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

 

Democrats literally have no choice but accept that Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Whitmer met with Biden days before VP announcement: report Maxine Waters says Biden 'can't go home without a Black woman being VP' 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 ClintonDemocratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Kanye West 'not denying' his campaign seeks to damage Biden 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 Devi HarrisDemocratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Whitmer met with Biden days before VP announcement: report Maxine Waters says Biden 'can't go home without a Black woman being VP' MORE, Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Whitmer met with Biden days before VP announcement: report The Hill's Campaign Report: US officials say Russia, China are looking to sow discord in election MORE, Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegCNN's Ana Navarro to host Biden roundtable on making 'Trump a one-term president' Former Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan dies How Republicans can embrace environmentalism and win MORE, Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Campaign Report: US officials say Russia, China are looking to sow discord in election Warren urges investment in child care workers amid pandemic Progressive candidate Bush talks about her upset primary win over Rep. Clay MORE and Michael BloombergMichael BloombergEverytown on the NRA lawsuit: 'Come November, we're going to make sure they're out of power, too' Hillicon Valley: Trump raises idea of delaying election, faces swift bipartisan pushback | Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google release earnings reports | Senators ask Justice Department to investigate TikTok, Zoom Meme group joins with Lincoln Project in new campaign against Trump 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 CuomoOvernight Health Care: Trump to take executive action after coronavirus talks collapse | Vaccine official says he'd resign if pressured politically Cuomo says New York schools can reopen in-person this fall Cuomo calls on wealthy to return to New York City: 'You got to come back!' 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 John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet 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.