Nobody's Voting for Joe Biden

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Nobody is voting for Joe Biden.

The candidate who supposedly won on electability, whose supporters, both institutional and individual, insist that electability is the most important issue in the 2020 elections, is the candidate who renders the entire concept of electability meaningless. Because nobody is voting for Joe Biden.

Let me clarify what I mean. I don’t mean that no one has pulled the lever for the former Vice President, nor that it would be impossible to persuade millions of people to do so again in November (assuming they could go to the polls without risking their lives). I mean that the Democrats ran a chosen candidate that they had, and have, no intention of endowing with the power of the Presidency.

Anybody who pulled the lever for a Joe Biden presidency is basically the victim of a con. They were led to believe that they have the power to determine who will be the Democratic nominee for President and that the party itself is nothing but a glass in which half the electorate sees itself. In fact, the party controls the nomination process from start to finish. Voters merely provide a populist aroma to the proceedings, an air of credibility. Any candidate who does not have the party leadership’s blessing will be prevented from gaining the nomination, by a brokered convention if no other strategy will serve.

The Democratic establishment—the party leadership and its associated media organs—sent signals early that there might be a brokered convention. The New York Times actually reported on February 27 that the party leadership wanted a brokered convention. (It's behind a paywall, but the link is here if you want to read it: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/us/politics/democratic-superdelegates...) Of course, one reason they wanted a brokered convention was as a failsafe against Bernie Sanders securing a plurality of the votes. But what a brokered convention actually means, regardless of the reason party leaders want one, is that the party openly decides who the nominee is—not the voters. With a brokered convention, the Democrats could run anyone. They could insert Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, or Michael Bloomberg into the Presidential race. They could even make Hillary Clinton the nominee (Clinton hinted that some such thing might be in the works when she commented, about two months ago, that a lot of people were asking her to run.)

In fact, the Democratic party had already told us, in a court of law, that they don’t have to consult the voters or their preferences; that party leadership could “go into a back room with their cigars and choose someone” and be well within their rights:

here we’re talking about a political party and political principles and debate. And that’s an area where there’s a wealth of doctrine and case law about how that —just simply giving money does not give one standing to direct how the party conducts its affairs, or to complain about the outcomes, or whether or not the party is abiding by its own internal rules.

But here, where you have a party that’s saying, We’re gonna, you know, choose our standard bearer, and we’re gonna follow these general rules of the road, which we are voluntarily deciding, we could have — and we could have voluntarily decided that, Look, we’re gonna go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way. That’s not the way it was done. But they could have. And that would have also been their right, and it would drag the Court well into party politics, internal party politics to answer those questions.

https://observer.com/2017/05/dnc-lawsuit-presidential-primaries-bernie-s...

Or, as Naked Capitalism puts it:

This is your periodic reminder that the “Democratic Party” is not an organization that Democratic voters belong to or have any right to control. The Democratic Party is instead a private organization, much like a club, that non-members support by giving it their money, their time and their votes. (The same is true of the “Republican Party.) All other “rights” and promises offered by the Party to its supporters, including those obligations described in the DNC charter, are not obligations at all, but voluntary gifts that can be withdrawn at any time.

At least, that’s how the DNC sees it.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/08/reminder-dnc-lawyers-to-court-we...

A brokered convention takes that political philosophy and makes it concrete. It basically cordons off an area where representative democracy may be practiced, and that area is the general election. There, the voters can have an influence (barring election fraud, of course) by choosing one of two people pre-selected for them by the parties. But their menu of choices is determined by the powerful, and, as anyone with children knows, being the one who determines the list of possible choices provides far more power than being the one who chooses off the list. The fact that the menu the political professionals provide consists of Joe Biden and Donald Trump tells its own story.

Now that Bernie Sanders has been dealt with, it seems likely that the Democrats actually will run Biden rather than replacing him at the convention. Why do I think so? Because of this:

Biden faces pressure on multiple fronts. He must consider the demands of his racially, ethnically and ideologically diverse party, especially the black women who propelled his nomination. He must balance those concerns with his stated desire for a governing partner who is “simpatico” and “ready to be president on a moment’s notice.”

https://fortune.com/2020/04/10/biden-biggest-decision-choosing-running-m...

