Race keeps Biden in the Race
Joe Biden is too old to run for, much less be, President of the United States. Everyone knows that except, maybe, Joe Biden. His chances in the 2024 election depend entirely on whether Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. Biden can beat Trump. But if Trump leaves the field, Biden will be in deep trouble, in no small part because his “back-up” is an unpopular affirmative action hire named Kamala Harris.
Not only is Ms. Harris a poor replacement for Biden as president, she is also a poor replacement for him as candidate. If Biden withdraws from the race, what does he do about his Veep? Can he not endorse her? President Obama was too slow, by Biden’s lights, to endorse his Vice President, so President Biden will be loathe to snub Ms. Harris. Still, there are so many better candidates than she, and she has a worryingly poor chance of beating Donald Trump.
The Democrats used to be about class; now they are about identity. Biden sold the party’s future for Jim Cliburn’s clutch of black voters. Harris was a down payment for Cliburn’s endorsement. The second installment was a promise to name a black woman to the Supreme Court, a horrible mistake (the promise, not the appointment) that not only alienated white voters but created for Justice Jackson the undeserved stigma that she, like Harris, was selected for what she was rather than what she had achieved. Finally, Joe had to make famously anti-union South Carolina, whose electoral votes he can’t get anyway, the first Democrat primary state. What does that say to the (white) blue-collar workers who used to be the party’s base?
Cliburn, of course, over-reached, getting so much that his party now stands an excellent chance of losing the White House. I think Nikki Haley (of whom I am not a fan) could beat Biden in a walk. DeSantis is a maybe. No point commenting on the others yet. But Biden’s best chance is against Trump. And it’s all because of race and, more generally, identity politics.
The Democrats do have better candidates than Biden or Harris. But Harris’s race makes it difficult, if not impossible, for those better candidates to step forward. (Maybe Cory Booker could run, although he didn’t make much of a dent last time.) A white candidate just can’t get past the identitarians, who will protest…