All of which points to Biden’s achievement. Where Democrats crashed into a Republican wall at every other level of government, in the presidential race he unambiguously prevailed.
That wasn’t all about wanting to get rid of Trump. It was also about Biden being just the right kind of Democrat to neutralize the party’s bad press and image across wide swaths of the country. The combination of his age, experience, decency, ideological moderation, proximity to a still-popular former president, ties to the Black community, and backward-looking message of civic healing turned him into something approaching that imaginary construct of opinion pollsters: the “generic Democrat” who has all of the positive attributes of a member of the party along with none of the negatives.
No other Democrat on offing could have played that role. The Republican barrage would have reduced the progressives (Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren) to rubble, while the more moderate alternatives to Biden suffered either from a fatal lack of experience (Pete Buttigieg) or an equally debilitating absence of charisma (Amy Klobuchar).