Why Biden Can’t Compete

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Michael Stokes

As former Vice President Joe Biden’s numbers tank in the polls, many are starting to wonder what happened. Biden was an obvious front-runner at the beginning of the election, but now has been relegated to a small obstacle in the way of other candidates.
For a former vice president to perform so poorly in a primary election is unexpected. They often have the guaranteed spot as their party’s candidate. In recent history, former Vice Presidents George H.W. Bush and Al Gore both won the primary elections of their respective parties with essentially no contest.
While Bush and Gore won their respective primaries easily, it is important to note that they had only just finished serving as Vice Presidents. They rode off of the successes of their presidents. Former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both oversaw a prosperous nation nearing the end of their terms. This excitement certainly fueled voters’ enthusiasm for their second-in-commands.
President Barack Obama has been out of the office for nearly four years and the successes of his administration are not at the forefront of many voters’ minds. Today, in the eyes of Democrats, the focus lies on removing President Donald Trump and reversing many of his policies. The most effective way to do this would be to elect a galvanizing candidate: one voters would be eager to support.
Biden, no matter how hard he tries, cannot capture the votes of people who want a new wave of thought in the Democratic Party. Biden is more representative of the establishment Democrats who used to invigorate the base.
Unfortunately for Biden, the model of promising a continuation of Obama’s presidency has been tried before and is unlikely to succeed. Former Secretary of State and 2016 presidential-hopeful Hillary Clinton, who served in Obama’s cabinet, operated under the model of stability and advocated for the further development of Obama’s accomplishments. With Obama long gone, however, Biden can’t promise stability because stability means keeping Trump era reforms. If Clinton could not prove herself to be a revolutionary candidate, Biden certainly can’t either.
Additionally, his campaign is predicated on his ability to beat Trump. However, his capability came into question when he utterly failed to win in Iowa and New Hampshire. In fact, he did not even place within the top three candidates. The argument for electability in Biden’s case is a losing one.
This doesn’t mean the Democratic Party is done with moderates, however. Although more radical candidates such as Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are proving to be legitimate contenders against Trump, moderate candidates like South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg have by no means been silenced. Buttigieg represents a new trend in politics as a whole, being young and an outside from Washington. Much like John Kennedy, Buttigieg has a kind of charisma that Joe Biden has never had and will never have.