Biden apparently said that whoever he chose for Vice President would have to be prepared to become President immediately, because, he said, "I'm an old guy."

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/biden-suggests-he-might-die-in-o...

This statement is being interpreted, in the corporate press, as Biden expressing his concern that he might die in office sooner rather than later. But surely, anyone running as Vice President knows that they will have to be prepared to be President immediately upon the President’s death. The whole point of the Vice President is that she must be ready instantly if the President dies--whether he's a fifty-year-old dying of a heart attack, a forty-year-old dying from a stray hockey puck hitting him in the head, or an eighty-year-old dying of old age.

Why did Biden inform his prospective running mates that the Vice President’s job is to be President should the President die? Did they somehow not know the reason the Vice Presidency exists? Or was he informing them of his age? Do his prospective running mates need to be told that Joe Biden is old? Did they miss that? Or are they actually being told that Joe Biden is not currently capable of fulfilling the duties of the office and will not, short of a miracle, be capable of fulfilling those duties on Inauguration Day? Since he doesn’t seem to be capable of making a six-minute pre-recorded speech with a teleprompter, it’s a fair question.

And then there's his inability to remember Barack Obama's name, the Declaration of Independence, or the fact that he's running for President:

And his inability to provide a coherent response to the COVID-19 crisis:

So why do I think this means that Biden actually will be the Democratic presidential candidate, as opposed to being switched out for Kamala Harris, Michael Bloomberg, Andrew Cuomo, or Hillary Clinton? Because the Democratic machine is making provisions for the installation of a figurehead. That's what Biden's comment actually implies.

If Biden is affected by dementia or some other medical problem which causes him to forget Barack Obama’s name, the Declaration of Independence, and the fact that he is running for President, then the Democratic party is running a mere figurehead, and voting for Joe Biden is not voting for Joe Biden. Those who vote for Biden, whether those who did so in the primaries, or those who may do so in a general election, are actually expressing unconditional trust in Democratic party leadership—because Joe Biden will not wield the power of the presidency. Assuming Biden in his current condition can get past Trump, somebody else will wield the power of the presidency starting in January of 2021, and that person will be chosen by Democratic party leaders without reference to the will of the voters. We have no idea who that will be. If we’re lucky, it will be his running mate. That would be lucky, because at least we would then know who was running the country. If we’re not lucky, we will have no idea who is running the country for the foreseeable future.

But even if it is the Vice President who actually runs the Executive Branch, as George Herbert Walker Bush did during Reagan’s second term, what does the Vice President have to do with democracy? Or with republicanism, for that matter? No one votes for the Vice President. Not even delegates vote for the Vice President. The Vice Presidency is always chosen by, at most, a small circle of party leaders. It is the most anti-democratic high office we have, even beating out the horrendously elitist and authoritarian Supreme Court, who at least have a tenuous connection with, if not the people, at least their representatives in the Senate.

Much has been made of the notion that the radical right, led by Trump, will end the American tradition of peaceful passage of power from one Chief Executive to the next. Even before the advent of COVID-19, such rumors persisted; now, of course, there is an excuse for preventing people from going to the polls. We already have a national emergency, and under conditions of emergency, all sorts of things are possible for Trump that would not be easy otherwise. But what is being ignored in most circles is the fact that the Democratic party is undermining democracy right now, and has been, right along, even if you ignore the election fraud and voter suppression they have used twice to shut down the Sanders movement. Superdelegates are not creatures of representative democracy. Nor is a brokered convention a place where republicanism is practiced. It is a place where elitism is practiced. Since the Democratic party has already shown its fondness for these profoundly anti-democratic and elitist political strategies, it should not be a surprise that they choose to rally around a feeble figurehead. Feeble figureheads afford great scope to those who prefer elite power to either republicanism or democracy. Some say a feeble figurehead provides an even better atmosphere for authoritarian politics than the traditional dictatorial strongman.

