Elections

Biden’s Time

Former vice president Joe Biden speaks at his Super Tuesday night rally in Los Angeles, Calif., March 3, 2020. (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)

After the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday, it is looking much less likely that the Democrats will pin their presidential chances on a self-declared socialist. Enough Democrats were alarmed by that possibility to consolidate with stunning rapidity behind the candidacy of former vice president Joe Biden. They have compelling, albeit mostly negative, reasons for doing so: He hasn’t praised Castro’s Cuba, he isn’t calling for outlawing most Americans’ health insurance, he doesn’t want to ban fracking. Democratic voters forced Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, and Michael Bloomberg out of the race. All have now endorsed Biden.

Yet Biden, notwithstanding his impressive turnaround, is not obviously a stronger general-election candidate than Bernie Sanders. He is old, and he wears his age poorly. No sober observer will ever call either Biden or President Trump a great orator, but the latter is much better at getting his point across. Then there are Biden’s decades as a Washington insider.

And while Biden counts as a moderate within the Democratic Party, that party has itself been moving left and Biden has been pulled along. Biden wants a $3 trillion tax increase, an expensive expansion of Obamacare, a reduction in enforcement of the immigration laws, limits on energy use, and taxpayer-funded abortion. And that’s before he has tried to mollify Sanders and his supporters, who are not suddenly going to turn reasonable. Already, egged on by a mischievous Trump, they are treating the result of a free vote as an illegitimate “coup.”

That’s what Marianne Williamson, now a Sanders surrogate, called it. She sounds like she is ready to put a hex on the Democratic Party. Maybe someone already has.

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