Election 2020: Team Biden-Harris, “mirror of the body politic.”
You may ask, what is the “body politic?” The “body politic” is the freeze frame of where we as a country in motion sees itself, right now. And under this light Sen. Harris’ ascendancy is well, not surprising. Less so than Biden’s but we digress…
Consider the “surprise” look of Sen. Harris being chosen to join Biden as the Democratic VP candidate and heir-apparent to the Democratic Party leadership. A different “surprise” was taken from her a few months back, somewhere before Iowa. That’s when the phones stopped ringing and Harris was forced to retire from the race due to financial pressure. Like all the Dem stalwarts ready to take up the party candidate banner from Booker to Mayor Pete to Wonkish Warren, Harris’ candidacy lost steam and a chance at a come-from-behind Iowa ‘surprise’ a la Obama.
Not her style. Not the Dems’ plan for 2020. The visionary, risky approach to winning a plebiscite is taken off the table. (Sorry, Bernie.) The functionalist approach picks up steam. Think Cuomo meets Adam Schiff. ‘Does it work’ trumps ‘make it work.’
We will hear the excuses usually lobbed at Progressives: ‘we’re in a pandemic,’ ‘it’s not time for radical, critical thinking.’ Or as a dear friend puts it, “what the country needs right now is meat loaf and mashed potatoes.”
For the present time, Sen. Harris is poised to play “placeholder” for a future that may be evaporating as we speak. Harris, the ‘young and younger,’ capable of deferring to resident power elites. You can have your legacy, not the more critical ‘look at where your legacy has brought us.’
Correction: once during one of the Presidential Candidate debates, Harris “schooled” Biden on his early position on busing. Losing his claim to be civil rights’ champion, Biden was backed into a corner, perhaps cementing Harris as the VP choice.
The long view of Biden-Harris’ success as a team in November is that miraculously Biden will fill in the gap created by positioning Harris as the Trump attack dog, while “Uncle Joe” looks Presidential. “Miraculously,” because going for “the Presidential look,” will be ineffective in 2020. Call this the “Trump trap”: Trump will try to own. “the Presidential look,” because that’s what Trump does, and CAN ONLY DO.
Biden needs multiple serious platforms, now. Platforms, not “talking points.” Less ‘gravitas’ and baby kissing. More passion and commitment to solving/rectifying immediate and pressing problems.
Take a page from “not now” Sen. Bernie Sanders, one of two former Presidential candidates (1) to propose a solution for mitigating our financial destruction. On August 6, Sanders proposed a tax on the wealthy 0.1% which if passed could fund the health care costs for the entire country for 1 year.
Bernie’s ‘mirror’ is not the mirror of the body politic but the reflection of the hardship and suffering lurking just about everywhere these days.
Redemption is on the side of Biden-Harris: don’t squander it.
August 14, 2020
(1) Sanders and co-sponsor Kirsten Gillibrand, both former Democratic Presidential Candidates