Can Biden Overcome Being an Old White Guy?

Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign launch last week was an attempt to run to the front of the white privilege caravan. He must succeed at this, or it will run him over—and he knows it. The Democrats have hitched their wagon to grievance groups and lost control. A brave man with true leadership qualities would denounce his party’s obsession with skin color and call for a return to colorblind fairness to all. Biden is not that man.

“White privilege” is an encouragement and a fig-leaf for attacking, demeaning, and discriminating against white people. It is as morally disgusting as racism against blacks or any group. It is also sacrosanct among Democrats. Every single white Democrat presidential candidate has already groveled at this satanic altar of anti-white bigotry.

Biden understands his fellow Democrats well enough to know he has to make white racism the center of his primary campaign.

Biden sees the odds are against him winning the primary of a party hooked on identity politics. All the younger, hotter candidates have weak or nonexistent qualifications and crazy platforms, but they get to check off a key identity box: gay, female, black, or even, black and female. Biden has nothing but liabilities in this competition. Not only is he white, he’s a groper, and he’s old.

White privilege and patriarchy disqualifies Biden from running among huge voting blocks of Democrats. Biden’s tactic to avoid being destroyed by the anti-white, anti-male, and anti-heterosexual sentiment in the party is to join it. Call Charlottesville the defining moment of your decision to run, the defining moment of American identity, and position yourself as the hero fighting the white racists.

Joe Biden’s choice of the Charlottesville hoax on which to center his campaign message is a sign of desperation. It tells us Biden thinks he is in trouble in the primary for being a white man. He’s right. So his campaign launch was entirely about race-baiting and hating Trump. This well-worn Democrat path failed Hillary Clinton in 2016 and it will fail Biden today. But it’s the only path open to him. So he’s going all out, to the point of absurdity.

Not only is Biden playing the race card, he’s playing it more brazenly than President Obama ever did. Biden claims that Trump (and by implication all Republicans) are a “threat to this nation unlike any I’d seen in my lifetime.” Biden tells voters he is called to run for president, in order to fight the very face of evil, “crazed faces . . . veins bulging and baring the fangs of racism, chanting the same anti-Semitic bile heard in the 1930s.”

Biden calls Charlottesville the defining moment in his decision to run, and a defining moment for America—a moment that “stunned the world” and launched a “battle for the soul of this nation.” The unstated message is, don’t hate all of us as racists, just Trump and everyone who votes Republican. Sadly for Biden’s strategy, that subtext gets a little lost. White America Bad comes through loud and clear.

Democrats said in public they loved Biden’s Charlottesville focus. Biden was praised for coming out swinging against Trump. But the message that America is a white supremacist nation in 2019 was not aimed against Trump, and doesn’t hurt him. It’s actually so offensive to fair-minded people that it helps Trump with his base and with many independents. The focus on race was aimed to overcome Biden’s liabilities with his primary voters.

Besides, what else does Biden have? Biden’s record leaves him little to boast about, as he has few achievements to show for it. He can’t run on the Obama-Biden performance on the economy, foreign affairs or even bringing down the cost of health care, as they failed on all fronts. Trump’s successes on jobs and foreign affairs dominate.

Biden’s boasting rights that he’s the most experienced candidate among the Democrats can only take him so far. Millennials don’t seem to care about job qualifications, or they wouldn’t consider Pete Buttigieg’s work as mayor of South Bend, Indiana a stepping stone to the White House. These are youngsters raised on participation prizes and affirmative action. They’ve been taught that qualifications are racist, privileged, mean, and unfair. Starting in kindergarten, they were raised on shame about being white, and anger against heterosexual males.

Biden’s strongest suit is that normal Democrats find him not scary and generally likable. Less so, perhaps, after all the groping videos. His creepiness comes through strongly, and the videos cannot be buried.

The trouble is, no Democrat wants nice in 2020. Hence Biden’s decision to launch the campaign swinging at President Trump. Ha! Good luck with that one, Biden. You are not in the same fighting league as the president. When President Trump decimates opponents with a label, like Pocahontas, it’s devastating because it’s true. Claiming President Trump praised the KKK is such a stupid, easily debunked slander, it just makes Biden look like a desperate, lying Democrat.

Biden has made crude race-baiting remarks before, as in his well-publicized attack on presidential candidate Mitt Romney, telling a black audience in a fake black accent, “they’re going to put y’all back in chains.” Still, what makes Biden more appealing to suburban and white working-class moderates is that he is an alternative to race-obsessed identity politics.

Painting President Trump as a supporter of neo-Nazis based on lies about Charlottesville throws that advantage away. It tells us that Biden sees his own skin color as his biggest challenge to winning the Democratic Party’s nomination.

Biden is in a bind. He has to put white racism front and center, with himself as the hero fighting against it. It’s the only way to overcome his liability as an old white guy in the primary. It’s not likely to work with primary voters. And it will doom him in the general election.

Photo credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

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About Karin McQuillan

Karin McQuillan served in the Peace Corps in West Africa, was a clinical social worker and psychotherapist, and is now a writer and regular contributor to American Thinker and American Greatness.