As expected, Joe Biden—former Veep and two time failed presidential candidate—has officially thrown his hat back into the ring. According to most, he's already the frontrunner despite the fact that, unlike candidates Elizabeth Warren and to a lesser degree Bernie Sanders, Biden hasn't proposed any substantial policies or reasons he should be elected other than he was tight with Barack Obama and we need to get rid of Trump.
Sure, it's still very early and a lot can happen between now and the Democratic Convention—hell, a lot could happen between now and next Tuesday. But the suspiciously excessive interest that Democrats currently have in white dude candidates should be worrying to everyone in the party.
Check out this chart put together by FiveThirtyEight that combines figures from two recent polls (Quinnipiac and Granite State) that gives us a peek at who your average Democrat thinks will be most electable in 2020. It's important to note that the people who are considered to be "most electable" (or, most likely to defeat Trump) aren't necessarily these voters' first choice. From FiveThirtyEight:
As you can see, most of the voters who participated in this poll really favor white guys, with the only person of color/woman piquing any of their interest is Kamala Harris. At the same time, their faith in her ability to beat Trump isn't exactly inspiring.
So what's behind this sudden uptick in love for white dudes when it wasn't all that long ago (the 2018 midterms, in fact) that Democrats were pushing for and celebrating women and people of color being elected to Congress? There's been a sea-change, and part of it is due to the Mueller Report and the slow disintegration of faith in our Democratic leaders.
Even though we were constantly warned since the early days of Trump's presidency that we have to watch out for his abhorrent behavior being normalized, that's exactly what's happened. Remember when we were calling our congresspeople daily, demanding they push back against Trump's racist policies (such as his Muslim travel ban)? That practice has all but stopped since the midterms—unless everyone has been calling their Democratic leaders to force them to begin impeachment hearings, and I haven't heard about it?
Since the big Mueller Report reveal, the reaction from both political parties has been infuriatingly predictable: The GOP continues to lie and ignore the report, while the Dems reliably tip-toe along with slow, deliberate caution as Trump continues to violate every presidential norm and commit what could be lasting harm.
What's all this got to do with the above chart? That chart is an interesting snapshot of where our heads currently are as Democrats. In the face of Trump seemingly "getting away with it," with only lackluster pushback from a Democrat-controlled Congress, and our own feelings of impotency/unwillingness to get involved, many of us are willing to take the easiest, most familiar route possible to getting Trump removed from office: relying on a white guy to save us.
A lot of seemingly "level-headed" people are temporarily placing their moral compasses aside, warning that our dreams of having a clearly qualified woman (Hi, Elizabeth) or person of color (Hi, Kamala) going head-to-head against the president will only push undecided voters into Trump's camp—thereby playing into the same racist, misogynist views we're fighting against.
Again, it's very early. But now is not the time to throw in the towel, along with the beliefs we held so strongly in the midterms. Sure, Biden could beat Trump—and if you're only looking for someone to reliably clean up the garbage he left behind, then Biden wouldn't be the worst choice you could make. However, it's our job as Democrats and Americans to keep pushing this country forward, not fall back on old ways just because it may currently feel politically safe and expedient. Republicans are seemingly incapable of self-examination, which is why it's especially important for Democrats to ask ourselves the hard questions, such as: Why are we picking a less-substantive white dude? And more importantly, what does that say about us?