Many of Joe Biden's policies are routine stuff for Democrats. But two things stand out for their ambition
He is reassuring and popular and has come to boast an ambitious policy platform
N NOVEMBER 7TH1972 the people of Delaware voted to send Joe Biden, a brash, garrulous county councilman, to the United States Senate—even though he would not turn 30, the Senate’s age minimum, for another two weeks. During the campaign he had sought both to use and downplay his youth. His ads touted “new thinking” and “new solutions”; the compliments he paid his 63-year-old opponent on the success of his fights against Stalin and polio were delivered with a faultless backhand. But he remained vague about precisely what all that novelty meant. In his slogan, “He understands what’s happening today”, the word “understands” was well chosen: it suggested to young voters that he got the counterculture and discontent over Vietnam, while reassuringly signalling to older ones that he did not fully condone them. As he told the
Wilmington News Journal, “I’m not as liberal as people think.”America’s youngest senator then is now its oldest ever presumptive nominee as a presidential candidate, running in a campaign as far removed from his debut in 1972 as 1972 was from Calvin Coolidge’s campaign of 1924. His age, at times, has been painfully apparent on the campaign trail: his loquacity is less bounded, his stories meander without necessarily reaching their conclusion. His primary campaign was, for the most part, poor. Yet as things stand he has a good chance of winning November’s election. If so he may, more through circumstance than design, bring real change to a country long gridlocked and polarised.
President Donald Trump is a highly divisive figure. He is the only president in modern history to never have seen more than 49% of the population approve of his performance in the role (see chart); his current rating is around 40%. At 74 he is the oldest president ever to stand for re-election, which goes some way to neutralising concerns about Mr Biden’s age. He is also the first ever to seek re-election after being impeached. Stories that might have destroyed another presidency—tear-gassing peaceful protesters for a photo opportunity, asking the president of China for help in re-election—seem to break around his ears every few weeks.
On top of an extraordinary incumbent, extraordinary times. America’s covid-19 epidemic has, so far, cost the country over 120,000 lives. Not yet controlled, it could claim almost that many again by election day. Mr Trump had hoped to run on a booming economy, and had he been able to he might well have won, despite his lack of broad support. Instead, he will run in a country ravaged by a misfortune he has done too little to deal with and blighted by unemployment and bankruptcy. Social distancing’s constraints have created a campaign unlike any other. An unprecedented number of Americans will vote by mail, a development that has already seen Mr Trump whipping up false fears of fraud.
All re-election bids are to a large extent referendums on the incumbent; this one is little else. Looking like a plausible president, the support of the party and not being Mr Trump seem to be more or less all that is required of Mr Biden, and the polls show that his familiar, unchallenging avuncularity is meeting the challenge well: a comforting figure for an uncomfortable time. On average he enjoys a polling advantage of about 9%, comfortably above that seen by Hillary Clinton in 2016. He holds solid leads in the “Blue Wall” states—Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin—that Mrs Clinton lost and stands a fighting chance in solidly Republican states such as Arizona, Georgia and Texas.
The Economist’s election forecast, which combines polling data with economic and other fundamentals, currently puts Mr Trump’s chance of holding on to the White House at just one in ten.This house has got the best of usMr Trump will try to fight his way out of this with personal smears against Mr Biden. It was for extorting favours aimed at helping him paint Mr Biden as a nepotist corrupting foreign policy for the benefit of his son, Hunter, that Mr Trump was impeached. But Mr Biden looks likely to prove a tougher target for such tactics than Mrs Clinton was in 2016, largely because people like him.
It is not just that Americans by and large see him as approachable and good-hearted. They also know his life’s sorrows. Mr Biden’s first wife, Neilia, died in a car crash with their one-year-old daughter, Naomi, shortly after that first victory in 1972. His son Beau, who gave a moving speech about that loss when Mr Biden was nominated to be Barack Obama’s running mate in 2008, died of cancer in 2015. The tempering of grief has given Mr Biden deep reserves of empathy.