The fact that one party offers us a feeble figurehead while the other offers us a strongman illuminates what has become of the American republic. It’s gone. The press and the legal system are its gravediggers, heaping soil on its coffin while pretending to cry. Nobody is voting for Joe Biden. They are voting to place their unconditional trust in the elites who run the Democratic Party. Joe Biden has become a mere pretext for one more elitist power grab, whether he runs in the general or is replaced at the convention, and whether he ultimately wins against Trump or loses.

It’s a good idea to understand how the powerful are using politics to adjust your personal expectations. In this case, they are using the electoral process and the Biden candidacy to get you used to the devolution of your vote into an expression of unconditional allegiance.

The following video was posted under the title "Trump's America." But it could just as easily be entitled "Biden's America."

"They've kept what was left of him as a figurehead."

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

"If You Wanted to End Democracy, Why Didn't You Just Say So?"

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36 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Steven D's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal The Democrats will either swap Biden out at the convention (if need be and they have a consensus choice to put in his place) or use him as a figurehead with the Veep nominee doing most of the heavy lifting during the Fall campaign. Biden already told donors at a fundraiser that for all intents and purposes he would step down shortly after he's installed in office.

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"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

Cassiodorus's picture

@Steven D

Biden already told donors at a fundraiser that for all intents and purposes he would step down shortly after he's installed in office.

How do we know this? What sources do you have for this? Links? Texts?

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"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

Lookout's picture

The dims are such a disappointment. There's an effort afoot to build a "People's Party"
25 min interview with Nick Brana

I wouldn't be too surprised if this dim party is dying.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Lookout

I've heard of Brana and his work before. I haven't watched the entire video yet.

However, if I had any influence over this third party, I would suggest that it function more like the Black Panthers than the Green Party. In other words, I'd focus less on running people for President and more on providing people with a good breakfast, with a side of running people for local elections, perhaps, but with the main focus being on community organizing.

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21 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Review the Republican primary of 2016. All the best of the Republican candidates, many properly in line for the nomination, were crushed by Trump. During the debates the MSM reported that Trump was the loser, and then the in the following primary Trump crushed it. So here we are today. The MSM reports that Biden has a good chance. Bull. None of his opponents in 2016 had early onset dementia. None had the long and defective careers and voting record as Biden. None, that I know, had public accusations of rape and fondling. Review what Trump had to say to Jeb! about his brother and the Iraq war. Biden made the Iraq war possible by whipping up enough Dem votes for the AUMF. Some of the responsibility for that outrage of a war crime can be truthfully placed on Biden. Biden's excuse that he didn't really vote for war is transparently bullshit. It was called the Authorization for the Use of Military Force.

From replacing Wallace with Truman in 1944 to nominating Biden today the Democratic party has been the party of war and the corporations and the oligarchs, and screwing of the working class at every turn, while pretending to represent them. Representing identity issues has given them a thin veneer of liberalism, but that's worn really thin. The Democratic party is an impediment to forming a real democratic people's party.

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Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@The Wizard

In particular, this:

Representing identity issues has given them a thin veneer of liberalism, but that's worn really thin. The Democratic party is an impediment to forming a real democratic people's party.

This has been brutally obvious for some time. It's also been brutally obvious that the Democrats are far more interested in repressing any left-wing populism than they are in defeating Republicans. They are a storm drain, designed to carry any populist impulses from the left off harmlessly, so that no floods threaten the current establishment.

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25 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Cassiodorus's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal Repressing the Left is something which comes easy to them. Defeating the Republicans is hard, mostly because the DNC is not designed to defeat Republicans. This is significantly Obama's doing.

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"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

Pluto's Republic's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

...and a time-honored slave-owner Tradition:

It's ...been brutally obvious that the Democrats are far more interested in repressing any left-wing populism than they are in defeating Republicans. They are a storm drain, designed to carry any populist impulses from the left off harmlessly, so that no floods threaten the current establishment.

