The Kansas Primary results came out today. There is no point in discussing the results, of course. Biden couldn’t lose, and he didn’t. Second-placed Sanders finished with 23.1% of the vote.
Only the formality of being coronated at the Democratic convention in Milwaukee is left for Biden. All his opponents are out of the race. This means, for the first time since the race began, Biden has to tell people what he’ll do as president. The strategy of calling Trump names and promising to restore the ‘soul of America’ won’t last for long.
Trump, the most hollow policy person you could find, used policy positions like building the wall and bringing back jobs to rally his base. The rust belt ditched the Democrats in 2016 because Trump promised jobs.
What is Biden promising?
It is unprecedented that a candidate who will be the nominee in a few weeks’ time has no real policy position to speak of. The healthcare plan Biden wants to bring leaves millions uninsured. His foreign policy positions will most likely be a replica of Obama’s. With such a shoddy policy platform, does Biden really think he can turn the tide and beat Trump in November?
Immigration policy is a tough one for Biden. This was Trump’s strong point in 2016. His base turned up in 2016 because they were passionate about the Wall program (no matter how misguided it was).
Biden could call out on the gross human rights violations carried by ICE agents at the border. His campaign website discusses the horrors of the border crisis. By calling Trump out on his rhetoric regarding immigrants, Biden could rally the Democratic base.
There is a problem. Biden was part of the Obama administration that deported 1.18M immigrants between 2009 and 2011. In Trump’s first three years in office, 800,000 immigrants have been deported. While Trump’s words and rhetoric are bad, Obama’s actions were worse. Biden will have a difficult time answering these questions. If Trump does make this an issue, he could cause divisions within the Democratic party and demoralize blue voters further.
Remember Trump used the deficiencies in Obamacare to attack the former president.
Biden’s healthcare plan does nothing to solve the faultlines in Obamacare. Healthcare is an issue which alone can get Biden the presidency. If he gets behind a plan that eliminates the vultures in the private insurance sector and reins in pharma companies, like something called Medicare for All, many progressives could support his candidacy.
Healthcare is an issue for every American. Medicare for All has takers across party lines. A large number of credible polls have found that even Republicans approve Medicare for All. The American public is ready to make healthcare a right for every American. Supporting such a plan can push Biden over the edge.
Biden, however, refuses to get behind Medicare for All. He even said he would veto Medicare for All, saying the cost of such a program would be too high.
Foreign policy under Biden would see a return to Obama era tendencies. Biden would make other establishment-type leaders such as Trudeau in Canada, Macron in France, and Merkel in Germany happier. He would readily sign trade agreements which take away jobs from the US. Remember Biden was in the Obama administration that pushed TPP, an agreement even Hillary Clinton washed her hands of.
The real danger lies in other areas. Biden could send more troops to Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan. A possible war with Venezuela could also come into the picture. While Trump has some non-interventionist tendencies, Biden has none. He has never shown an eagerness to end regime change wars. Expect more Bill Kristol style foreign policy in a Biden administration.
Biden recently said his presidency would be a transitionary phase to bring people like Mayor Pete into the White House. The ‘Mayor Petes’ of the world are the real danger to progressives and progressive policies. They would bring the Democratic party closer to Wall Street and in addition silence or even coopt progressives like AOC and Ilhan Omar.
Progressives are not happy about Biden’s candidacy and this is a major reason behind it. If he wins, Biden would make it very difficult for progressives to get into real positions of power. If he loses, it will again show how the Democratic party is ready to nominate half-baked candidates just to stop a progressive from getting on the ticket.