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Democrats must stick with Biden (because they are stuck with him)

 

Democrats literally have no choice but accept that Joe BidenJoe BidenBaltimore police chief calls for more 'boots on the ground' to handle crime wave Biden to deliver remarks at Sen. John Warner's funeral Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump MORE is their nominee. Twice rejected, once passed over and multiple times overlooked, Democrats can no longer escape their fate. They must finally resign themselves to running with Biden and renounce running from him.  

Despite Biden’s decades-long desire for the Democratic presidential nomination, Democrats have never wanted him. Biden first ran in 1988; he ran again in 2008. He fared well neither time.  

In 2016, after eight years as Obama’s vice president, Obama gave the nod to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Some Democrats worry rising crime will cost them The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats await Manchin decision on voting rights bill Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda MORE, his short-term Secretary of State. Four years later and 12 years after his last run, Biden tried again, hoping his third time would prove the charm.  

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Yet, absence did not make Democrats’ hearts grow significantly fonder — instead they were inclined to wander. The most fickle of voters, Democrats found a new heartthrob around every conceivable corner. Democrats’ hearts seemed to race for every person in the race except Joe. There were crushes on Beto O’Rourke, Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisA call to action for strategic space competition with China Old-guard Democrats must end the filibuster and symbolic progress Biden job approval at 43 percent in Iowa: poll MORE, Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate to vote on elections bill Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda Progressives fear nightmare scenario over voting rights assault MORE, Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegHigh-speed rail getting last minute push in Congress Buttigieg: Bipartisan deal on infrastructure 'strongly preferred' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican | Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack | Texas gov signs bills to improve power grid after winter storm MORE, Bernie SandersBernie SandersSchumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster Schumer, Pelosi meeting with White House on infrastructure Feehery: 8 reasons why Biden should take the bipartisan infrastructure deal MORE and Michael BloombergMichael BloombergBiden's domestic and global challenges on COVID vaccinations Press: Even Jeff Bezos should pay income taxes What the Democrats should be doing to reach true bipartisanship MORE, but never Biden.  

With others around, Biden had at most a plurality, but never popularity. 

In early voting, he was all but gone. It took others dropping out and throwing support to him; Biden never seized the support on his own. Like the political version of a coronavirus grocery trip, the Democrat contest started with a long list, but wound up with a purchase of the one thing still on the shelf.  

Even with the contest effectively over, Biden was not the hot candidate; New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoFoo Fighters, Dave Chapelle cover 'Creep' at first MSG show since pandemic Katie Hill says 'it would take a lot' to convince her to run again for House New York City moving thousands of people from hotels back to shelters MORE was. The preposterous palpitations over Cuomo — someone with no delegates, no money and only two months and just over twenty states still to vote — underlined the lack of enthusiasm for Biden. For all the obvious reasons it could not be Cuomo, there were the ignored ones that it should not be Biden.  

Sanders’s departure now leaves no doubt that it will be Biden, and the only doubt is whether Democrats really truly want him. If past — distant, recent and in-between — is truly prologue, the answer is “no.”

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Democrats’ now denuded field ensures Biden’s no-contact tactics remain intact. Biden began social distancing for his political health long ago. His clear desire to avoid the public, opponents and the press will now go unchallenged.  

This tactic is the centerpiece of Biden’s “not Trump” strategy. His campaign is based on not what Biden is, but what he is not: President TrumpDonald TrumpGuardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa wins GOP primary in NYC mayor's race Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump Schumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster MORE. In it, Biden has tried to appear left to the political left; establishment to the Party’s establishment; and, because he was late to the leftward lean, moderate to moderates.  

By being everything, Biden is not anything. However, that is ok, so long as he is not Trump. That is his campaign’s tactic, strategy and reason for existence: Win by keeping Biden viable and capitalizing on what they believe to be sufficient dissatisfaction with the president.  

The now empty field allows Biden to test that thesis undisturbed. Democrats should be thrilled that Biden got his best-case scenario. Yet, they are not.  

Instead they are already looking for someone to join the ticket and supply the attraction that Biden lacks. Expect Cuomo’s name to surface again, even though him being chosen is as improbable as him being nominated was. Biden has already pandered away that pick to a woman — a promise he made in his last debate.  

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Of course, nowhere are promises more made to be broken than in politics. However, there is a guarantee this one will not and it goes to the heart of the issue. Biden will not pick someone who so clearly would upstage him. There is a reason why Democrats have been so enthralled with Cuomo during the coronavirus crisis: he has been everything Biden has not — starting with being present.   

The Democrats' race is over and their choices gone with it. It is therefore time for Democrats to accept they must now stick with Biden, because they are stuck with him. All the VP possibilities in the Party cannot change that.  

J.T. Young served under President George W. Bush as the director of communications in the Office of Management and Budget and as deputy assistant secretary in legislative affairs for tax and budget at the Treasury Department. He served as a congressional staffer from 1987 through 2000.