He will also be attacked on policy. Mr Biden has always sat close to his party’s ideological centre. At points in his career he has been lukewarm on abortion rights and federally enforced school integration, an advocate of harsh criminal penalties and a proponent of financial deregulation. But as the party’s centre has moved to the left, so has he. Perhaps Mr Biden has shifted with the political winds; perhaps he has a commendable willingness to rethink outdated positions. Either way, he has become something a bit akin to a radical, a seemingly centrist grand-dad running on as bold a Democratic policy platform as has been seen in generations. It looks set to include a public option on health care and an ambitious effort to fight climate change which will include a carbon tax.
Many on the party’s progressive wing give him little credit for this. In the primaries, they wanted to abolish private health insurance; today, many want to defund police departments. Some warn, or threaten, that if he fails to take a turn to the left on such causes he risks losing the election. Aimee Allison, who heads She the People, an organising and advocacy group for women of colour, urges Mr Biden to “meet the moment [and] turn protesters into voters. If he doesn’t...he’s not going to be able to close this fatal enthusiasm gap he has now.”
There are two problems with this. One is that the Democrats’ greatest recent success, winning back the House in 2018, was brought about not by progressives who retained safely Democratic seats but by centrists taking seats previously held by Republicans. The voters they won over then are the sort of people Mr Biden needs now. The second is that it would be inauthentic. Mr Biden’s persona is that of a moderate: a decent, reassuring figure running, as he often says, to “restore America’s soul”, and offering, as a surrogate put it, “a return to civility.” That is the Joe Biden for whom a majority of Americans twice voted when he was on the same ticket as Mr Obama.
Vice-presidents have every chance of getting their party’s nomination if they want it. But in 2015, wracked by grief over Beau’s death, Mr Biden decided that he didn’t. He left public office, seemingly for good. Family and close advisers say it was Mr Trump’s coddling of white supremacists who marched on Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 which prompted him to rejoin the political fray. He campaigned for dozens of Democrats in the midterms; in March last year he announced his candidacy (accidentally, at a dinner in Delaware: distilled essence of Joe Biden).
It was his third such campaign. In his first, in 1987, he quit early after the media piled on to questions of plagiarism. Two decades later he dropped out after coming fifth in the Iowa caucuses. This time, with the vice-presidency on his resume, he led in the polls more or less throughout. He won none of the campaign’s first three contests. But no one else in the race managed to convince the party that they, rather than Mr Biden, were the candidate best placed to defeat Senator Bernie Sanders, widely seen as unelectably far to the left.
After Mr Biden won the South Carolina primary handsomely, two other centrist candidates, Amy Klobuchar, a senator from Minnesota, and Pete Buttigieg, then mayor of South Bend, Indiana, quickly dropped out of the race and endorsed him. That allowed Mr Biden to establish an overwhelming lead over Mr Sanders on Super Tuesday.
A lot of people leaving town nowWhen Mr Sanders dropped out a month later Mr Biden had another chance to display his disposition towards bringing people together. The two senators created six task-forces to advise Mr Biden on policy all of which include supporters of both men—a way of avoiding a recurrence of the rancour that defined the 2016 primary, when Mr Sanders’s supporters felt the establishment had played dirty pool on Mrs Clinton’s behalf.
The policies that these groups come up with will not necessarily be those that Mr Biden runs on; he already has a substantial policy agenda, and it is coming to the fore. When the election’s sole defining issue was Mr Trump, it was plausible for Mr Biden to focus his run on normalcy in high office. Now the country is suffering through covid-19 and has seen a remarkable spate of protest his campaign has dialled back on talk of restoration, emphasising instead Mr Biden’s policies for meeting the moment.
Much of it is routine stuff for Democrats in 2020: a higher minimum wage, protection for unions, reform of bankruptcy and campaign-finance laws and so on. Two things stand out for their ambition. The first is health care. Republicans are once again pushing to end Mr Obama’s Affordable Care Act (
ACA) without offering a replacement. The Democratic left wants it replaced with Medicare for All. Mr Biden plans instead to build on theACAby letting people buy into a government-run plan—the “public option” deemed too radical just a decade ago. He also wants to lower the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60. The two steps could transform American health care: the public option could become big enough and therefore cheap enough that employers and employees prefer it to private insurance.
