Nobody's Voting for Joe Biden
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, 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:
Or, as Naked Capitalism puts it:
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 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."
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."