To take, for a moment, a slightly more optimistic view, here is the best case for Biden: His presidency so far has meant a restoration of standards, a return to governmental function and the restoration of long-term international alliances. He presided over a sluggish economy that turned roughly in his favor. He was decent.
But really, hasn’t the bar for all of these things been abysmally low during the Trump administration (if we can even use that word because of its relentless mismanagement)? We continue to have a deeply divided Congress and electorate, a good portion of which is still maniacally in Trump’s corner. an american trust in institutions continue to erode, not helped by Biden’s muttering about the most recent term of the Supreme Court, “This is not a normal court.” The 2020 protests led to few meaningfully changed policies favoring the poor or disenfranchised.
A Biden-Trump rematch feels like a concession, as if we couldn’t do better or had given up trying. It wasn’t like there was a huge passion for Biden the first time around. The 2020 election should be much more than a blowout victory for Democrats. However, compared to his election in 2016, Trump in 2020 made an entry with nearly every major demographic group, including blacks, Latinos, and women, except whites. The sentiment that most Democrats seemed to gather in Biden’s favor while he was running was that he was inoffensive. The invigorating feeling after he scraped into an office was a relief.
This time, we don’t even have the luxury of emergency relief. In the two other branches of government, Democrats were shown the dangers of keeping people in positions of power for too long – Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the judiciary and Dianne Feinstein in the legislature. Democrats and the media seem to be becoming more vocal in pointing out the dangers of Biden’s advancement. In an April poll, of the 70 percent of Americans who said Biden should not run again, 69 percent said it was because of his old age.
That old age is showing. Never an incendiary speaker or a brilliant wit, Biden seems to have it all thrown into the orator’s cloth. A few weeks ago, he appeared to actually wander off set at MSNBC after figuratively wandering 20 minutes of host Nicolle Wallace’s soft-spoken questions. In another a recent interview, with Fareed Zakaria, when asked specific questions about US-China policy, Biden waded into a jumble of vague bromides and personal anecdotes about his travels as vice president with China’s leader, Xi Jinping. When asked outright if it was time for him to step aside, Biden said, almost tangentially, “I just want to get the job done.”