Such behavior becomes easier to understand in light of the fact that the party establishment dislikes and fears its base. They are not unique in this. Republican bosses have always felt contempt for the yahoos at the heart of their support, but they are cleverer at concealing the fact. Democrats, on the other hand, appear to espouse betrayal as a core value. Bill Clinton exemplified this tendency, screwing key Democratic constituencies at every opportunity, with policies like Nafta, the anti-black crime bill, welfare ‘reform’ and Wall Street deregulation.
Today, it has been pointed out that Trump and Biden are similar in many ways: with their congenital lying, grabbing women, accelerating mental instability, etc. But while Trump is careful never overtly to propose harming his base by, for example, extolling job-killing free trade or cuts to social security, Biden has positively reveled in such politically inane proposals. Prior to a recent burst of mendacity on the topic, Biden long championed cuts to the already miserable pensions on which Americans depend. Add to his charge sheet a richly documented career of urging the sort of mass incarceration that disproportionately affects black people — actual or potential Democratic voters, by the way, who were thereby deprived of the vote. Despite this, the party establishment cheered and supported his candidacy, at least until Iowans rejected him to a point beyond rescue by the vote-counters.
None of this should have come as a surprise. Whereas the Republicans’ principal mission has long been to gain power and use it to enrich themselves, the Democrats — although certainly not unmindful of those same objectives — have traditionally undertaken the specific subsidiary assignment of reining in and otherwise distracting the populace whenever the latter exhibits a potentially dangerous dissatisfaction with its lot. Foreign wars have served as one eminently useful tool in this respect.