Sunday, March 8, 2020


America is linked to youth, start-ups and innovators. Strangely enough, the presidential contest opposes dinosaurs. Trump, Sanders and Biden could as well be cast in a Cocoon sequel, wherein nasty elderly fight it out to the finish. The two Democratic contenders are an irascible angry man and a gaffe-prone senior.  Sanders infuriates but he is able to weaponize his (often younger) base. Biden reassures but seldom inspires. He can nevertheless count on the massive support of black Americans. On the Republican side, Trump is Trump, with a talent for lies and venom, unparalleled in American politics.

The Democrats should at all cost avoid a repeat of the 2016 scenario when Mrs. Clinton had to fight both Trump and Sanders, who only reluctantly played along at the end. That she still won the popular vote is to her credit alone. Unfortunately democracy in the USA bypasses majority rule and gives the Electoral College a disproportionate role. Trump is mapping out a victory, based on this calculus.

Still, Biden can count on an impressive curriculum, not least as Obama's vice-president. He is a challenger to reckon with. The Democrats need to come together though. Sanders' character is not made for a gentleman's behavior. He could be a spoiler. He could also still arrive at the conclusion that the target is the president, not his rival. Elisabeth Warren has not said whom she may support. Her voice has weight.

If the Democrats were to come together behind a Biden nominee, the enthusiasm would be real. While the president's base is rock solid, the revulsion he provokes is growing. In a one-on-one battle, Biden would be wise not to take Trump's bait. Fake allegations will abound. Nothing will be off limits-- the Biden probe, Ukraine, past missteps, family, etc -. Everything will be done to unsettle Biden, who is known to be sentimental. The Republican Sturmtruppe will be merciless. The White House under the new chief-of-staff  Rep. Mark Meadows is  entering full Panzer mode, pursuing a Southern strategy not seen since Nixon.

Compared to the Republicans, the Democrats often look like lemmings. Their impeachment play was a total bummer. If neither party has great actors, the Republicans can nevertheless deliver when the president demands it. During the Trump trial, the Democrats often looked like bad actors, unprepared for the limelight. They were supposed to act in a Shakespeare-like tragedy but they didn't make it further than a sitcom. 

They should rise to the occasion now. The Senate minority whip and Nancy Pelosi must trade anger for confident combat. The impassive oracle talk of Senator McConnell is proof that a lack of emotion and the repetition of deceptions are often a better  strategy than the outpouring of grief and fury. Biden had better beware of the Republican's performance, set in granite. After all, he has the better angels on his side and can afford class under pressure.

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