Similarly, Mr Biden has proposed climate-change plans that go well beyond Mr Obama’s achievements, calling for a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050 and an entirely electric car fleet. But he has not quite embraced the Green New Deal beloved of the left and has kept some centrist options open. He has not renounced the use of either nuclear energy or fracking (which could imperil his chances in otherwise-winnable-looking fracking states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio and just-about-in-play Texas). He is willing to explore technologies that capture carbon from fossil-fuel plants before it gets to the atmosphere, which makes many greens uncomfortable. Though the campaign calls the means by which he will seek to make polluters pay an “enforcement mechanism”, it seems clearly to be a carbon tax, and a more broadly based one than the cap-and-trade scheme which failed to get through the Senate under Mr Obama.
To make such changes the Democrats will need the Senate as well as the presidency and the House. That requires them to win three or more of the 23 Republican-held Senate seats being contested. A few months ago that looked like a long shot. Today’s polls make it look more plausible: but if the odds are better than 50:50, they are not so by much. This is another reason not to expect Mr Biden to make the big rhetorical or policy moves that the progressive wing says would excite the base. Flipping states with Republican senators is an inherently centrist undertaking.
Simply winning the Senate, though, is not enough. It might allow Mr Biden to fulfil his promise to restore the top marginal income-tax rate to 39.6% on those making over $400,000 and partially to reverse Mr Trump’s corporate-tax cuts, raising the rate from 21% to 28%: such measures can be passed as part of a “reconciliation bill” which requires only a simple majority. But almost all other business in the Senate is hostage to filibustering, which can only be overcome with 60 votes. Even were Mr Biden to achieve a landslide—and he has as good a chance of doing so as Mr Trump has of scraping a narrow win, according to our model—his coat-tails will be nowhere near long enough to bring 13 new Democratic senators with him.
Mr Biden, with the sort of respect for Senate procedure that comes from spending almost half your life within its precincts, says that he does not want to end the filibuster. He has also said he expects a Republican “epiphany” when Mr Trump leaves office, one that might make possible new bipartisan approaches to the nation’s problems. But Chuck Schumer, who would become majority leader were the Democrats to take the Senate, does not rule out getting rid of the filibuster. Some suggest that the mere threat of doing so might be enough to bring some Republicans round to the climate and health-care aspects of Mr Biden’s legislative agenda, epiphany or no epiphany.
Not all change needs legislation. Mr Biden could roll back the Trump administration’s own rollbacks of regulations on environmental protection and other things, putting back in force the rules that have been dropped, enforcing those that have been ignored. He could reverse the Trump administration’s immigration policies through executive action. He could also change the tone and manner of the presidency—though not necessarily that of the national conversation. Barracking from a defeated Mr Trump and his supporters would surely be raucous.
Foreign policy, where presidents have the greatest room for manoeuvre, would provide Mr Biden with his comfort zone. Decades as a member of the Senate’s foreign-relations committee and then as vice-president mean that he knows the game and many of the players. Neither the tactics of the opposing teams nor the state of the pitch, though, are as he left them. China is a far more assertive power; Russia has been able to interfere in American elections with minimal retribution. And the pandemic spreads on.
Won’t you just say goodbye?Mr Biden believes the world’s democracies want America to reassert itself in the role, abandoned by Mr Trump, of their leader and protector. He is unlikely to prove it so through force of arms, any more than Mr Obama chose to. But simply playing the part should prove a first step.
Mr Biden’s commitment to arms control is one of the through notes of his career. As president he would seek to pursue that interest in talks with Russia and Iran. He would rejoin the Paris agreement on climate change and hope thereby, and through the ambition of his domestic plans, to reinvigorate it. He has also promised to host “a global Summit for Democracy”, centred on fighting corruption and authoritarianism, and advancing human rights. Summitry is easy to mock; but as an opportunity for the relationship-building at which Mr Biden excels, it could bring benefits. Plenty of Asian countries which have resigned themselves to Chinese pressure would be glad to have an American thumb on the other side of the scale again.
