Biden has said that “faith sees best in the dark.” Though it’s not clear what he means by this (and like so much of what he says, it probably means nothing at all), it is true that on presentability alone, his old-timey platitudes outperform the crass paganism of Trumpism. Mathis Bitton, a former National Review editorial intern, speaking of the pro-Trump Turning Point USA winter conference, summed this up nicely on Twitter: “Nothing screams traditional values and the working class as much as having a money canon at an otherwise debauched conference.” And this is to say nothing of the scenes from Capitol Hill.
Biden also has faced immense personal tragedy, a compelling part of his narrative. It’s not difficult to believe that a man who has suffered as he has is genuinely reliant on his faith in his private life. But while Biden compartmentalizes his Catholicism and does not say, for instance, that the Gospel requires politicians to provide universal health care, the likes of Reverend Raphael Warnock will. And he’ll say it loudly enough for the both of them. Where Biden is happy enough to drift along “in the dark,” Warnock proposes walking in the light of left-wing convictions and activism. The president-elect, having no firm convictions himself, risks being dragged along by his party’s stronger current. We need only look at his political evolution over the past 40 years to see that such a path is basically inevitable.