We have quickly settled into the new conventional wisdom to account for the sudden rise of Joe Biden from the walking dead to the top of the former heap of Democratic presidential candidates. Biden will be the Democrats’ 2020 nominee for president. What is to be said? Below I offer a few arguable — even when clichéd, they are brief! — observations.
1. The Sanders crowd still represents the throbbing heart of the Democratic Party. This time around it has been constrained by the desire of mainstream Democrats to beat Trump, to preserve their majority in the House and extend it to the Senate, and to go back to the future.
2. The Bernie Bros represent the wave of the future in the Democratic Party.
3. Democratic “moderation” is a a sort of pretense. It lacks any underlying principle that the moderates can bring themselves to state.
4. We know where they want to take us and where they are headed. Listen to Biden rattle off everything that will be “free” in his brief remarks at the rallies he held in St. Louis and Kansas City over the weekend. “Fundamental transformation” remains the project.
5. As the geriatric finalists for the Democrats’ 2020 presidential nomination, Biden and Sanders demonstrate the Democrats’ electoral wipeouts during the Obama administration.
6. The weakness of the younger contenders for the Democratic nomination is most striking. Elizabeth Warren doesn’t really belong in the “younger” category, but her belly flop may have been the most striking of all.
7. Of the under-60 crowd, only Amy Klobuchar seems to me to have done no damage to her stature. Indeed, she seems to have enhanced it and become Biden’s most likely pick for a running mate.
8. The Sanders-Warren rivalry lingers. They are both powered by hate and anger and, not coincidentally, they have enough left in the tank for each other. I’m not sure why. Whatever it is, they are both right!
9. The Biden campaign has taken on a Weekend At Bernie’s quality — not Bernie Sanders, Bernie Lomax. Can Biden’s handlers prop him up and maintain appearances through election day in November?
10. Biden’s platform is a restoration of the fancies and follies of the Age of Obama. Byron York posits the disruption in historical patterns that Biden’s election would represent. He doesn’t mention this one: we’ve never faced the prospect of such an obviously backward looking presidential campaign.