Mr Biden has described himself as a “bridge” to the next generation of Democrats. He has been coy as to whether he sees that bridge as four years long or eight. Given that, should he win in November, he would be in his 80s when campaigning for a second term, this coyness cannot be taken as a simple refusal to look overconfident. His vice-presidential choice, due in early August, will thus be an important one—as Mr Obama’s has turned out to be.
Mr Obama, who represented profound change simply by virtue of his race and background, chose in Mr Biden an old-white-guy complement who represented experience and stability. He went on to govern cautiously and to be succeeded by his old-white-guy antithesis, a cruel man bereft of experience and deeply chaotic. Now Mr Biden, who still represents stability, seems by that very fact to represent the change people want. If they act on that desire, he may find himself in a position to govern more ambitiously than his one-time boss.Read more: The Economist »
Beirut police fire tear gas as protesters regroup and two ministers quit
Lebanese police fired tear gas to try to disperse rock-throwing protesters blocking a road near parliament in Beirut on Sunday in a second day of anti-government demonstrations triggered by last week's devastating explosion.
Really, veggie pedo joe can barely form a complete sentences and couldn't beat a 5 year old at tik tac toe, come on! When Obama and Biden eavesdropped American people, Snowden witness. There is no need to eavesdropping people With Law and Order . Joe has a lot in common with younger voters because they both spend alot of time in the basement.
Biden cant create 2 sentences without a prompter . ... lol Knowing JoeBiden (neoliberals /neocons) vulnerabilities to WallStreet sway Progressives have to 'hold his feet to the fire' to come through on the top natl priorities GreenNewDeal MedicareForAll HousingForAll JusticeReforms EducationForAll Reparations NotMeUs
'... Biden has quickly reached out to Bernie Sanders and his team to help draft a progressive agenda that he can implement as president.' This is proof that Biden has swung to the far left. More tax please. His ailing health and top attributes as a puppet!? With Joe Biden, Democrat will lose again. Is there any better candidate?
He stands out by being competent- the perfect antidote to Trumpism. New thinking New solution IT'S TIME WE ALL COME TO THE REALIZATION that Trump's only interest is his re-election & that Trump couldn't care less about anything or anyone else. TRUMP WILL SAY and do ANYTHING he thinks will secure his re-election, even endangering other people's lives. Trump's no leader.
Let me guess? Invading Cuba Invading Venezuela Be afraid. Very afraid. The humanitarian bombers are coming back Ohhh, poor America There are so many questions Biden has to answer such as to destroy statutes can bring good life for any people or not? the sob is senile quit pushing the left agenda Pleasr stop campaigning for him... it's embarrassing...
I don’t call it routine to want to raise taxes on every American & business, with a 11% unemployment, and every corporation in panic mode, because of Communist China. This is as far left as you can extremely get. Having O’Rourke take away everybody’s semiautomatic weapons, having Cortez in charge of The New Green Deal. These are all far left radical views. Over taxation & regulations again of corporations & small businesses, where they’ll move out of US, or make everyone part time workers
DO YOU REALLY WANT CREEPY UNCLE JOE FOR PRESIDENT? via YouTube Liberal talk again Joe Biden has ZERO chance of becoming President. Economist joke🇬🇧🤡 Only journalists can cling to Emperor's new clothes fantasies...reality & our own senses intervene for the rest of us. buahahaha cabal's puppet...america would literally die if biden wins...hahahah little boy biden can't do nothing
Yeah, right, whatever. Unfollow and unsubscribe A man that has been 40 years in politics as a 2nd choice.. Good try.. Congress may remain split and temper Biden's activism. has become a comic Joe has dementia, write an article on that. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣😂🤣🤣😂😂🤣😂😂😂😂😂😂😂🙈😂😂😂😂🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🙈😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣😂😂😂😂😂😂🤣
Or whoever is writing the material he reads. “Activist” and “Biden” in the same sentence...no, nothing odd about that in the least. I'm sorry, did you say a good chance? 🤣🤣🤣 Yes, get going, rid our great nation of this TRAITOR TRUMP and his corrupt administration, and family. Activism will only work for Biden if he names Elizabeth Warren as his preferred Vice President. She has played relentlessly to large crowds and is a prolific Fund Raiser.
