Voters have long known that Joe Biden is too old

Voters have long known that Joe Biden is too old
Voters have long known that Joe Biden is too old

Anyone who travels through the USA and talks to Democrats quickly learns that even their own supporters no longer want Joe Biden. But the party establishment doesn’t want to hear anything about it. A fatal mistake.

Maybe the Democrats should have listened to their own supporters. They could have found out a year ago that Joe Biden would not be running again because of his advanced age. They would have heard from the Hispanics, who have been so loyal until now, that Trump’s hard line on immigration is well received. They would have heard from their most loyal supporters, African Americans, that Biden also has a huge problem with inflation. They would have heard from young people that an 81-year-old old man is not going to get first-time voters to the polls.

And if the party isn’t listening, it should have taken polls seriously: 73 percent of its own supporters already thought Biden’s old age was a problem in February. Not even 25 percent of all Americans think that the country is on the right track under the president.

But the party leaders have blocked any discussion of Biden’s candidacy from the start, as only autocrats do. They have belittled critics – by pointing out that only Biden can beat Trump and that nothing less than American democracy is at stake. They have even spoken of ageism, as if age and vitality should not be a criterion in the election of the most powerful person in the world.

That is the real tragedy, not just for America: the man who wants to avert the Trump catastrophe is the one who is actually bringing it about. The man who found the strength to overcome many personal tragedies no longer has the strength to avert the tragedy for America and the world: the election of Donald J. Trump.

The call for Joe Biden’s withdrawal comes very late

Those who are calling for Biden’s resignation these days – very belatedly – are doing so primarily out of concern about the consequences of a Trump election for this already unstable world. That is an absolutely legitimate reason. Security experts, foreign governments and the media are particularly concerned about this. They are looking at the situation from above. However, if you talk to voters at the grassroots level, there are many other good reasons for Biden’s resignation that have long been ignored: the president was simply not good enough.

Biden’s achievements are being emphasized almost like a mantra these days: climate policy, full employment, economic growth. But they are not getting through to the people who are suffering above all from high prices and rents. And there is something very contemptuous about the accusation that these people are just victims of Republican doomsday propaganda. It only contributes further to the alienation between the elites on the coasts and the rest of the country.

In the past few months I have often and for long periods been working for the star I traveled around the country, especially through the all-important swing states, and spoke to many people. With African-Americans in Detroit and Philadelphia, with Hispanics in Texas and Arizona, with first-time voters in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. There is, of course, a certain arbitrariness in using individual opinions as the basis for analyses. But the votes against Biden added up, especially on the most important issues of this election, inflation and migration. There was hardly a defender of his candidacy, not even among Democrats. Hardly anyone who said: “I’m better off than I was four years ago.”

Biden’s last defenders: Obama, Clinton, Pelosi

And almost everyone agreed: Biden is too old. A Democratic leader in South Texas put it this way: “It hurts to see him like this, so weak and clumsy. You don’t have to see the video clips put together by Republicans to understand how much he has deteriorated.”

For many Democrats at the grassroots level, this is particularly painful and disrespectful: “How can the party leadership claim that Biden is fit when the opposite is obvious to everyone?” asks the chairwoman. “Do they think we’re stupid?”

Trump was right to constantly point out Biden’s senility, even if he did so in the discriminatory, ugly way that is so typical of him. He can lie like a proverbial dog, but the truth is that Americans now trust him far more than Biden on almost every important issue.

Biden still has his defenders. They are called Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, or they call themselves party strategists. They know from their own experience that presidents today have a team of good advisers and experts and only have to give the general direction and occasionally read an important speech from the teleprompter. They also know that changing the candidate so close to the election could plunge the party into chaos and that there is no successor in sight. Swallow it, they tell the supporters. Biden is the candidate. That is the reality.

What should Putin think when he meets the old man?

There is something very paternalistic about the attitude. “Americans want a vital president. We don’t want one who is controlled by advisors and has to be constantly led by Jill,” said a Democratic activist in Philadelphia. “We needed a vital man in the TV debate who would put Trump in his place with his constant lying. What will Putin think when the old man Biden sits across from him?”

The phrase “Biden is a good man” is often heard now – by party leaders and voters alike. That may be so, and is even more obvious in light of his nasty opponent. But a good man is not always a good president.

A good president would have recognized in time where many people’s concerns lie. Above all, he would have recognized that he himself no longer has the strength for a second term – and initiated the transition in time. He would have looked for a vice president who could have succeeded him. This is also a painful realization: there is no enthusiasm for Kamala Harris, not even among black people. And yet what is needed now is a vice president who stands a chance against Trump.

The Democrats are now faced with an almost impossible task. If they stick with Biden, they will probably go down together. If they switch to another candidate, one might ask how he is supposed to have a chance when supposedly only Biden had a chance against Trump. The desperate clinging to Biden signaled to everyone: There is no alternative. There are certainly talented governors with many years of experience in the executive branch.

However, none of the possible candidates are high-flyers (except Michelle Obama). None is well-known beyond their own state (except Michelle Obama). None could be agreed upon by everyone (except Michelle Obama). None would be popular with the Democratic base everywhere (except Michelle Obama).

But Michelle Obama is not available.

Source: Stern

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