Many of us cheered a Joe Biden entry for two purposes: healthy competition for Hillary, and if not quite good enough to topple her in the early primaries, the presence of a senior-statesman alternative should she wobble owing to prior (and perhaps future?) scandal. Nobody, to this point, rises to the level of the opposition that Biden might have offered, certainly not the regional candidate, Bernie Sanders, who conveniently calls himself a Democrat during this cycle, whose oratory probably won’t broaden the tent. Of course, we can’t blame Bernie for Bernie’s insufficiency, and in all likelihood, he probably never intended his protest candidacy to challenge Clinton as a number two hit on the national charts. No, we might blame the Democrat Machine—pronouns in use: one, she, neither, hers, few—for the odd environment that has produced a shallow pool of hapless alternatives, many of whom demonstrate little or no history as actual Democrats. (I speak of Sanders, Chafee, and Webb.) Before any of the faithful gets snotty with me, Hey, I have voted five times for Clintons, plural, and will again, except I envision the future with trepidation. While the Democrats bank on a career politician, the Grand Old Party of No—pronouns in use: several, his, whomever, he, nothing—appears capable of nominating a renegade anti-politician, with dynastic careerists like the flabby Jeb Bush twisting on a squeaky spit. Hillary projects much relish in debating a candidate like Donald Trump, but if the Democrats intend to counter a rock-star insurgent with a dynastic careerist of their own, one wonders if Biden—potentially more likeable and plenty experienced as a sitting Vice President—wouldn’t make better sense. In the end, Biden has decided to holler from the sidelines, rather than submit to the grind, which might have hacked his fundamental good nature to pieces. Democrats advance toward the primary season with a semi-controversial, lukewarm, somewhat wounded, but widely known candidate, whose own tent-broadening capability remains uncertain. A little more than a year away, the general election might feature a contest between two polarizing forces: a trash-talking (“you’re fired!”) real estate tycoon and a carefully-scripted second-timer, who’ll try to channel the best moments from her tenures as First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State. The Republicans know who they’ll face. They can change their minds yet, and the competition will intensify, especially as the establishment scrutinizes the saggy numbers for many of its darlings. We Democrats on the other hand only have one set of keys, and if we lose them, there won’t be any neighbor on whose door we can knock, just the gaseous wind of a rancid Republican winter: one that denies climate change, to boot.
complaint week 2015 editorial schedule
October 26: The Democrat Machine
October 27: Artists and Writers Who Say “My Work”
October 28: GWU Fires Adjunct Creative Writing Faculty