Joe Biden won't beat Trump, but he will save the Democrats from oblivion under Bernie Sanders

Joe Biden
Joe Biden will be a formidable opponent of Trump because he is so nice Credit:  FREDERIC J. BROWN/ AFP

A while ago, a senior Republican friend of mine told me that the most difficult ticket Donald Trump could face in the next election would be Joe Biden partnered by Elizabeth Warren. This was not, needless to say, because Biden was a brilliant debater or a lethal political adversary. If he was any stupider, my friend said affectionately, “you’d have to water him”.

He was however – and this was a deadly weapon against Trump – incredibly, genuinely, visibly nice. A man of such undeniable warmth and decency, whose life had been devastated twice by separate family tragedies, would be an extremely difficult target for a president who had got where he is by playing a belligerent bully.

If Trump displayed his usual persona in the presidential debates with a man like Biden, it would seem repugnant: vicious, gratuitous and crass. His core vote (which is apparently immovable) would probably stick with him but an awful lot of the electorate might find it very hard to side with Mr Nasty. This is not how most Americans like to see themselves. (Mike Bloomberg, who now seems to be decisively out of the picture, would have given as good as he got in the debates but the spectacle would have been an unedifying mud fight.)

E538prom精品视频在线播放lizabeth Warren, on the other hand, was charmless but extremely intelligent. She would be the one to take down the Trump arguments, ridicule his tweets and offer a serious critique of his policies. Plus, she was talking about the need for a healthcare programme that resonated with a lot of US voters. So between them they would, my friend thought, be a formidable challenge.

A few weeks ago, the prospect of this being the result of the Democratic primaries looked virtually inconceivable. Bernie Sanders was not only scoring primary victories but his children’s army were giving him the kind of ecstatic reception at huge rallies that had made Trump unstoppable.

And then came South Carolina – as the Biden camp had always predicted. And that was followed by the gracious, and well-judged withdrawal of the two other moderate contenders.

And then there was Super Tuesday538prom精品视频在线播放. Bernie is gone: you can put money on that. This is – as everybody is saying – the Democratic Party establishment shutting down a candidate who might have brought a kind of radical passion to the party’s campaign, and that passion just might have been a match for the hysterical enthusiasm of the Trump circus. But that was always extremely unlikely. 

Bernie would have been the voice of another minority camp in American life: an aggressive parallel movement to Trump’s that would fail to speak for the great centre ground of reasonable US opinion. In truth, the Sanders message is another form of identity politics which would have divided the country even further. Even more important, it would have been remarkably easy for the Republicans to attack: all they would need to do is cost his programme and spell out exactly what that would mean for every American taxpayer.

S538prom精品视频在线播放o do I think that Biden (or even Biden-Warren) can beat Trump in this election? No, probably not. But it would be far better for the Democrats to lose with Biden than to lose with Bernie. It would be simply horrendous for the party to lose the presidency (and possibly a number of legislative seats as well) after committing itself to the Sanders democratic socialist programme.

Like post-Corbyn Labour here, it would find itself trapped in an ideological hole from which escape would be extremely messy – and which would damage its electoral credibility for a generation. So there it is: unexciting as the prospect may be, Joe Biden would be the most likely Democratic winner – and the least damaging loser.