A Gasping, Nostalgic Establishment Clings to Joe Biden

A party unwilling to admit they've lost the White House and both houses of Congress cries 'Biden 2020!'

Supporters of Vice President Biden rally outside vice president Joseph Biden's residence at the Naval Observatory, to thank him for his years of public service, on November 22, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Supporters of Vice President Biden rally outside his residence at the Naval Observatory, to thank him for his years of public service, on November 22 in Washington, D.C. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

On December 5, Vice President Joe Biden told a group of reporters at the Capitol, “I am going to run in 2020.” He then followed up with an ambiguous, “I’m not committing not to run. I’m not committed to anything. I learned a long time ago, fate has a strange way of intervening.”

When Biden, who is just a year older than Sen. Bernie Sanders, ran for president in 1988 and 2008, he failed to garner much support in either campaign. While speculation about the 2020 presidential election is premature, it does serve as a premise for introspection as to what direction the Democratic Party should head toward in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s loss, and eight years of Democrats disappearing in numbers from both houses of Congress and state legislatures across the country. Biden, a moderate establishment Democrat, is nowhere near the right direction for Democrats if they intend to recoup their losses and regain the presidency in 2020.

The Democratic establishment has resisted reform and accountability for their failures. Going forward, the party’s strategy is preserving the status quo in hopes Donald Trump governs himself and Republicans out of office by 2020. But this didn’t work for Democrats in 2004 with Bush, or 1984 with Reagan. As a strategy, it is a surefire way for Democrats to continue losing voters to Republicans, third parties and apathy.

A fun new tactic to boost Democratic Party’s image is elevating the possibility of Biden running for president in 2020. A series of memes starring President Obama and Biden went viral a few weeks ago, pushing Democrats’ core supporters to develop a nostalgia for the Obama presidency. Biden as a potential presidential nominee in 2020 is a self-indulgent exercise for Democratic partisans desperate to remain in the golden days of the Obama Administration.

These partisans are part of a dwindling portion of the Democratic Party that wants more Clinton, more Obama, more Biden. They’re stuck in a merry-go-round of self-denial as to the inherent flaws of neoliberalism. For them, Clinton could never have lost were it not for a barrage of villainous entities connected in unison to prevent “her turn” at the presidency. Russia, the FBI, fake news, Sanders, sexism and WikiLeaks were all stacked against Clinton. They can’t grasp why a vast network of corporate partnerships and admiration from the top one percent of Americans isn’t an endearing trait to most voters, even in comparison to a highly unfavorable candidate like Donald Trump.

In the face of this resistance to change, Sanders is mobilizing disenfranchised voters and the demographics Democrats need to recover. Sanders’ supporters were primarily millennials from every racial demographic, while older voters sided with the more familiar Clinton brand of politics. But millennial voters are the future of the Democratic Party, and for Democrats to start winning again, they need to start appealing to new generation of voters, not heeding to the archaic whims of an aging party leadership and their wealthy donors.

A Gasping, Nostalgic Establishment Clings to Joe Biden