Davis: America wants a mensch for president 2020 – Joe Biden is a mensch

Davis: America wants a mensch for president 2020 – Joe Biden is a mensch
© Greg Nash

When Joe BidenJoe BidenObama, Clinton reflect on Mondale's legacy Biden, Harris commend Mondale in paving the way for female VP Mondale in last message to staff: 'Joe in the White House certainly helps' MORE becomes the Democratic presidential nominee tonight, remember some history. In 1920, the country was weary of war and massive sacrifice and the tens of thousands of deaths of American GIs in the trenches of World War I, with an incumbent Democratic president who was constantly battling with Congress. People were tired and fatigued with the chaos. As they are today.

Then came along a Republican U.S. senator from Ohio, who campaigned from the doorsteps of his small home in the small town of Marion, Ohio. Then he used a phrase that perfectly captured the mood of the nation: “It’s time,” Warren Harding said in 1920, for “return to normalcy” – a desire you also hear across our nation, even among President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at age 93 White House readies for Chauvin verdict MORE’s supporters. Harding won by a landslide – by 7 million votes, by 26 percent, with 404 electoral votes to 127 for the Democratic candidate.

In 1976, the country was weary of the chaos and scandal and national divisions created by Republican President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal. A bipartisan House impeachment committee found that the president had lied repeatedly to the American people, had abused his power, and had obstructed justice. Sound familiar?


Then came along an unknown governor from Georgia who spoke as a former peanut farmer and moderate. His campaign theme was a perfect summary of the reaction to the Nixon scandals – and it was exactly who he was, so when he said it all the time, people believed. “I won’t ever lie to you,” said Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterBiden, Harris commend Mondale in paving the way for female VP Mondale in last message to staff: 'Joe in the White House certainly helps' Jimmy Carter remembers Mondale as 'best vice president in our country's history' MORE. “I will always tell you the truth” – a phrase that would also resonate today after almost four years of Mr. Trump’s lies.

Jimmy Carter won – but by a narrow margin over another decent honorable man, Republican President Gerald Ford. Ford became president after Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974, in disgrace. After Ford took his oath of office that same day, he said during his statement after taking the oath – a phrase so apt today for millions of Americans, who want to believe the same after Nov. 3, 2020: “Our long national nightmare is over.”

The theme Joe Biden is emphasizing for his campaign in 2020 came to him naturally, because it summarized authentically exactly who he is and what is most appropriate to challenge Donald Trump’s divisive and bigoted presidency. Joe Biden is running his campaign for the “soul of the nation.”

And he picked as his partner in this battle the vice presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden, Harris commend Mondale in paving the way for female VP Overnight Energy: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change through finance | Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez introduce 'Green New Deal for Public Housing' | Harris: Americans able to 'breathe easier and sleep better' under Biden MORE (D-Calif.), who shared the same mission, a Black woman who is not only an experienced national leader, a former state attorney general and current U.S. senator – but a person whom I have known for many years and who I know with certainty is as capable as she is kind and decent. A perfect partner for Joe Biden as president in the campaign to recall the true soul of our nation.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will remind all Americans what the late and great Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsOvernight Health Care: AstraZeneca may have included outdated data on vaccine trial, officials say | Pelosi says drug pricing measure under discussion for infrastructure package | Biden administration extends special ObamaCare enrollment until August Pelosi: Drug pricing measure under discussion for infrastructure package Bottom line MORE (D-Md.) said after hearing Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenTrump Organization adds veteran criminal defense attorney Manhattan DA investigating Trump says he won't seek reelection John Dean: 'Only a matter of how many days' until Trump is indicted MORE bravely tell the truth about his former client’s “dirty deeds” and reflecting on Mr. Trump’s divisiveness, lies, and hateful leadership. “We are better than this.”


Joe Biden is a man who will tell us the truth. With 5.4 million COVID-19 cases and 170,000 dead, he will do the opposite of Donald Trump – he will tell us the facts and trust science and the experts to find our way out through national leadership – the opposite of Mr. Trump.

America wants someone best described by a Yiddish word my mother would often use. It’s hard to translate it. But when she saw someone give a donation to the homeless, leave food for stray animals, or help an elderly person cross the street to walk him or her home, she would point her finger and say: “That’s a real ‘mensch.’” You can catch her drift.

If she were alive today, she would see and hear Joe Biden, and I have no doubt, she would say, for the same reasons: “Now that’s a ‘mensch!’”

For this reason, among many, I believe Joe Biden will be our next president and Kamala Harris vice president – two “real mensches.”

Davis served as special counsel to President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonObama, Clinton reflect on Mondale's legacy Polls suggest House Democrats will buck midterm curse and add to their ranks Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones calls on Breyer to retire MORE (1996-98) and a member of President Bush’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. He is co-founder of the law firm of Davis Goldberg & Galper and the strategic media and crisis management firm Trident DMG. He authored “Crisis Tales: Five Rules for Coping with Crises in Business, Politics and Life” (Scribner Threshold 2013).