Biden may be the last hurrah for moderate Democrats

In the past, white Southern moderate politicians (famously Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton) showed themselves capable of putting together coalitions that included noncollege-educated white voters in the South and border states along with African-Americans from a similar religio-cultural background. That type of politician barely even exists today. African-American and Latino voters are beginning to gravitate toward presidential candidacies from their own communities, which may be more self-consciously progressive.

More subtly, we may be entering an era in which instead of Democratic progressives casting their lots with competing moderates of somewhat different dispositions (you saw a lot of that in 2008 when lefty activists split between Barack Obama and John Edwards), Democratic moderates split between competing progressives. I am impressed at how many of my own moderate Democratic acquaintances are attracted to Elizabeth Warren as a counter-weight to Bernie Sanders.

But all these trends cut across the currently immovable presence of the one 2020 candidate who will almost automatically appeal to Democratic moderates: Joe Biden.