The Duplicity Of Joe Biden

I have no idea why he’s running. But if Bernie thought Biden was enough, he’d drop out already. He hasn’t.

Does anyone really know why Joe Biden is running for president? I sure don’t. I’m also wondering why he’s been adopting Bernie Sanders’ platform in tiny bits and pieces at a time. Do you think he might be hearing those young people who soundly rejected him in every single primary election so far? I don’t know for sure. I can’t help but think, “bait and switch”.

If the goal of the centrist Democrats is to prop Joe as the nominee, I wonder what they must be thinking. Bernie Sanders says that Joe has received contributions from 60 billionaires and Joe and/or his SuperPACs have accepted their money. So what is left?

By accepting that money, Joe presents a tacit acceptance that billionaires exist because this is how the markets are supposed to work. I’ve seen that game, it’s a form of Loser Liberalism, a game that Trump and his conservative pals love to play. In this game, conservatives paint the liberals as government interventionistas, while conservatives extoll the virtues of the free market. Conservatives love government intervention in the market, but only so long as it distributes income upwards. This is game that conservatives have won consistently for the last 40 years, and Biden has been right there, helping them win.

Casual observers have seen of late, that Trump is swinging left and casting all principle to the curb, especially that populist part about bailouts to the largest corporations. He’s promoting enormous market interventions by the government, and Republicans (and centrist Democrats) are going along.

Joe played a big part in that Loser Liberalism game for 50 years. Joe was a huge influence and he helped to shape the rules, the public policy choices that led to the creation of billionaires and banks that are too big to fail. Joe’s inputs have led to monopolies and those monopolies have led to monopsony, leading in turn to wage stagnation. Joe sat idly by as Obama selected nominees to cabinet positions in Obama’s first term from a list provided to Obama by Citigroup, while everyone was talking about bailouts.

And surprise, surprise! According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as of September 30th, 2019, Chase and Citigroup have $2.9T worth of exposure to unregulated credit default swaps! Credit-default swaps…Sounds familiar? Credit default swaps played a central role in the 2008 banking crisis. So you can bet the banks are sweating as they watch the economy tank, but only as long as Sanders is still in the race. If Biden is nominated, hallelujah! Then it won’t matter who wins the election, the banks win again in November!

I hear a growing chorus of people asking Bernie to drop out. Yet those same people, pleading with Bernie to drop out, remain ignorant of an overwhelming majority of young people, pleading for their lives. Those young people are drowning in student and medical debts, with very little purchasing power, poor employment prospects and they face the very real prospect that their standard of living will be lower than their Boomer or GenX parents.

To have Bernie drop out now, without giving those young people their day in court, is one very good way to lose the election to Trump. “You don’t want Medicare for All, even in the face of the pandemic. Is that right, Joe?” Those young people have heard you loud and clear. What do they hear? “You really don’t give a flyin’ eff for us, do you, Joe?” Joe says, “Make America 2015 again!”

Sure, Joe gave us some minor concessions about free college and some debt writedowns. But his billionaire friends will whisper in his hear, “Speed it up, Joe.” They will decide what planks of Joe’s platform actually make it to the president’s desk if Joe is elected. Those young people know that much about Joe. The oddsmakers at Five Thirty Eight say that the odds are very good that Sanders and his supporters will get nothing from Joe Biden and his cabal, even if Sanders drops out and endorses Biden.

But Millennials also know that Bernie will engage in a relentless fight for Medicare For All even if he’s not elected. They know he will fight for the Green New Deal, something that Joe says is pie in the sky. The voters under 45, voted overwhelmingly in favor of Bernie Sanders. They are the future of the Democratic Party if the party welcomes them with a platform that speaks to them. But if those Millennials and GenZ’ers had heard the party speaking to THEM, then Bernie would have dropped out. He hasn’t.

In my discussions with people on Twitter and a few relatives, I heard them tell me that in 2016, a vote for Trump was a middle finger to the elite, and a good chunk of them had voted for Sanders in the primaries that year. They wanted Trump to break the elite. But many people who voted for Trump failed to see that Trump is a product of the status quo. And no matter how much Trump acts like he wants to break the system, he will always feel he owes the elites something, and so he will always stop short of destroying them.

As tokens to his supporters, Trump may incur superficial damage to the structures that now distribute income upward to the elite, but something in the back of Trump’s mind, that history behind him, will be a warning not to destroy them. Joe Biden has that same liability. Both of them have received money from the elite in one way or another, and they are beholden to the status quo. They are both two sides of the same coin owned by the top 1%.

Bernie Sanders didn’t take money from any billionaires. He has not entertained any millionaires at a fundraiser for $12000 a plate. He doesn’t believe in taking that money because, in some way, he understands the gift economy. He understands that if he takes the big money, he will have an obligation to the top 1% that he must observe. Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer both know how this works, for they are billionaires and they know how to buy an office, a legislator or a law. That’s one reason why their campaigns failed to excite the young people.

Joe Biden can easily be seen as a proxy. There is no reason to believe his promises when he has taken money from the wealthy. Bernie Sanders has won many elections by pointing out the connection between his opponents and their wealthy donors. He has highlighted that association as the very weakness in his opponent voters should be paying attention to. Bernie also ran against a billionaire and won to keep his seat in the Senate. Joe Biden has no such experience.

I also worry that Joe Biden lacks the stamina to stay in the game until the end. I’ve seen a video of him freezing up on camera, only to be rescued by his wife, Jill. That, my friends, is not evidence of a stutter. That is Joe Biden staring blankly into space, or the camera, or into a montage of a distant memory. We can’t know for sure, but he’s not all there.

And then there is the #whereisjoe hashtag trending everywhere. Joe hasn’t appeared in public since last Tuesday, and conservative and progressive media are both picking this up.

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is doing something every night. Every night he’s got some online event running, properly isolating for safety, talking about pubic policy responses to the coronavirus and raising money for his campaign. He knows the candidate we see is the one we remember. And lately, he’s been raising money to the tune of $2 million for our healthcare workers on the front lines so that they have some protection from the coronavirus. I don’t see Trump or Biden doing that.

If I were a Millenial or a GenZ and I had to pick a leader, right here, right now, I’d pick Bernie Sanders. The choice is not even close.

Write on.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store