“You don’t have to do this, Joe, you really don’t.” –Barack Obama
Back in 2015, I told all my friends and family and anyone who would listen (so, no one) that Hillary Clinton would lose the presidential race. No one believed me, and I let them talk me out of it, obviously because deep down I wanted them to be right. When I think about the remains of our current society being excavated and analyzed by whatever future species replaces humans, it feels somehow important to make sure they know that at least some of the little, non-D.C. insider people didn’t make the same mistake with Joe Biden in 2019. Or maybe this is just my attempt to right my karma from not sticking to my guns on the last election.
Joe Biden will not beat Donald Trump.
There, I said it. Though I should give Biden credit for all but cementing the narrative that he is the only candidate who could do so. It was one hell of a marketing ploy; the large number of people sincerely believing that absurdity and repeating it as fact is kind of impressive. Impressive but terrifying, seeing as it’s *thisclose* to outright propaganda. I maintain Joe Biden is instead the front runner least likely to defeat Trump. I won’t rehash it in detail because much ink has already been spilled about his poor, problematic, dated legislative record. You know about the crime bill, repealing Glass-Steagal, Anita Hill, the Senator from MNBA, and so much more. This ink spilling serves as important reminders and dire warnings about who Joe really is. The first problem with Biden beating Trump is thus:
Feckless centrism + being the man behind landmark legislation that screwed an entire generation = demoralized base.
Turnout will be low. Biden drinks his own Kool-Aid and highly overestimates his appeal.
The second problem is Fox News. I’d love one single, solitary day where I could scroll Twitter and not see, yet again, the ridiculous comment of “oh we have to nominate Biden because he’s conservative/moderate enough that some Fox News voters will vote for him.” Pray tell, what happens to those voters come November, when Fox News has spent five months relentlessly calling Biden a socialist? Those Fox News viewers who maybe kinda don’t like Trump are going to what? Vote for a so-called socialist? And speaking of Fox News, Biden is not even the tiniest bit prepared for the bad faith attacks Trump and the GOP will hurl his way. Biden even said he “can’t believe” Trump went after his son. He’s… kidding, right? Except he isn’t, and that’s the problem. Biden really doesn’t see what’s coming, and he has no plan for how to respond when Trump hammers his age, his gaffes, and his problematic Senate record (to say nothing of all the extra shit Trump will outright fabricate). Joe only knows the Republicans of yesteryear, the ones who claimed to be his friends and didn’t fight too dirty. He’s just too stubborn and arrogant to adjust to reality and prepare for the onslaught.
And the third problem is this: the Obama halo. Folks, it cuts both ways. Maybe you didn’t remember, because he hasn’t mentioned it in three whole minutes, but did you know that Joe Biden was Obama’s vice president? For eight years? Biden is basing a significant chunk of his appeal on Obama’s popularity. He has not only made zero attempt to differentiate himself from that administration, he waves it around like a prestigious award. However… you may also remember that a significant swath of the American voting population loathed Barack Obama? The Obama halo cuts both ways. For every liberal voter who finds it appealing there is at least one conservative voter who will need no more reason NOT to vote Biden come November 2020. Close ties to Obama might help Biden with some voters, but it will actively hurt him with many, many others (and this doesn’t begin to take into account the legions of liberal and progressive voters who have moved on from Obama and just don’t fucking care). Conservatives will not see past this to examine his moderate, conciliatory policy plans. They’ll hear “Obama’s veep” or “Obama administration” and shut down. Cory Booker was right: Biden can’t claim Obama when it makes him look good and disavow him when that’s more convenient. He has to choose and he’s chosen. And what no one is talking about is that his choice will alienate the very conservative/moderate voters he will supposedly appeal to!
Of course this is all a prediction, not a guarantee. If Biden does wind up the Democratic nominee, I will hold my nose and vote for him. But I won’t hold myself responsible if I do so while crying. Because if this election comes down to a choice between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, American democracy is over. If Trump wins – the most likely outcome – then, well, yeah. If by some small chance Biden does win, we’re still fucked. Democracy is still done. A Biden presidency would be a disaster.
Uncle Joe doesn’t remotely appreciate the existential crisis democracy faces right now. He thinks he can waltz into the room, smile warmly, shake some hands, click his heels three times, and normalcy – whatever that is – will instantly return. What will actually happen is that Biden will spend two years stepping on his own dick, sniffing women’s hair, demoralizing the base, and wondering which sock drawer Mitch McConnell’s predicted epiphany is hidden. He’ll be totally ineffective, and nothing will get accomplished. The entire Democratic apparatus will look like a giant bumbling moron, and Republicans will CLEAN UP in the 2022 midterms. A Republican-controlled House will find something, the substance of which won’t matter, to impeach him over, and depending on who he can arm-twist into ruining their career in sacrifice of being his VP, a Republican-controlled Senate will decide whether he should be removed or just humiliated and stained for life. Biden will or will not run for reelection in 2024 – and it won’t matter, really – while the GOP puts up a competent authoritarian who doesn’t tweet about covfefe. They’ll win in a landslide and it’s all over.
I’ve painted a grim picture, I realize. But things are grim right now, and they will become more so unless we act and fight. We can’t settle for name recognition and nostalgia. Winning the presidency in 2020 is barely the beginning. Nothing will magically change because good ol’ Uncle Joe stumbles through the White House doors again. We have to think long term here. Vote Blue No Matter Who is short-sighted and stupid. Anyone is not necessarily better than Trump. Maybe it will stanch a little bleeding in the immediate term (though I have my doubts, given the fact that Biden doesn’t see McConnell as a threat), but the long-term outcome could be just as bad or even worse than another Trump term.
Primaries are for vetting. Please, vet Biden. Please realize he’s an old, frail, egotistical white dude who hasn’t changed his mind on one damn thing since 1973 and has spent his entire career failing up. It sounds melodramatic but America’s future really does depend on rejecting him for president. And since we’ve already done that three times, we can do it once more.
Green Beans with Snail Butter
- 1 lb green beans, trimmed
- 6 tbs unsalted butter, divided
- 3 tbs minced garlic
- ½ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- A few drops freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Salt generously. Prepare an ice bath while the water is coming up to a boil.
- Drop the green beans into the boiling water for exactly 90 seconds. Remove with a spider or large slotted spoon and immediately drop into the ice bath. This stops the cooking and retains the bright green, pretty color. Remove from the ice bath and drain on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. You don’t have to be precious about drying them, but you don’t want a lot of water messing up your butter sauce.
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 4 tbs butter. Once it’s melted, add the garlic and stir constantly until it is cooked but not brown, about a minute. Stir in the parsley. Move the heat to medium-low. Add the green beans to the skillet, along with the remaining 2 tbs butter and salt and black pepper to taste. Stir to melt the remaining butter and thoroughly coat the green beans with all that beautiful garlic and parsley butter. Transfer the beans to a serving dish, making sure you don’t leave any garlic butter in the skillet, and serve immediately.