Biden’s whole candidacy was numbingly negative. He ran a campaign that didn’t actually campaign. The strategy was obvious: withdraw from the public eye and turn the election into a referendum on Trump, who, though loved by fans, has never been popular with the American electorate as a whole. It was brilliant in its way: the President’s nuclear ego means he can’t help but grab everyone’s attention all the time. And a lot of people really don’t like having to see Donald Trump everywhere they look. Trump’s great skill is his political jujitsu: using his opponents strengths against them. But he struggled to grapple with a frail older man who seemed to be avoiding the fray.
The pandemic gave Biden the perfect excuse to make himself invisible: the events he did were small and ultra-COVID-secure. He shunned press conferences and never really had to face much media scrutiny. Other than when he beat Bernie Sanders to secure the nomination and when he gave a (surprisingly fluent) acceptance speech at the mostly virtual Democratic National Convention, Biden rarely dominated the headlines.
Who needs energy or enthusiasm? Almost nobody, other than the people who are likely to get a job in his administration, is all that excited at the prospect of Biden’s presidency. And yet he will sleepwalk into the White House in two months.