Barring any spectacular twist in the tale, Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee to stand against Trump. Many Democrats are getting irritated with rumours surrounding Hillary coming back and replacing Joe. For now, most Democrats just want to get behind a candidate who can beat Trump.
However, the problem is this – they will lose if this their only motivation.
For Democrats, ‘Trump Out 2020’ is a good message. They can’t stand Trump and want him gone. The same is true for mainstream media who would have Trump deported to outer Mongolia. His candidacy is a big reason why a majority of Americans have lost trust in the media.
However, Democratic hacks and mainstream media are not enough to win an election. An experienced politician like the former vice president understands as much. Going to the rust belt states and asking for votes only because Trump is bad is a rehash of Hillary’s 2016 strategy.
As Biden prepares for a sprint to November, he must start understanding the pitfalls of Hillary Clinton’s shock defeat to Trump. To win, Biden needs to make people get behind an idea bigger than getting rid of Trump. To win, Biden needs to take inspiration from Obama himself.
Lessons from 2008 from Obama’s Campaign
If one were to rank presidential campaigns of nominees from both parties in the last two decades, Obama 2008 would be first. Bush 2000 was a fluke result, delivered by the ineptness of the Democrats and the brilliance of Nader. Bush 2004 was again the Democratic party making silly mistakes. 2016 saw both Hillary and Trump running bad campaigns.
If there is one pristine presidential campaign, it is Obama 2008. Coming into the election, the Democrats already had one advantage locked down – massive anti-incumbency. The eight years with Bush had felt like sixteen thanks to a national tragedy, an economic collapse, and war.
Democrats could have won that election by nominating any retrograde Democrat. Instead, up came Barack Obama. His campaign wasn’t just about getting rid of the Republicans. His policy platform and unifying nature together made 2008 one of the most predictable elections of all time.
To win, Biden needs to take a leaf out of Obama’s book. Instead of throwing out empty Trump insults, Biden needs to have a message to inspire the country and a policy platform backing the message.
Biden is not as savvy a politician as Obama. However, he can get the basics right.
Any good message comes from a sound base of policy positions. Bernie Sanders never struggles to explain his message to the people. Even Trump, for all his faults, has a slew of positions on things like trade, immigration, and politics, no matter how much Democrats hate his positions.
A solid base of the policy is the base that helps create a good message.
What Does Biden Stand For Besides Beating Trump?
The problem is Biden has no strong base of policies. The things he stood for during his years as a politician are an anathema to the progressive and even Democratic base. From working with segregationists to opposing gay marriage and voting for the Iraq war, Biden based simply on policy is unfit to be the Democratic nominee.
And yet, he is.
In order to beat Trump, Biden needs to rehash his complete policy outlook. Even now, it is difficult to envisage what Biden would do in his first hundred days in office.
Biden promised to get the US back in the Paris Climate Deal that Trump left early in office. While this is a good step, it is hardly the type of thing that would make people excited about him.
To win, Biden needs one policy that could unite the Democratic base. Even if Biden told the country from his basement that he would give loan waivers for the first two years of his presidency, he is guaranteed to win. A policy position like this would help Biden excite the Democratic base to vote against Trump. Young voters, who can never be relied on when it comes to voting, would walk through snow and sand if they were getting a two-year student loan waiver.
The former vice president has a quality Hillary Clinton lacked. He immediately gets all the anti-Trump vote. Anyone in the country tired of Trump would vote for Biden, no questions asked. Hillary Clinton didn’t have the same skill. Biden does, however, it only brings him close to beating Trump.
The Public Doesn’t Hate Trump As Much as the Democrats Do
Remember, the entire country is not as tired of Trump as Don Lemon would have you believe. Even during a pandemic, Trump’s approval rating touched 49% in a recent Gallop poll. This is not a bad performance for a president who has shown historic incompetence. 49% approval shows the country is not exactly sick of Trump. Biden’s message may fall flat in such a scenario.
A popular policy position would make it easy for Biden to have a strong message to beat Trump. Unfortunately, Biden does not have the political will to stand behind a courageous policy position. He is far too entrenched in the corporate welfare wing of the Democrats.
In the end, ‘Beat Trump 2020′ will be the Democrats’ message. However, it won’t be enough.
(Image Credit: Wikipedia+ Nial Bradshaw)