So Bernie’s out. Now what?
The question comes from Canada again—a rational country with a seemingly capable government. Luxury items, to be sure.
It’s apparent that all the traditional norms of American presidential elections—primaries, conventions, nominations, campaigns, Election Day, inauguration—are now subject to drastic improvisation and adjustment. How we handle it will pretty much define the future of our country and, quite possibly, our species.
Bernie hung on too long—he always does—but he leaves at a nonetheless opportune time. Now Democrats will have plenty of time to get used to the idea that Biden is their guy. He is nobody’s first choice—including mine—but I have no doubt he’s the right choice, however flawed. He is someone we know, someone we can put forward under the current, deeply dire circumstances. Somehow, he will officially capture the nomination, whether at a convention or a Zoom conference, who knows?
A word about Joe Biden, from personal observation over a lot of years.
I have sensed that his heart isn’t really in this. And I sympathize. He’s old, he’s tired, he knows he’s past his sell-by date. He’s not bringing the fire he used to. So why should he put himself through this?
I think, despite the ambivalence, he feels this is something that has fallen to him, that he has no choice about. And I think it is in his character to rise to the occasion. He will be driven by fear of failing, but it won’t be for himself. He’ll fear for the lives and souls being lost, too often needlessly, in this emergency.
That said, I think what really gets him going, what may actually energize him, is the people he knows he can hand stuff over to. He will have at his disposal the most spectacular pool of young political talent in living memory. And if I read him right, he’s thrilled about it. And he’s just the kind of guy who might well sit back and let them do their thing. Less work for him.
While the recovery effort will surely be astronomical, there’s no doubt that these are the people we want on the job. Who wouldn’t want to turn the economy over to Elizabeth Warren? Or turn Justice over to Schiff or Klobuchar? Defense to Buttigieg? HHS to Stacy Abrams?
You get the idea, and so does Joe. I’ve left out Kamala Harris because I assume she’ll be the VP. And I’m guessing she’ll have a really broad portfolio.
But mouth-watering as that sounds, we can’t be idiots. The fight is now about forcing a real election, and our chances of success are only fair. In a real election, we can win big enough to throw these creeps into jail. And don’t think they don’t know it.
So it’s encouraging, if horrifying, to see the lines of voters six feet apart in Wisconsin. Every election since 2016 has revealed something that isn’t being talked about much, namely that a sizable percentage of Americans seem to be deeply ashamed of their previous apathy. They seem to have a new appreciation of what the ballot box means, and what their smug complacency led to in 2016.
Looking at both the mid-terms and the primaries, it’s been quite clear that a lot of people will crawl through broken glass to make up for that mistake. In Wisconsin they literally risked their lives, just to show Trump they were out there. Think about that.
But then, let’s be real. Between the voter suppression and the gerrymandering and the Russian sabotage and the courts packed with lunatic judges and the 5-4 Supreme Court and the endless treachery of state legislatures and the bottomless evil of Mitch McConnell and his accomplices, well, let’s just say the next year will be interesting.
P.S. Turns out, Paul Krugman is thinking about Wisconsin also, and he’s a lot more alarmist than I am— https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/09/opinion/wisconsin-primary-democracy.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage —which is not to say he’s wrong.