A lot of Democrats worry about nominating Joe Biden for president. Part of it is that the former vice president is old and gaffe-prone. But much of it is that he seems timid and boring. Biden doesn’t support the “Medicare for All” bill in Congress. He doesn’t support repealing the law that makes unauthorized immigration a criminal offense. Instead, he talks about bipartisanship, decency, the middle class, and the glory days of the Obama-Biden administration. He thinks he can beat President Donald Trump not with a bold, progressive agenda, but by appealing to moderates and Republicans who don’t like Trump.
There’s a good chance he’s correct. Even if Biden is the wrong candidate, he has the right strategy.
Two weeks ago, in a debate among the Democratic presidential candidates, Biden defended the center against the left. He opposed abolishing private health insurance and warned that Medicare for All would require a big tax increase on the middle class. He argued that we should protect immigrants who follow the law, not those who break it. Then, after this week’s horrific attack in El Paso, Texas, by a white nationalist, Biden delivered a speech in which he slammed Trump for fomenting racial hatred. Biden distinguished Trump from previous Republican presidents, whom he praised for defending Islam and standing up to gun violence.