Democratic Establishment Wondering Just How Stuck They Are With Joe Biden
People -- well, mostly white dudes -- like to claim that Hillary Clinton was a sucktastic candidate. However, there's a reason her only serious competition in 2016 was the socialist. It wasn't because the DNC "cleared the field" for Queen Hillary's coronation. People just didn't want to get their asses beat.
It's quite a different primary race this time. So many Democrats are running it's hard to notice when they drop out. It's like raking leaves. They still keep piling up. Joe Biden is the mostly undisputed frontrunner, and that excites no one, not even his wife. He was the non-threatening choice, perfectly capable of defeating Donald Trump with his high-octane electability. But according to a recent article in the New York Times, the "movers and shakers" in the party are having second thoughts. Maybe they finally Googled "Joe Biden." Regardless, according to the Times, they're asking themselves, "Is there anybody else?"
New York Times
Please stop already with the "Michelle Obama for president" nonsense. Michelle and Barack are out there living their best lives. She's not giving that up to become anyone's personal Oprah. There's an actual black woman already running in this primary. Support her.
"Since the last debate, just anecdotally, I've had five or six people ask me: 'Is there anybody else?'" said Leah Daughtry, a longtime Democrat who has run two of the party's recent conventions.
The "anxious" Democratic establishment reportedly thinks Elizabeth Warren isn't "viable" in a general election because she has actual policies. They're probably also more afraid of Bernie Sanders winning than losing. It doesn't bother them too much that fewer than 20,000 people have ever voted for Pete Buttigieg, but they are mildly concerned that it might be his top number among minority voters nationwide. They've found Biden's debate performances "lackluster" and they haven't even seen his latest town hall. They also don't see an alternative among the other 13 candidates running. I don't suggest taking another look at Marianne Williamson, Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, or Schrödinger's candidate Wayne Messam. But Kamala Harris, Julián Castro, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, and even Michael Bennet are all reasonable options. The Democratic establishment is acting like my five year old: No, you don't need more toys. You have plenty already. Play with those. But the establishment doesn't just want "new" toys. It wants to dig up some old ones from the attic.
Former Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry has "wondered aloud" if he should've run again. He must've "wondered aloud" in an empty room because if he'd "wondered" this within earshot of anyone alive in 2004, he would've heard a reflexive "hell no." Kerry's associates claim he finds it "hard to watch" Biden's "missteps," but he still thinks Uncle Joe's the party's best nominee. He has more faith than I do in a bumbling campaign that can't raise money for shit.
Eric Holder, the former attorney general, was apparently considering a "last-minute" entry but he admits it's too late now. He's right. It's also too soon. There's never a good time for his presidential campaign. He should forget about it and focus on his good work fighting Republican gerrymandering.
There was talk yesterday of Deval Patrick, the former Massachusetts governor, entering the race. He's another answer to a question no one's asked. Cory Booker doesn't need an understudy for the role of qualified, bald brother who loves Wall Street.
Someone recently convinced Michael Bloomberg to buy a monorail and consider running for president. He's the top choice of 4 percent of Democrats, and he does no better in hypothetical matchups against Trump than Biden, Sanders, or Warren. He'd likely spend a lot of money to lose like a common Tim Ryan. Unless public humiliation is his jam, he might find it more economical to just pay Warren's wealth tax.
Maybe Hillary Clinton herself might see if the third time's the charm. She's as worried about Biden as anyone with eyes and ears. But she's not ready to give up the freedom she enjoys to troll Trump as private citizen. David Axelrod, someone who was in the room when Obama won elections, explained the party's current dilemma.
AXELROD: With Trump looming, there is genuine concern that the horse many have bet on may be pulling up lame and the horse who has sprinted out front may not be able to win.
First place, if the horse is now in front, isn't it actually winning? Also, why is Axelrod comparing Warren to a horse? There had to have been a better metaphor. I'd have gone with sports cars. She's an Aston Martin. Biden's a Ford Mustang. Those are the only car models I know.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that Democratic donors (all rich and mostly white) are out of step with the average Democrat. Most voters are happy with their current choices. However, I'm reminded of 2012 when Mitt Romney was considered a weak frontrunner. He compared himself to John McCain, who lost 19 states in the 2008 GOP primary but still defeated political giants Mike Huckabee and Romney himself. Of course, McCain went on to lose the general election. The "safe" candidate is not always the best. But the establishment has already taken their chosen candidate out of his original packaging. They can't return him now.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.