Hologram. Zero chance! NO, he'll be in a dementia ward by summer's end. America is doom if Biden will win after hiding on a bunker for 89days. 😂 Is anyone else following The Economist purely for amusement value in the comment section? Perhaps, the more older we gets the more wisely we become. He really looks old on this picture.
He won’t last 2 days till the DNC uses the 25th on him. Not much time for activism. No please !!!!! Joe Biden is going to lose the elections with a strong 99% support, I repeat he is going to lose! OMG...he can't even find his navel Never! Freedom of Speech. President of what? Once he realizes it's 2020 and not 1920 jajaja
🙄 Is the actually suggesting that a crusty old turd that has been circling the DC Beltway for nearly half a century is now going to act any different? Lol 😂 no one really pays to y’all anymore ....but nothing fundamentaly will change...... Americans, again equating progress as activism. Catching up to the rest of the world is not activist.
The neoliberal propaganda is up. You misspelled Kanye West Biden is senile. Trump is nuts. America can't do any better than this? If not, it deserves what it gets. Dream on And by activist they mean wiping his own bum Wasn’t he already in the White House? What did he do while he was there? C’mon. Maybe his administration. Joe is barely home inside.
Yay we need one Would have had* He ain’t winning. Sleepy Media ! It was a weird and unexpected path to get here, but I'll take it! Dream on; bunch of 22 year old dweebs seeking breast action from Editor in Chief. I could see this realistically happening if public perception of the virus and the danger it poses becomes much more widespread due to personal tragedies. Kinda sad so many people had to die first y'know.
Even if Joe wins, he`s not going to be making a single decision …. he is not capable, even his handlers know this 🤣🤣 As long as it’s not treason like this idiot. 👹 Usually no comment on elections, personally don't care for Joe Biden. Doesn't have demonstrable history of bringing aid to minority communities. Not saying cause 'MAGA' don't support btw. Saying this because we need a president who values peoples freedom and economic security.
Incredible joke, keep going whit the funny stories. Do you remember 👇 unfollow While comedians are doing the news, the news is doing comedy. Joe has Dementia. He can do anything. Figure head for Democrats. Funny that he is the racist out of all the candidates. Check his record. For longer jail terms and segregation. Did nothing substantial for minorities but got $ from China for drug addicted son.
JoeBiden and TheDemocrats are working to extend the racism that keeps minorities 'in line' in order to exercise power over all of America. Plain and simple. Vote Joe. Vote enslavement to Leftists. to be fair to Joe, he'd run on anything that gets him where he wants to go... so will all those vying to be his 'vice'
Centrist? Lol. He wont be an activist, but the left wingers in his party will be, and with him comatose for most of the days, then be running the country There is no surprise. If Biden is elected he will be a puppet for AOC and her comrades. The Democrat agenda will not create economic growth and prosperity
I didn't know bold meant racially and economically destructive Marxist policies. Thank the gods, ‘cause that’s all he’s got! Hahaha, sure keep telling yourselves that! That, and competence. His minions will be falling over themselves trying to control him before he has a stroke Nevertheless, Biden may not survive the wreak Trump made. Dividing the country works fine for Trump..
Isn’t he accused of raping a colleague in the early 1990’s? She reported it to the police, no investigation ... I thought rape was a crime Does he remember that he is running for president? Don't be fooled by polls! When Hillary Clinton was running for president in 2016 she was %8 to %12 ahead of Donald Trump by pools at the last hours!
don't think he's gonna be fit for the end of the year 🤣 He's not plausible, so that's that. Lame headline. Can you think of a way to say the same thing without sounding like click-bait? Yeah, nahh! Gotta prove he's not a crook Gotta prove his sons not a crook Gotta prove he ain't involved at a high up level in Obamagate Gotta prove he ain't denial Gotta prove he ain't a pervy dude Shall I go on? ✌🐸
At the end of the day, who is suffering, only u guys , the Amsrican will be like Xombies, with no Human Left ! Do u have a choice ? Those good one like Governor Andrew Cuomo & others are not standing for election . Choose wisely, the votes are in your hands . He’s also a good person, intelligent, articulate, soulful due to person tragedy. Maybe use more of your words instead of just repeating what every other outlet is saying. Come on folks. 🤦🏻♂️ You get paid for those headlines?
