The Good Enough Candidate

Joe Biden’s rise from the dead, starting with his sweeping victory in the South Carolina primary on February 20 and continuing through Super Tuesday, gives new hope to a Democratic Party that lives for the day that the nightmare presidency of Donald Trump comes crashing down. Although Biden still faces the formidable challenge of Bernie Sanders, the so-called Social Democrat whose fondest hope is to tax billionaires to extinction and who maintains a strange nostalgic fondness for Fidel Castro, the word “electability” has provided buoyancy to a campaign that lacks excitement but promises an end to the almost four year travesty of the current Administration.

If Joe ultimately prevails for the nomination, he must unite a party that has factions that remain enamored of the significant social change that Bernie promises and another that believes that yet another woman, Elizabeth Warren, has been unfairly undone by the Old Boy Network. And clearly Biden has much baggage, not least his less than stellar handling of Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas hearings, support for both a draconian bankruptcy “reform” act and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, a law that filled our prisons with innumerable minorities for non-violent drug crimes. Not to mention the fact that he was born in 1942, so long ago that an Allied victory against Germany and Japan was still anything but assured.

Biden, assuming he outlasts Sanders for the nomination, will face the ridicules of Trump for his frequent gaffes on the campaign trail and the overhang of his son’s indiscretions in Ukraine, as if the Trump progeny conducts business on a squeaky clean basis and the President doesn’t run the White House as a for-profit enterprise. No doubt there are many who will swallow hard and vote for Trump because of his tax and minimal regulation policies and not his character, but just as many who cheer on his bullying and name calling.

However, the once mighty economy and soaring stock market, both claimed by the president to be primarily his doing (if you claim to own it on the way up, you can’t disclaim it on the way down), are in danger of a meltdown due to the spreading of the coronavirus, a crisis that reveals Trump’s inability to act like a leader when the circumstances are not of his own doing. And we are no closer to anything resembling a resolution of the Syrian disaster, the North Korean nuclear threat or the 18 year war in Afghanistan.

So a president that seemed destined for another electoral college victory, despite a likely rout in the popular vote, seems suddenly more vulnerable than ever. There are only so many of the world’s problems that can be blamed on illegal immigrants.

Is Biden the Ideal Candidate? Surely we can do better than another white male septuagenarian in the world’s most powerful and difficult job. But he has been in the public sphere for over 50 years since he was elected to the Senate at 29, and, although it is hardly a qualification, he has suffered more personal tragedy than the average person should bear with dignity and humility, qualities that DJT cannot even spell. But he is well-equipped to rid us of a virus that has lingered far longer than any disease this country has ever faced: the Trump Virus. It is time to send it to extinction.