Which is why I correctly point out that there has never been a Left party in the United States. The views of the Left have never been represented by any party in the United States. There is no established Left movement in the United States today. Foreign observers will readily confirm this fact.

The only choice that the Left has under the ruling Duopoly system is to deliberately crush the Democratic Party and defeat every candidate who runs as a Democrat. Make certain that no candidate in any election can win if they run under the Democratic label. Let them know.

Dont worry about the right wing. They will ultimately destroy themselves and launch the Left.

Or go to the polls in November, vote for Democrats, and enjoy more of the same for the rest of your lives.

A very compelling essay. Thanks.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

and establishment politics generally, will be an analysis along these lines:

It’s a good idea to understand how the powerful are using politics to adjust your personal expectations.

How are they trying to change our culture? How are they trying to change our assumptions? How are they trying to change us?

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17 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal through which oligarchy drips their filth upon the electorate.
Aside from all of your observations about the Democrats and the DNC, the aspect of this set up that offends me to no end, is that fact that TPTB are telling me, to my face, "We know what's best for you, so don't worry your pretty little head about it."
They have underestimated my resistance to that sort of discipline.
I am rebellious, do not allow any person to treat me as though I have no freedom of thought or independence. Why should I allow a corporation?
Or a political party?

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enhydra lutris's picture

Biden was, of course, DLC and hence New Democrat, a cabal that took the helm of the Democratic party and has run it ever sense. That is not to say that it wasn't already as you describe it, a little private club that picks and chooses the people, policies and platforms that will be its public face, but merely describes those power brokers and intermediaries to the real elites and powers that control the nation.

I like your plan to focus on:

--- how the powerful are using politics to adjust your personal expectations.

How are they trying to change our culture? How are they trying to change our assumptions? How are they trying to change us?

Since you made indirect reference to the party's mythological principles:

here we’re talking about a political party and political principles and debate.

, I feel compelled to toss out this little comment I came up with last night.

Basic Accounting for followers of politics:

The formula for compound interest earned, in it's simplest form is A = P(1+i)n-P. Note that the Principle, P, is used to derive the amount of interest, but is then subtracted back out and hence eliminated. This illustrates why bankers, brokers, and the politicians who serve them, virtually all politicians, that is, have great interest in earnings, but no principals whatsoever.

be well and have a good one.

edited to correct formula typo from 1=i to 1+i inside the brackets.

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13 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

I was first (that I can recall) exposed to your comment

being the one who determines the list of possible choices provides far more power than being the one who chooses off the list

decades ago in a SF novel. In it, the protaganist decides to work through a political party to build power. He does a favor for a high party official and is offered a choice of positions in the party. I was surprised when he chose to be the secretary who had control of the agenda. But then it was explained how powerful a position that is, as if something is not on the agenda, it doesn't get an official discussion. Keeping that story in mind as I looked at politics showed how accurate it was, for if you want to install option B, but are only given the chance to choose options A1 or A2, you won't be seeing option B put into place anytime soon.

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TheOtherMaven's picture

@MichaelSF

The protagonist explicitly referenced Comrade Stalin as his inspiration (the story was first published in 1940). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wheels_of_If

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

@TheOtherMaven thanks, I read it a looooong time ago.

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jwa13's picture

the title (and role) of the most powerful individual in the Soviet Union (= USSR, for those who experienced the "cold" war) was:

General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Secretary_of_the_Communist_Party_o...

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When Cicero had finished speaking, the people said “How well he spoke”.
When Demosthenes had finished speaking, the people said “Let us march”.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

Thanks so much for your support of this essay via your great comments.

I only got two hours of sleep last night, which is why I'm not responding much--I am pudding-brained.

I would love to continue talking about this tomorrow if any of y'all are around. I will definitely be replying more.

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5 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Hawkfish's picture

If the WOC he picks is Tulsi. Otherwise no.

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We can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.
- Greta Thunberg

enhydra lutris's picture

was going to come out of ones tax refund, or words to that effect. I've heard that before, from other sources. To the best of my knowledge, that is not true.

be well and have a good one.

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5 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --