Should Biden Be the Nominee? Why It's Challenging for Democrats to Persuade Their Own Base

Alexandru Negrici |
Data actualizării: | Data publicării:

The Democrats’ efforts to convince their own voters that Joe Biden is still capable of leading the nation highlight a troubling disconnect from the public. When a party has to work this hard to reassure its base, it’s a clear sign that something is fundamentally wrong with their strategy. This struggle will only intensify as the Democratic Convention approaches and Biden's candidacy becomes official. If convincing their own ranks is this challenging, the general election campaign promises to be even more brutal for Biden.

Trump's lies were not the focus of the recent debate, not due to media bias as Democratic leaders claim. Instead, it was Biden’s faltering performance that drew attention. At times, even Trump appeared to pity Biden as he stumbled through memorized talking points. Biden's poor showing almost humanized Trump. You don't want Trump's clemency while you describe him as a far-right dictator. You never want the villain to feel sorry for you while calling yourself the people's savior. This image of a struggling leader is far from what the Democrats need as they try to rally support. And it's not like Biden looks in the right shape or form necessary to wipe off that image.

The Democrats have become victims of their own standards. They can’t complain about perceptions of Biden's fitness for office while his public appearances continue to deteriorate. This isn’t ageism; it’s a legitimate concern that deserves open discussion. Testing the loyalty of their base in this way is a risky move that likely won’t pay off in the long run. Moreover, the Democrats’ strategy of framing the election as a contest between an unfit Trump and a supposedly fit Biden falls apart when Biden himself seems unprepared for the rigors of the presidency.

Biden is also jeopardizing his legacy. Had he stepped down at the right moment, he could have been remembered for his historic win in 2020, his achievements as president and vice president, and his willingness to pass the torch to the next generation of leaders. His name could have stood alongside other great American historical figures, celebrated for his commitment to democracy, freedom, and decency.

Now, his accomplishments risk being overshadowed by his current struggles. Despite significant achievements—rebuilding infrastructure, raising wages, reducing the cost of living, boosting green spending, enriching families, driving down violent crime rates, supporting marijuana reform, rallying international support for Ukraine, and rescuing the economy after the pandemic—Biden's image struggles ferociously. And his team’s attempts to highlight these successes may prove futile as public perception continues to deteriorate.

Two major issues are undermining Biden. First, despite the Democrats winning the youth vote in the midterms following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Biden has alienated many young voters with his approach to Gaza. Second, while once seen as the defender of democracy, Republicans now paint him as an egotistical old man clinging to power—an image eerily reminiscent of Trump after the Capitol attack.

Equating himself with Trump in terms of competence and mental acuity reduces this election to a culture war between "wokeism" and Christian values. This is a battle Biden could have won, given his credentials as a practicing Catholic, a committed capitalist, and overall a centrist figure. These were the very qualities that made him the party's choice over Bernie Sanders, in 2020. They hoped Biden could win the culture war argument.

Yet, in a polarized America, faith is more about who can shout the loudest. This holds true even if the person doing the shouting is a convicted felon involved in a hush money trial against a porn star. Biden’s capitalist credentials are also vulnerable when his opponent is a famous businessman railing against the "Washington elite". Nonetheless, centrism has rarely fared well in head-to-head battles with fascism. Historically, in the Western world, it has mainly held its ground against the radical left.

As Biden's campaign moves forward, the Democrats must confront these challenges head-on. The future of their party and Biden's legacy depend on it.

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