The Democrats knew who he was, and they didn’t care
I recently found this article by Alex Wagner published on March 24, 2020, in The Atlantic. It’s entitled “Stay Alive, Joe Biden,” and the subtitle is this revealing sentiment: “Democrats need little from the front-runner beyond his corporeal presence.”
Think about that – the idea of a figurehead president fully envisioned and entirely accepted, right around the time that Biden finally seemed to be the nomination frontrunner. Nothing more was necessary; certainly not that specific, something known as “leadership.” It was okay that Biden did nothing and could not do anything competently. The idea was that (a) getting rid of Trump at the helm would magically solve all problems, and (b) the country could just about run itself after that, as long as Democrats were in control.
That’s not just hubris. That’s hubris squared.
Here are a few excerpts from Ms. Wagner’s piece:
Voters seem to have coalesced around Biden for his past—who they have known him to be for the past four decades in American politics—rather than for anything in his present. It’s as if Biden exists primarily as an idea, rather than an actual candidate.
That certainly was true, as far as it went. I think it’s dangerous; Wagner thought it just fine, as long as the idea contained the words “not Trump.”
if you were on the campaign trail for the past three months, what struck you was not Biden’s organization (there was little), or his resources (there were few), or even the campaign messaging (Joe Biden has been—and forever will be—Joe Biden). What was striking was the sense of anguish and urgency articulated by everyone, everywhere, all the time. And that was before the pandemic.
The “anguish and urgency” was indeed felt by most of the Democrats I know. Trump was so obviously terrible, so profoundly and distressingly evil and destructive, that anyone who could replace him was outstanding with them. Where did this anguish come from? Not from anything that was happening as a result of Trump. Unless those people bought the bizarre and evidence-free idea that if only Trump had not been president, COVID wouldn’t have taken hold. But, since it took hold in most of the Western world, that could not possibly be true -, and as Wagner rightly observes, this attitude of sheer desperation predated COVID).
A combination of the MSM and the Democrats purposely drummed up the anguish, and it was fed and watered by a series of their egregious lies.
More from Wagner:
There were the Bernie Sanders supporters on the campus of Florida International University who told me, however reluctantly, that they would vote for Biden because Donald Trump had to be stopped. There were the soccer moms canvassing for Amy Klobuchar in Johnson, Iowa, who made clear that their primary concern (more than Amy’s chances) was whether Trump was going to get reelected. There were the Culinary Workers Union members in Las Vegas who hadn’t been fired up by any candidate in particular, but who told me they felt as if they faced an existential threat from the Trump administration—and that was enough to drive them to the voting booth and pull the lever. There were the older black voters in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who woke up at 7 a.m. to check out Michael Bloomberg, mostly because they were worried that Biden was slipping, and Trump had to be removed—and if Joe couldn’t do it, they said, then they had to find someone else who would.
Now comes the heart of the matter as far as Wagner and all the others were concerned. As usual for this sort of list, no examples are given for these Trumpian traits. They are considered so obvious, so well-understood, and repeatedly proven to the satisfaction of anyone with a functioning brain and moral sense that Wagner did not need to supply any examples:
Ending the Trump presidency — because of the lies, the cruelty, the indignities, the misogyny, the incompetence, the fraudulence, the corruption, the clownishness, the recklessness, the lawlessness, the selfishness, oh, the list went on — that was something that united men and women across the United States and left them in a state of anguish…
…Democrats—some independents, and some Republicans too—were terrified and furious at the prospect of another four years of Donald J. Trump.
That carefully-cultivated “state of anguish” – a sort of delusional hysteria – was not just crucial to a 2020 victory for the Democrats; it was necessary, and they knew it. For the rest of us, on the outside looking in, it was a lesson in Orwell. He wasn’t far off when describing the Two Minutes Hate and its unifying effects. Orwell wasn’t wrong when talking about something somewhat similar that could influence and guide a modern voting public, and people who consider themselves intelligent and sophisticated.
Whether or not you think Biden won fair and square in 2020 or because of fraud, it hardly matters to the point I’m attempting to make. The reality is that millions of people voted for a man who was not up to the task, and they rejected the man who had been doing a relatively good job by the usual objective measures.
One of the reasons they talked themselves into doing this was that they did not think it necessary to have any skills to be president – and by “skills,” I mean any record of having made good decisions in forty or so years of public service. They seem to have thought that a country like the US flew on automatic pilot and would go about without much guidance, and that is, just as long as Democrats held power.
And indeed, those Democrats didn’t have to be chosen for skills or track records, either. People could choose these Democrats because they were “progressive” and checked certain demographic boxes. Kamala Harris and the rest of Biden’s Cabinet are prime examples.
I can’t find anything recent that Alex Wagner has written about Biden. But his plummeting polls – even among Democrats – indicate that at least some people have finally noticed that more than a mere “corporeal presence” might be necessary to steer the ship of state. Unfortunately, a great deal of damage has already been done, with no end in sight.
[Neo is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at the new neo.]DONATE
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