DEMOCRATS had hoped for a landslide victory to oust Donald Trump last Tuesday – but as Joe Biden edges towards 270 electoral votes, this process must act as a warning for 2024.
It was, in many respects, the easiest election the Democrats could have hoped for.
An oaf of an incumbent in Trump, who has, among many other things, been complicit in the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans due to a botched coronavirus response.
The Black Lives Matter movement was an opportunity to contrast Trump’s open pandering to far-right groups, and, crucially, boost turnout from minority voters in states like Michigan and Minnesota.
In 2016, Trump was able to portray himself as the anti-establishment candidate – after four years in charge, promising to drain a swamp one has expanded is more difficult.
Polling reflected this. Biden was set to sweep every swing state (with the exception of Iowa), according to most reputable pollsters.
His campaign was largely gaffe-free – there were no emails, no slip-ups that Trump could have capitalised on. Although unpopular in many circles, Kamala Harris was an astute pick if one subscribes to the adage of picking a safe VP that won’t draw too much negative attention.
So, how did America end up with one of the most tense elections in recent history?
While last night Trump boasted of garnering the highest non-white vote share of any Republican candidate in history, Democrats simply acheived the results of resting on their laurels.
Blame should not go to minority voters, of course, the most disenfranchised demographic in the county – the DNC must be blamed for refusing to engage further with POC voters, especially Latinos.
“I do not think that the Biden campaign thinks that Latinos are part of their path to victory,” Jess Morales Rocketto, the former digital organizing director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, told Politico – a damning statement in its own right.
IGNORING THE LEFT
When Joe Biden was asked about veto-ing Medicare for All in March, he said: “I would veto anything that delays providing the security and the certainty of health care being available now.
“If they got that through in by some miracle or there’s an epiphany that occurred and some miracle occurred that said, ‘OK, it’s passed,’ then you got to look at the cost.
“I want to know, how did they find $35 trillion? What is that doing? Is it going to significantly raise taxes on the middle class, which it will? What’s going to happen?”
It was a clear indication that the Democrats were, for the second election running, not relying on progressive voters. The sort of voters who, as seen in many primary races up and down the ballot, will make those phone calls, knock on those doors and boost voter turnout instead of subtweeting on social media.
One school of thought suggests that Biden was correct in laying low and letting Trump sabotage his own campaign.
But it became clear that voters needed an alternative.
While many policies on the Biden platform are fairly strong, these were rarely shared in speeches and campaign material. Instead, the message was: ‘Get Trump out’.
BERNIE WOULD HAVE WON
Part of the reason to nominate Joe Biden was to win the rust belt back – and fair play, he looks like he may have done just that.
But why wouldn’t Bernie Sanders, who is brilliant at speaking to working class concerns, have done the same?
And perhaps in Florida and Arizona, he would have won the Latino vote, having done so in the primaries?
If Bernie Sanders was running – this race would already be over.
While Biden looks likely to win the race for the White House, the fact that it will be such a tight margin, if he does come out victorious, is worrying.
There’s nothing to stop Trump, or a Trump-like figure, returning in 2024 after four tough years in office for Biden, and sweeping the election.
Featured Image: Gage Skidmore@ Wikimedia Commons
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