After last month’s strange virtual party conventions, the question on everyone’s minds is, who came out ahead? The polling has been mixed, but the candidates’ reactions make it obvious. You can tell just by looking at what Joe Biden has been doing in the time since.
First, he has loudly distanced himself from his earlier, repeated promises to end fracking, which he made in debates and in conversations with Democratic primary voters. This evinces a fear that his anti-fracking stance — and note that opposition to “new fracking” necessarily entails opposition to all fracking — will cost him Pennsylvania and other states enjoying the benefits of the energy revolution.
Second, Biden is finally bothering to address the monthslong rioting that the news media have been trying to cover up. Urban violence, and the related spike in violent crime due to police being preoccupied or even defunded by radicals in city government, is suddenly emerging as a defining election issue. Leftist agitators continue after three months to damage or destroy businesses and private and government property in such cities such as Portland, Chicago, Washington, New York, Seattle, Denver, and a host of others.
Biden’s acknowledgment that this issue exists is a start, even if his initial response has not been intelligent. At first, he tried to blame it on right-wing extremist groups, taking his cue from an absurd conspiracy theory that has spread among liberals seeking to justify or cover up rioters’ behavior. Subsequently, Biden and other Democrats have sought to emphasize that this is all occurring “on President Trump’s watch,” as if Biden were proposing to take the necessary steps to restore law and order (which of course he isn’t). Both approaches seem likely to backfire.
As Biden tries to distance himself from his party’s increasing radicalism, voters must see this for the ruse it is. One need only look at his Republican opponent to understand that personnel is policy.
Before his 2015 bid for the White House, Trump was a pro-abortion moderate, squishy on gun rights. He even advocated at one point for a wealth tax. This puts him closer to Bernie Sanders than Ronald Reagan.
But then contrast that image with his current one, and you come to understand how the office can change the man. In the Trump administration, the average person responsible for policy reflects the conservative views of the median Republican voter. Even Trump has evolved, perhaps consequently, into a largely conservative figure on policy since taking office.
Likewise, no matter how centrist Biden is or pretends to be, his administration will be staffed by radicals. Consider that every single Democratic senator who ran against Biden in this year’s primaries, all prime candidates for cabinet positions if he wins, co-sponsored a proposal that would spend an estimated $50 trillion-$90 trillion in a futile effort to change global weather patterns. The measure they backed would kill the domestic energy industry and cause California-style rolling blackouts. Biden can claim that he’s against that, but he is certain to appoint Democrats who support it and will advance its goals to positions of power.As for the riots, some of those who might serve in a Biden administration have openly said they support rioting as a legitimate form of political expression. His running mate, Kamala Harris, has helped promote and fundraise for a group that prides itself on indiscriminately bailing out those accused of both violent and nonviolent crimes.
And then there’s Biden, who has up to now been no slouch in taking far left-wing positions. For example, like the average House Democrat, he supports virtually abolishing independent freelance contract work such as that done by journalists, Uber drivers and online tutors.
The lesson here is that administrations tend to govern the way their party leans, regardless of individual presidents’ proclivities. Democrats have veered so far leftward in the last four years that they now find things Barack Obama said and relatively uncontroversial positions his administration took just a few years ago to be not just wrong but offensive because they are not left-wing enough.So when Biden supporters offer empty platitudes about Biden’s moderation, don’t believe them. Even if Trump isn’t your cup of tea, a switch to Biden is a switch to radicalism, not to normalcy.