A couple of weeks ago, Joe Biden announced his candidacy for the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States of America. Or, that is, he officially announced it. Everyone knew he was running; not a single person closely following (or casually observing from far away) uttered a “WAIT WHAT?! HE IS? I’M SHOCKED!”
Because no one was shocked. In November, we wrote a couple articles trying to dissuade some white dudes we’re pretty familiar with not to run for President. Neither worked. With Biden, however, I went a bit easier.
In the time since then, however, I’ve soured on his candidacy and the best it makes me feel is deep, deep fatigue. There are many layers to this fatigue, but let’s keep it to three so we aren’t experiencing said fatigue in real time.
1. Nostalgia Fatigue
Joe Biden is a man made at this point entirely of nostalgia. Nostalgia for an “era of bipartisanship.” Nostalgia for the ’70s and ’80s and ’90s, whose problems and politics led to the ones we have now, but still seem so far away– quaint, even! Nostalgia for Barack Obama’s tenure.
This last one is the most apparent in his polling; there’s a sense that with Biden as candidate, we can effectively have a re-do on 2016. He all but says that in his launch video. Essentially, Donald Trump is a blip, and by defeating him in 2020, we can wind back the clock.
Wouldn’t that be nice? Weirdly enough, linear time doesn’t work that way.
I’m tired of nostalgia infecting politics. We can only face the problems of the day by facing them; nominating a candidate because a hypothetical version of them would have won three years ago is the goddamn opposite of that.
2. White Dude Fatigue
This is a historically large and diverse primary field for the Democrats. With that comes various pitfalls, and I’m sure I’ll get a chance to address those as the months roll on. It is entirely possible the best candidate will be a white man; but there are just so goddamn many. Most of them really have no business running for president, but still get more press than more qualified women and POC in the field.
And Ol’ Unca’ Joe is one of the most White Dudey of White Dudes. After being accused of inappriopriate touching, once his initial “hey sorry, I’ll try to listen better” was out of the way he made jokes about it in a public forum. . . pretty goddamn tone deaf, at best.
I don’t think Joe Biden is a secret creep or monstrous predator– for one thing, there’s been nothing secret about his love for shoulder rubs. But if you’re going to apologize, and try to listen better, don’t make jokes out of those concerns the next day. We canexpect better from someone who wants to lead the country.
3. Primary Fatigue
Did you know the election isn’t until November of next year? This year isn’t even half way done! This is not a problem that Biden caused, but it is one he is trying to capitalize on. He’s a known name. And there are . . . so many names. So many anecdotes, and at this point, a lot of unknowns.
Diamond Joe already has the networks, donors, and connections to run a campaign, and I think he’s just cynical enough to count on fatigue and division to let him coast to the nomination.
There’s more Fatigue, but we’ll leave it with this disgruntled caveat
It should go without saying that OBVIOUSLY I think Joe Biden would be a better president than Donald Trump and if he’s the nominee I’m all in for it. Voting, telling friends, phone banking even. He’s got strengths that we don’t need to cover here because the moderate media will do it for us. Even some of the things I don’t like about him may end up appealing to a lot of people.
Still. His nomination is not inevitable; anything can still happen, and at least inevitability fatigue isn’t one I have to worry about this time around.
Also published on Medium.