Biden is faring better in the polls than Hillary did at the same time in 2016. Bernie fared better. What does this say about Trump’s weaknesses. What is says is that Hillary’s greatest weakness was a lack of ability perceived authenticity. Biden, for all his faults, and Bernie for all his, share the trait of authenticity. Biden’s famous gaffes are more in favor than not for the same reason Trump’s ghastly and horrid racism and misogyny are in his. Both Biden’s gaffes and Trump’s toxic volcano for a twitter account seem unfiltered. Whether Biden uses a focus group, he doesn’t sound like he does. It was something Bill Clinton did so well. Tara Reade isn’t a scandal that is going to affect Biden’s poll numbers in the least. It’s a sex scandal and as flashy as those are, they have much less political fallout than commonly thought. Paula Jones did nothing to Bill Clinton and neither did Monica Lewinsky. Giuliani was unphased by his mistresses and Trump was unphased by his.
The scandals that have caused political harm were non-sexual. Willie Horton, Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, Jeremiah Wright, Email-gate, and Benghazi all actually did political harm. The voters want somebody who will feign honesty and character without necessarily having it and the scandals that affect someone’s polling are the one’s that affect that perceived earnestness. It feels like such an old cliché that it should no longer still hold but human psychology doesn’t change. People pay more attention to pathos than ethos or logos and thusly if someone feels earnest even if all evidence is to the contrary then they have a better political chance. Hillary in 2016 couldn’t do what Elizabeth Warren does because Hillary, however corrupt she actually is, is far too jaded, first, and second, as a recorded history of being jaded so much that she can’t be anything else in the public imagination.
She was a poor choice. Really, the most electable option in 2016 was probably Martin O’Malley. Too late, now. Not that I would have voted for him had he lasted to South Carolina but he had the qualities of an electable candidate more than the rest of them. In any event, Biden should choose his vice presidential pick as a white midwestern woman like Warren or Amy. I would love a Black VP pick but, as much as it is said the Back vote shouldn’t be taken for granted, that’s stupid given the options. We’re running against Trump so Biden can take my vote for granted. He doesn’t have to earn my vote. Barring my death or incarceration, I will vote for Joe Biden no matter what this November. Every demographic should accept the fact that given the hostage situation we’re in, he gets to take votes for granted. I voted for Bernie Sanders and I’ll pinch-my-nose and vote for Biden.
There are racial issues and we have to heed the racism of Middle-America by not triggering it. If Black people scare people from Iowa then Biden should choose a white VP pick. We’re getting dangerously close to the line and the identity left wants to play with fire. They say they want to do anything to defeat Trump but they don’t actually want that since they’re begging for a candidate of perfection according to standards they have that Middle-America is offended by. No, focus on down-ballot races for identity issues, the presidential race is where we put pragmatism before everything and anything else. I am not marching to the slaughterhouse as a glorious martyr.
Yet, that all is tangential. The most important issue is perceived honesty, feigned or not. That is the lesson we have learned most from this season, thus far. I hope we can apply that lesson I the future. While the demographics may shift, my suspicion is that that facet of political life will remain. When this country goes brown, they’ll be just as likely to support a populist. Modi is a brown Trump and Bolsonoro is a Hispanic Trump. Moreover, if Stalin proved anything, it is that Kulaks and Trotskyists can be made out of the ether. That is to say arbitrary classifications can be invented and forms of racism you haven’t imagined may be the result. Which is why counter-populism need learn the lessons from populism because it is not a matter of race or time as much as basic human psychology and if we can’t beat it, we have to cooperate with it.