Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Better Reason Needed

I agree with Nate Silver- and, in a way, with Symone Sanders

After David Axelrod suggested President Biden run for re-election only if he believes it in the best interests of the Democratic Party and of the country, Sanders remarked

Democrats- especially Democratic strategists- know- anyone who is a professional politico knows, reporters know- Joe Biden is President of the United States of America, therefore the head of the Party that he is on the ticket of. He is a Democrat and if the President of the United States of America can, if eligible for re-election, and decides to do so, that's your nominee, baby. 

That's how it works. I know that that might not sound democratic but that is the game. That's how it works.

Sanders is right when she states "that might not sound democratic," where "might not sound" should be replaced by "isn't."

Biden is likely to be re-nominated or, rather, be "your nominee, baby." However, it does not have to be that way. We didn't need to see the awful results of the recent New York Times/Siena College poll to know that the President's re-election is imperiled. 

In response to Silver, one tweeter logically asked "if that's what dem voters wanted why did no one credibly primary him?"  It's a fair question because the only other declared candidate, Minnesota's Dean Phillips, is arguably not in it to win it. In his recent article in The Atlantic, Tim Alberta asked whether by challenging Biden, Phillips would make it more difficult for the incumbent to win next November. The congressman responded "I want to strengthen him. If it's not me, I want to strengthen him. I won't quit until I strengthen him. I  mean it. I do not intend to undermine him, demean him, diminish him, attack him, or embarrass him."

Ever reluctant, the Minnesotan declared his candidacy only after (with limited success) asking his colleagues for the personal phone number of governors in their states; booking national television appearances to lobby for someone to join the race; and placing "a few last-ditch phone calls" to get someone to run.

Obviously, no one bit. That was partially because of a fear that challenging the king (as Democrats appear to perceive a President of their party) would harm his chance of defeating Donald Trump in November of 2024. However, if that were the only reason, it simply would not be the Democratic Party, circa 2023.  As reported on September 5, 2023- and ignored by everyone- party strategist Karen Finney boasted

When you had people who were trying to test the waters, the party rose up and made it clear to those individuals — who were mostly white men — that to disrespect the vice president would not be well received by women and people of color within the party They got a little bit of a smack in the face. 

If we are to take her at her word, Symone Sanders definitively supports Biden because as the incumbent and leader of his party, he must be re-nominated,  That bears an obvious similarity to someone who also has been President, is the unchallenged leader of his party, and to whom members of his party have been required to pledge allegiance. Democrats and others have heaped justified scorn on the Republican Party for its unwillingness to question Donald Trump.

Worse is the conviction that if a vice president was a bad state attorney general, is shamelessly opportunistic, and is by merit extremely unpopular nationally, and is a risk to usher in a second Trump term, she must nonetheless not be challenged or questioned. Even worse is that allegiance to her is demanded because of gender and race, demographic characteristics determined not by the individual herself but her parents.

It's ironic, really. Joe Biden has been inarguably the most successful, and arguably the best Democratic President- hence the best President- since at least the LBJ era.  Yet there is more concern about his re-election bid than there was of the previous two, inferior, Presidents of his party.

But the court of public opinion has little regard for the ways in which a President moves the country forward.  Joe Biden is old and people know it. If Joe Biden were to die in office, Kamala Harris would become President of the United States of America and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces when called into service.  President Trump looms- or if not President Trump, President Generic Republican.

It is not a hopeful scenario, Biden appears headed for a loss, and this is no time for Democratic pundits and strategists to conclude that he deserves to be re-nominated simply because of the race and gender of his running mate or because he is the de jure head of the party.

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