The generational divide of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party
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Former Vice President Joe Biden is the candidate to beat in the Democratic presidential primary. Biden has had a stronger than expected launch to his campaign, opening up a wide lead in several opinion polls.

Moreover, the former vice president has a lead in the Democratic presidential race according to the Des Moines Register/Mediacom/CNN poll of Iowa voters released on June 8. Furthermore, 76 percent of African American Democrats surveyed in a recent poll said they are enthusiastic about Biden with Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisMeghan McCain predicts DeSantis would put Harris 'in the ground' in 2024 matchup Honeymoon's over: Biden's record may have Americans demanding a divorce The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - CDC equates Delta to chickenpox in contagiousness MORE (Calif.) and Cory BookerCory BookerWomen urge tech giants to innovate on office return Human rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines MORE (N.J.), both black, polling at 53 percent and 43 percent, respectively.

Black voters represent a critical segment of the Democratic primary electorate in many states, but can Biden garner enough support outside of African American baby boomers to win? Honestly, I can’t believe we are betting our future on people who won’t live long enough to see it. The early months (at least) of the 2020 race are going to be dominated by three white men in their 70s arguing about how to make America great again: Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic On The Money: Biden, Pelosi struggle with end of eviction ban | Trump attorney says he will fight release of tax returns Lack of transatlantic cooperation on trade threatens global climate change goals MORE just turned 73, Biden is 76, and Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive things to watch in two Ohio special election primaries This week: Senate starts infrastructure sprint Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session MORE is 77.


Harris has branded herself as a prosecutor who fought from the inside for progressive change. Certainly, it is expected that any candidate for presidential office who has spent the balance of her career as a prosecutor inherently would face criticism. However, I have observed a significant level of enhanced negativity towards Harris. As such, given America’s race relations and gender equity problems, one cannot help to ask if the backlash against her is staked in race and/or gender, or upon her prosecutorial record.

Equally, why do Millennials and Generation X (GenXers), such as Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegSunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate Sunday shows preview: Delta concerns prompt CDC mask update; bipartisan infrastructure bill to face challenges in Senate Chasten Buttigieg: DC 'almost unaffordable' MORE of South Bend, Ind., and/or former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and perhaps others think that the presidency is an entry level or first move up political position? Alternatively, that leadership preparedness (a stronger condition than simple "qualification”) consists mainly in adopting and speechifying about the latest conceptions on policy and not on building, painstakingly real and deep working relationships through actually doing something. That the wisdom of experience in good times, hard times and bad times, of even making past mistakes, isn't part and parcel of building the kind of character and vision needed to lead 330 million people of a very heterogeneous nation?

Sure, my observation is not ideal and, in some ways the situation is yet a reverberation of the unique phenomenon of President Obama. However, we have to get past appearances and focus on broadly defined needs and preparedness to meet them. That may mean that the next president is a transitional figure for a nation that suddenly finds itself and its leadership cadre a bit directionless and fractured.

Properly chosen and informed, such a person would clear the space for return to better order in governance and true preparation of a new cohesive leadership group of younger boomers down to Generation X and Millennial cohorts. To reset to attitudes of common values and service and shared sacrifice. 2020 won't be the last election, or the last time that alternative looking candidates of quality come on scene. In fact, it should be looking up after 2020. First things first, by the most plausible and healing pathway, and then the long gaze into a more varied future. Get to the future. Reasonably intact. I'm not so narcissistic as to assume automatically that a seasoned moderate, even if aged 76, male and white, can't help tote the load for a bit even if they have a spotty legislative record with divisive stances relating to black people - an early opponent of busing programs aimed at school desegregation, and Biden played a role in crime reduction efforts of the late 1980s and early 1990s, which helped lead to the explosion of incarceration rates among black Americans.

However, one thing I am assured of - 2020 is not going to be a policy election. It's going to be a character and fundamental principles election to depth of purity unseen in many people’s lifetime, even more than 1964 Lyndon Johnson-Barry Goldwater election where the extremism was embodied in the challenger.


This is the death of the Reagan era. There is a rebirth resurging in the Democratic and/or progressive movement. Boomer infighting and tensions between boomers and their elders unfortunately led to the circumstances where preparation by boomers of their inevitable successors, most especially in honoring and nurturing some healthy bases of shared values, the passing of not just the knowledge of traditions, means, and institutions, but their embedded wisdom never happened like it should have.

2020 is something of a chance to right that.

Professor Quardricos Bernard Driskell, a federal lobbyist at a professional medical association and an adjunct professor of legislative politics at The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. Follow him on Twitter @q_driskell4