When I applied for my White House internship the application required I write a proclamation honoring someone from my state. Being that I am from the same state as the President, it seemed I had little choice but to write about him. Otherwise, readers would be left wondering why I didn’t use my New York residency to my advantage. However, if I wrote a presidential puff piece, it would’ve been creatively deficient.
I found a whimsical way to straddle the fence by honoring different New Yorkers – “Cryin’ Chuck” and “Crooked Hillary” – for their mishandling of the Democratic party, thereby making way for President Trump’s election.
Political commentators must use similar creativity when trying to figure out why Democrats felt Joe Biden is fit to be a presidential nominee. We can’t truly explain how Joe Biden found success in the primary. We’ve heard Biden make overtly racist remarks, we balked when he rambled about children playing with his leg hair, and we’ve cringed at the sight of him sniffing young girls. He’s earned the “creepy” and “sleepy” monikers that define his candidacy.
As with my essay, an argument that Joe Biden is the most fit Democrat to hold their nomination must be made indirectly.
To understand why Joe was the most sensible Democratic candidate for president we have to evaluate what made the alternatives less formidable. Since Hillary Clinton’s failed bid, the Democrats have run candidates countrywide that can be categorized into three groups:
1) Fresh faced media darlings
In 2008, Barack Obama’s charm and eloquence helped him dethrone the DNC’s coronation of the Clinton candidacy. With no Obama-figure in 2016, Hillary finally received her presumed nomination. When she lost, they had no back up plan, and so they needed to re-orient.
The first candidate that received major DNC attention was Jon Ossoff. The Democrats and the media were certain he was a star. They pumped a tremendous amount of resources into his campaign. Ossoff ended up losing a winnable race in a seat that Democrats flipped when he was gone.
A similar situation unfolded with Beto O’Rourke. Beto was underqualified and (unlike Ossoff) was unequipped to win a seat in his state. But the left decided that Ted Cruz was the victim of their ire that cycle so they committed themselves to losing another race.
The Democratic folly of focusing on media favorites over viable candidates wasn’t restricted to federal races. In the Florida gubernatorial, they marveled over Andrew Gillum, just for him to lose his race and fall into scandal after it. More recently, America was graced by the Stacey Abrams spectacle. After losing her race, she bizarrely refused to concede she wasn’t the victor. The media hasn’t ceased their Abrams fixation as evidenced by their adulation of her and their sustained insistence that she serve as the VP candidate.
The inability of Democratic fresh faces to capture seats inhibited the development of potential presidential candidates. Notice, Beto wasn’t a factor in the primary, despite all the excitement that was manufactured on his behalf just months earlier.
2) Ineffective female senators
The main bloc of serious candidates for the Democratic nomination were female senators. Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, and Elizabeth Warren come to mind. When Obama let go of the party reins, the opportunity to become the face of the party arose. Unfortunately for this group, circumstances didn’t allow them to stand out.
Mitch McConnell and the Republicans have been in control of the Senate since 2015. That year, the Democrats were still stuck on the presumed Hillary presidency. Since her demise, there has been little room for Democrats in the senate to accomplish anything substantive. Their jobs have been reduced to making headlines during confirmation hearings.
In all of their respective attempts at the nomination, America watched as these candidates tried to manufacture profiles that didn’t really exist. Gillibrand focused her campaign on women’s rights though it’s unclear what distinguished her from her colleagues in that regard. Warren focused her campaign on being a progressive when she wasn’t even the most progressive candidate in the race. Their candidacies were dead on arrival.
3) Left wing extremists
That brings us to the third category of Democratic candidate since 2016, the man who was the most progressive candidate in the primary, Bernie Sanders. This category encapsulates all the uber-left wing extremists Democrats have embraced. These folks win seats that could be won by, to quote Nancy Pelosi, “a glass of water with a D next to its name.” This faction of the party has presented issues for the DNC. They’ve captivated the base while repelling all other voters.
The growth of Democratic icons has been stunted because to become popular within the party, Democrats must make themselves unpalatable to the populace.
Democrats haven’t even been able to conjure up an outsider, a Trump equivalent, to challenge the status quo.
While Democrats have focused on underqualified “stars,” do-nothing senators, and a disheveled socialist geriatric, the GOP has been grooming the next generation for the post-Trump era. Tom Cotton, Dan Crenshaw, and Nikki Haley, for example, are on display as the heirs of the party. They have all leveraged their positions toward developing political capital for future candidacies.
Where was the Democratic equivalent of Tom Cotton accurately warning about the threat of COVID-19 before everyone else?
When Dan Crenshaw was going viral for his thorough defense of the President’s COVID-19 response on Bill Maher’s show, why was the only prosecutor of the president a comedian, not a seasoned politician?
Is there anyone amongst the Democrats that has the range of support that Nikki Haley possesses? Through her executive and international experience, Haley holds the holy grail of presidential resumes. Democrats are being left behind while their counterparts are strengthening their profiles.
The Republicans are developing a farm system that is akin to that of the New York Yankees, while the Democrats are fumbling at the minor league level. When Trump leaves office, the GOP will have varied candidates to replace him. In contrast, the Democrats are running Joe Biden because the alternatives were insufficient. Biden is incoherent, certainly, and dysfunctional, to say the least, but he’s done more during his career than the rest of the options.
For eight years, America was told that if Barack Obama were to disappear, Joe Biden would take his place. Now that Obama has disappeared, Joe Biden has indeed taken his place, mostly because there is no one else worthy of taking it.
Elliot Fuchs is a political consultant and writer. You can follow him on twitter @Elliot_Fuchs.