ejected segregationists in 1968, more than fifty years ago.
It is hard to find explanations for the attitude you express that don’t boil down to racism — conscious or unconscious — at their core.
We Democrats claim to listen to our voters. ALL of them.