Who will still voting for Trump must be blind & dumb . With 50,000 cases daily infested with covid 19. No control whatever . Putting American at High Risk .! Cant blsme them, with freedom & human rights! Exactly what the permanent establishment wants... Corn Pop: 'You aint black' VersaillesPrinc Yep...I believe a fire has been lit under you know what! If he gets a progressive as VP...it’ll be Helen of Troy with her ass on fire!
after 50 years of terrible policies how can 4 more hurt MalcolmNance EcigsSaveLives MalcolmNance This is why this country is so fucked up. The president standing down to our soldiers being picked off by russian bounties. But it's OK to shoot this country's only chance at sovereignty in the foot. However honest, you're lying about how much a tool you are for conservatives.
MalcolmNance Healthcare and environment: seems right on target for the times to me MalcolmNance What has he got to lose? He could create a great legacy for himself in four years, pass the baton, and go sit under a fig tree. MalcolmNance The two reasons are behind a paywall, so I guess we’ll never know. But rest assured, they are neoliberal
MalcolmNance This is 1930's progressivism type stuff that sounds soooo radical to people who've been brainwashed by the neo-cons for 40 years. foxnews TuckerCarlson bullcrap, Biden is not even there. His face is being kept around as a mannequin/puppet so evil powers behind the scenes can pull the strings. Child brained lefty fools believe democrat party propaganda.
'he may win in november..' that line, i imagined it and, Biden is republican He hasn't been an 'activist' anything for 40 years...but in his late 70's, he'll be rejuvenated...🙄🙄🙄 'Just shoot them in the leg' Real activist level stuff right there. BS Joe Biden is a criminal suspect in Ukrainian court! hes the weakest candidate the democrats have had possibly ever
Trying so hard lol.
'We need real plans': Joe Biden blasts Trump, offers alternatives to coronavirus responseBiden is also proposing to get more protective supplies to health care workers and provide a more consistent message on the importance of wearing a mask in public AKA: Leading. We've sorely missed it for three years that even basic leadership feels like genius to us. 🤣🤣🤣🤣 Of course when Trump actually DID that the media found some crazy excuse to attack him for it....
Willie Nelson & Robert Earl Keen Headlined Joe Biden's Texas Virtual FundraiserWillie Nelson and Robert Earl Keen will perform at former Vice President Joe Biden&39;s Texas virtual fundraiser today (June 29) as the event&39;s headliners. tanked
Joe Biden leading Trump by 10 points nationallyJoe Biden is leading the president, 54 to 44 percent nationally, according to new polling. 87 percent are dissatisfied with the direction the country is going. Can't we remove Trump now? We need to get Biden in the White House quickly. Missin_Florida Who are the 13% that happy with the direction of the country? They should not be wandering amongst the rest of us. No you don’t say!
Joe Biden Gains Support With Young Voters Amid ProtestsThe presumptive Democratic nominee has widened his lead over President Trump with younger voters, gaining among the demographic even as some want to see the Biden campaign back bigger changes to law enforcement. MENTIROSOS... Too bad young people don't vote at high numbers.
Ex-George W. Bush officials launch new group supporting Joe BidenA group of former George W. Bush administration and campaign officials has launched a new super PAC to mobilize disaffected Republican voters for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Hahahaha we don’t want em anyways cupcake This is what their doing with the money they got from fraud, blm, why do you even say George w. Bush when his not endorsing Joe, it's the people George paid, but this time it's with illegally gained money, so they should really should be disqualified and give it back
Jill Biden calls husband Joe 'a moderate'Former second lady Dr. Jill Biden says she believes that support for President Donald Trump has weakened in the wake of COVID-19 and because her husband is 'a moderate,' during an appearance on ABC's 'The View' on Tuesday morning. 'Of course, Trump has his supporters, but HAHAHAHAHA now that was a funny joke coming from Jill Biden! thats as absurd as someone calling yahoo a 'news source' And some Leftists call him a Republican, so where he is falls somewhere in between that