He’s really going for it, folks. Joe Biden is actually running for president on the idea that things are not that bad, that Trump is not a representative of something deeply wrong with America but just a blip that can be swept under the rug.
Per Politico, Biden’s latest riff on this theme came last night at a fundraiser:
HOW MANY DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY VOTERS AGREE WITH THIS … JOE BIDEN LAST NIGHT AT A FUNDRAISER IN HOUSTON, per Jeremy Wallace of the Houston Chronicle: “America’s less divided today on issues than when I got to the Senate as a 29-year-old kid. Then we were divided on everything from war, to the women’s movement, to civil rights, across the board. But our politics is broken.
“I’m not going to get down in the mud wrestling with this fella. I’m not going to do it. I don’t want to get into it. Everybody already knows who he is.”
It is true that everyone already knows who the president is. But I do not know that it’s true that you can run against the slimy mud man without getting yourself a little dirty. You can’t just point at the pig in the mud and say “look how frightful this pig is,” because the pig doesn’t care and he’s still having fun in all that wet, wet mud.
I also don’t know that it’s true that America is “less divided today on the issues” than in the early ‘70s. We are still divided on war, women’s rights (hi, Missouri and Alabama), civil rights, and uh, everything else.
But “division” isn’t a good measure of our politics, either. Whether or not Americans disagree with each other matters less than who is forcing that division, and who benefits from it. “Division” is value-neutral; it implies that the disagreements themselves are the problem, and that the fact that people on the left disagree with people on the right is just as bad as whatever mad shit people on the right believe. Similarly, if our politics had little division, but was dominated by a bland, centrist agreement that deficits matter more than healthcare and that the war machine must always be fueled with hundreds of billions of dollars, that would also suck.
Division isn’t the main problem; top-down class warfare is. But that’s not a good message at a $1,000-a-ticket fundraiser, is it?