Five reasons the pundits underestimated Joe Biden

As Matt Yglesias noted in his Vox article “The Great Awokening,” during the past five years, “white liberals have moved so far to the left on questions of race and racism that they are now, on these issues, to the left of even the typical black voter.” On social media, however, members of the left intelligentsia often justify their views in part by characterizing them as amplifying or even deferring to voices of color–– even when the median African American, Latino, and Asian American hold more centrist positions. Observers are sufficiently misled as to expect that the Democratic Party, where voters of color are an important and growing constituency, will soon mirror the left-intelligentsia. But most voters of color are closer on policy to Biden than to Ocasio-Cortez. Centrist voices of color are just underrepresented in social and digital media.

Among left intellectuals, it is conventional wisdom that America is a deeply racist, sexist, heteronormative country where structural forces disadvantage women and people of color at every turn, including in political campaigns, where marginalizing double standards are everywhere. It is conventional wisdom that privileged cis white men start on third base in any endeavor they want to accomplish. And it is conventional wisdom that Trump represents an existential threat to the country, rendering us all unsafe. After almost four years in which all three messages pervaded mainstream and social media, a faction of Democratic voters has concluded that nominating a privileged cis white male affords their party the best odds of defeating Trump and saving America.