This is all to say that while I don’t understand Biden’s support, he has managed to sidestep (not solve) political problems in ways that defy expectations. Biden’s challenge was to simultaneously defend Obama’s legacy while embracing a Democratic platform that has moved so far left it in many ways openly contradicts it. That he is vague and prone to platitudes protects him from any clarity that might compromise him. His challenge was to run against the biggest, loudest media hog in the history of American politics, and he has met that challenge by barely appearing at all—and by making his appeals so mild you don’t even remember what they were.
That might not make sense, but there is a dream logic to why it might be appealing to weary voters. Biden doesn’t speak in the frenzied hysterics that have come to characterize fundraising emails. A Biden tweet asking for donations is almost comically opposed to Trump’s screaming appeals to destroy the enemy. “Folks, I know these are tough times, but this crisis has made it clearer than ever how much elections matter—and what a difference it makes who is in the White House. If you can, please chip in to fuel our campaign. I would really appreciate it.” I can’t believe this is the strategy in a political landscape based on gun-to-your-head rhetoric. But there it is: The tone isn’t DONATE NOW TO SAVE THE REPUBLIC; it’s “if you can, please chip in.” The promises are modest but so—and this is crucial to an exhausted electorate—are the demands.