11 November 2022

Why I think Biden should not run for re-election

In the primaries in 02016* I was a Bernie guy. But, like easily 90% of us, maybe more, I voted for, and contributed to, Clinton's campaign. Of f*ing course. In retrospect, I wish I'd done more, as I have done in elections since, but the blame for her loss, in my view rests squarely on three main factors: social media algorithms, with included Russian interference (the latter frequently overstressed, in my view) which combined grossly distorted information many voters received; the ridiculous and unlawful manipulation of the FBI investigation communication by Comey; and, probably most important, Clinton's own failure to connect with working class voters in the heartland. Democratic overconfidence is another factor, which has now, if anything, swung all the way to lack of confidence being a big negative, but I think that is actually not as significant. We almost won, and the main reason we didn't was that Clinton was actually not the right candidate. I know many people disagree with that, but that's my view. Of course, Trump was unpredictable, but we have to focus on our side of the street... assume the worst from them and you won't be disappointed. 

In 02020 I supported Elizabeth Warren during the primary season. But, again, once it was clear the nominee was going to be Biden, I supported him as best I could, including donating what was a lot of money, for me, to his campaign. With both Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, in 2020, I had a significant concern, which was only slightly less in the case of Warren. And that is that these folks are all too old to have begun a two-term presidency in 02021. Not legally, maybe not even in terms of basic competency. But it's just not a good idea to elect someone, and attempt to re-elect them, when they will be in their mid-80s before their term is up. If this is ageist, so be it. I think it is merely pragmatic. We should be looking to younger leaders to be our candidates for president next time around. And this alone is sufficient reason, in my view, to want 02024 to be that "next time."

In addition, Biden's approval is at 41%. The charges of "cognitive decline" are overstated to the point of outrageous slander, but the fact remains that, with circumstances, his age, his demeanour, his fairly lackluster speaking style, and his inability (even if not his fault) to bring his party into functioning as a legislative juggernaut despite having, just barely, a majority in both Houses, all point to a presidency that, at best, can be called a mixed bag. I think he is much better than many feared, but he is not the best candidate to lead us forward. History is moving at an accelerated clip these days. We cannot wait and hope for the best by trying to re-elect Biden. And Biden should see this, and voluntarily, even enthusiastically, make way for a new generation of leadership, this time

I am a progressive. Progressive wing of the Democratic Party. But our party is unified, by and large. I would support most any Democrat (not Sinema, Manchin, Menendez (who is a crook), or anyone in their cohort, which would include my former congressman, Kurt Schrader, for example). Hell, I would no doubt vote even for them, but enthusiasm, zip. And if Joe Biden ends up running in 02024, which seems likely, I will, of f*ing course, support him. But. But. 

I think Joe Biden should decide and announce now, or soon, that he does not intend to run for a second term. He should not endorse anyone to replace him, and should give a short, dignified speech saying that he thinks for the good of the nation and Democratic electoral prospects, he wants to concentrate all of his efforts on navigating the difficult waters of (likely) divided government, doing the very best job possible for the American people, and assisting in setting up the agenda and program for major policy reforms if we are successful in electing an efficient and committed Senate, House, and Presidency, in 02024. Which will be his goal, and the goal of every committed Democrat, to actually achieve the ability to enact the policies and programs that the majority of the American people clearly want and need. 

I honestly believe that this is the best way, the optimal way, to make that outcome as likely as possible, and that Joe Biden will be remembered as an important and accomplished president who paved the way for a Democratic wave and new progressive era. 

* I am adopting the "Long Now Foundation" idea of putting a leading zero before the year, to emphasize that we are stewards of a vast future, and that we should keep it in mind at all times. longnow.org

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