Jacobin writer Branko Marcetic joined Shadowproof managing editor Kevin Gosztola to analyze the outcome of the 2020 election for Joe Biden and the Democratic Party.
While this conversation took place a little after 2 pm ET on November 4, it was evident Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden had a slim path toward eking out 270 electoral votes. He was likely to win by a razor-thin margin, despite polls and a media narrative that suggested he would handily defeat President Donald Trump.
Results showed Biden’s messaging and errors his campaign made likely had a negative impact on down ballot Democratic candidates in House and Senate races. From the Democratic National Convention to Election Day, the Biden campaign often kept the progressive left at a distance believing it may tarnish Biden’s chances.
Marcetic, who is the author of Yesterday’s Man: The Case Against Joe Biden, declared, “I can’t really say that I’m totally surprised at this result because what Biden did, and what Democrats did, was basically run the exact same campaign as 2016, a campaign that rested on pure anti-Trumpism that had a very minimal vision and platform.”
Biden offered a “minimal social democratic platform to really explain to people how they were going to make their lives better.” He ceded the message on the economy to Trump, which may have cost him voters since Trump won people who saw the economy as the biggest issue.
“As in 2016, they again tried to go for ex-Republicans, wealthy, better-educated suburbanites, white people,” Marcetic added. Biden was able to make gains among white voters in the suburbs, especially older people over 65. But he “handed over a huge chunk of what used to be the Obama coalition” to Trump, which is amazing since “Trump is the most openly racist president of the United States”—certainly since President Ronald Reagan and possibly President Richard Nixon.
When it came to Latinos, Biden did not receive the kind of support he needed in Miami-Dade County to win Florida. He also lost chunks of voters in Texas counties that are over 90 percent Latino. According to Marcetic, that “really sunk him.”
To Marcetic, they lacked a “strong economic message” that could counter Trump, and they dropped the ball on tying him to the coronavirus pandemic. There also clearly was a lack of organization on the part of Democrats when it came to mobilizing voters.
“It was an open secret that the Democratic upper echelon had little faith in Biden, and they were proven right. And yet they still preferred risking this than running an actual populist candidate on a social democratic platform. The greed and callousness of these people,” Marcetic wrote on Twitter.
Marcetic recalled how Democrats were skeptical of Biden as a candidate after seeing his debate performances and “lethargic campaign schedule during the primary.” Former President Barack Obama even was quoted as saying, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up.”
But when stopping Senator Bernie Sanders from becoming the nominee became the top priority, Marcetic points out Obama helped organize a coalition. Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar dropped out because Biden was the “only centrist corporate-backed nominee left in the race” that could compete with Sanders. Plus, Biden, unlike Buttigieg and Klobuchar, could appeal to black voters.
“But at what price?” Marcetic asked.
There was “fear-mongering that Sanders was too extreme. He would bring down Democrats in down ballot races,” Marcetic recounted. “He would ultimately hurt the prospects of having a Democratic Senate and holding the House.”
“That is exactly what has happened with Biden now. His failure to turn out the vote and get Latinos voting for Democrats in [many] parts of the country seems to have contributed to losses in a whole bunch of races that were looking pretty promising for Democrats at one point.”
So what if Biden makes it to the White House. The result is stunning “when you look at the scope of devastation and incompetence from Trump.”
“We’re looking at 235,000 people dead from COVID-19, a completely absent policy from the federal government. We’re looking at economic devastation that hasn’t been seen for nearly 100 years on an epic scale. We’re looking at climate disaster on the west coast.”
“This should be like when Reagan thumped Carter back in1980 or Roosevelt thumped Hoover back in 1932,” Marcetic concluded.
America’s present crises are very much the fault of the incumbent, Donald Trump, and yet Democrats truly failed to harness them for political gain.