Joe Biden runs as the Democratic nominee for president more as figurehead than leader.
Biden won primaries as a mainstream alternative to far-left rivals.
After clinching the nomination, Biden tacked hard left. In July, he signed off on 110 pages of “Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations," crafted with advisers to socialist Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and far-left lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
In August, rather than choose a “mainstream Democrat” like Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar as a running mate, Biden practiced “identity politics” and picked California Sen. Kamala Harris. With 14 years in the Senate, Klobuchar is fully qualified to be Biden’s VP. Harris is far less experienced, and a radical choice.
According to Voteview, Harris has a voting record more liberal than Sanders and the most liberal voting record in the Senate aside from Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
During her brief mistake-prone presidential campaign that ended last December before the first vote was cast, Harris signed onto some of the most extreme policies of the left.
Harris co-sponsored the wildly expensive and unachievable Green New Deal. She co-sponsored Sanders’ “Medicare For All” scheme to socialize America’s health-care system, including coverage for illegal aliens. She called for the end of private health insurance.
By executive order, Harris proposed banning and seizing all “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines.”
Biden keeps the “defund the police” movement at arm’s length, while calling for “reimagining” policing. Harris goes further, embracing aspects of “defund the police,” including endorsing a $150 million police budget cut in Los Angeles.
In September, Harris referred publicly to what she called the “Harris administration.” In a speech the next day, Biden himself referred to a “Harris-Biden administration.”
Not in our lifetimes has a nominee’s running mate been so consequential. Biden turns 78 next month, is in clear decline, and runs to be a placeholder president.
Harris offers no comfort to the big question confronting a Biden presidency — is he too weak to control the most radical elements in the Democratic Party?
With voting already underway, President Trump is currently losing the presidential race — badly.
Four recent national polls have Trump trailing Joe Biden by a 13% average. The former vice president’s numbers in battleground states are not far behind.
Now for caveats.
State polls underestimated Trump’s support in 2016 — they may be even more wrong in 2020. Not everyone who responds to a poll actually votes. The Trump campaign has much more enthusiastic volunteers who can increase turnout. With another presidential debate scheduled, there’s still time for the narrative to change.
Trump might still win.
Trump is contending with a pandemic, historic levels of resulting unemployment and racially-charged civil unrest.
Trump administration successes are many, including a pre-COVID-19 booming economy. Corporate and individual tax cuts resulted in record low unemployment and strong wage gains.
His deregulators liberated the energy sector and reined in the administrative state. Our underfunded military was re-vitalized. He appointed over 200 judges and nominated three “well qualified” justices to the Supreme Court.
But Trump has demonstrated flawed character. He is needlessly polarizing, thrives on petty feuds and trashes aides who served him well as they go out the door. He doesn’t care if what he says is true — he’s too often untruthful.
Trump’s narcissism is his own worst enemy, which the public has seen to its worst effect in the pandemic. He has understated reality, brawled off topic with the press and modeled reckless behavior. In the dreadful first presidential debate, Trump was a belligerent bully.
With chaos continuing, there’s “Trump fatigue.” Voters may yearn to elect Biden, the “normal” mainstream Democrat of a decade ago. Instead, what they will likely get now is radical Harris — pressing a far left agenda to end the legislative filibuster, “pack” the Supreme Court — and much more.
Jim Hartman is an attorney residing in Genoa. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.