Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden paraphrased the man he shared a ticket with in 2008 and 2012, when he used an idea from President Barack Obama in a speech at a Sunday campaign event.
Biden, addressing an audience at a voter mobilization event in North Carolina, claimed that he would be a president for all Americans, and declared that while he represents one party now, he will represent all if elected.
"I'm running as a Democrat but I will govern as an American president," Biden said. "No red states, no blue states, just the United States."
Obama said the same thing when he and Biden were running for a second term in 2012.
More famously, however, Obama delivered a similar message during his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention when he was an Illinois Senate candidate.
"There is not a liberal America or a conservative America, there is the United States of America," Obama said at the time. "There is not a Black America and a white America, and Latino America, an Asian America, there is the United States of America."
Four years later, Senator Barack Obama was elected President of the United States of America. Eight years later, the country was more divided than ever.
Four years later still, America is even more divided owing to the evil which is Donald J. Trump.
But if the Obama presidency was not responsible for the division of the country into blue states and red states as of 2016, it was unwilling or unable to curtail it, and was a failed presidency.
Now it is 2020, and I agree with the essential point made by this political scientist:
Yes- as I've said, I think Biden did OK w messaging, but they largely made it an issues campaign while I would've made it a "system of gov" campaign (authoritarianism vs democracy) & highlighted exactly what Trump has in mind for his 2nd term. BC it looks like Saddam Hussein https://t.co/3a9B03R5bL— Rachel "The Doc" Bitecofer 📈🔭🍌 (@RachelBitecofer) November 2, 2020
I wouldn't call "people are dead because, unlike myself, Donald Trump lacks empathy and didn't listen to the scientists" (largely accurate) an "issues" campaign. Jelani Cobb, who typically tweets about issues and history directly affecting African-Americans, is right on target:
One day before the election we’re reminded that Joe Biden, like Barack Obama before him, is closing out a presidential campaign with the promise to fix the national catastrophe presided over by the Republican currently in office.— jelani cobb (@jelani9) November 2, 2020
One day before the election we’re reminded that Joe Biden, like Barack Obama before him, is closing out a presidential campaign with the promise to fix the national catastrophe presided over by the Republican currently in office.
Nonetheless, I understand Bitecofer's point, and it is an important one. Similarly, Will Bunch writes
For more than five years now, as Donald Trump has jetted across the nation for Nuremberg-style rallies to egg on mob violence while riling up “the forgotten Americans” with a stew of racism, misogyny and xenophobia, many of us have tried to tap dance around what is really going on in this country. I know, at times, I have.
So we call it things like “demagoguery” or “authoritarianism,” or — especially in the wake of 2020′s racial reckoning — “white nationalism.” And on occasion when things really go off the rails — like when the president’s men shoot tear gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protesters near the White House so Trump can stage a photo-op with an upside-down Bible — a few folks go out on a limb and call it “creeping fascism.” Pay attention: It is not creeping. It is on full gallop from Vancouver, Wash., to Graham, N.C., bloodied clubs raised and at the ready.
These are the stakes. Four years ago, we went into a fraught Election Week with vague anxieties about what could — but probably wouldn’t, we wrongly convinced ourselves — happen. Now we no longer have to imagine what a Trump presidency would be like, or how much worse things could get if he clings to the White House by illegitimate means for another four years. There are so many problems that America needs to address, but all of that hinges on the coming weeks and whether we fulfill our already frayed but implied 1787 promise to Ben Franklin made right here in Philadelphia: A republic, if we can keep it.
Times have changed- sort of- since Obama's speech in 2004. There still exist the "blue" states and "red" states he successfully fooled the left into believing were a mirage. However, now there are many "purple" states because, the differences among states are eclipsed by the differences within states, as urban areas are increasingly liberal/Democratic while rural areas are increasingly conservative/Republican.
But there is one major similarity- a Democrat running for the presidency on the "why can't we all get along" plank and who sincerely wants nothing as much as he (they) wants (or want) to unite the country.
It won't happen, of course because it is not what the right is interested in. Though a few people a week ago thought otherwise, the events of the last few day should have shaken the optimism. If Biden for the purpose of election says there are no blue states or red states, only the United States of America- and it proves successful- all the better. The cancer first must be excised so that we can keep that Republic. If, though, he really believes it, he'll need to learn quickly as President or things will deteriorate far more quickly than they did under the presidency of the Democrat he served for eight years.