So Joe Biden seems to be struggling to put together a campaign slogan. I’ve heard the following suggestions:
Restore The Soul of America
Our best days still lie ahead
This is America
We are America, second to none
Anything is possible
Build Back Better
Unite for a Better America
Sorry, but these all suck. Remember 2016? “Stronger Together”? Clinton was running on the platform of “You’re not seriously going to vote for Donald Trump, are you?” This campaign messaging seems to be based around the same basic premise “Okay, you got us last time, but after four years of this awful spectacle, you wouldn’t seriously vote for Donald Trump again, would you?” These play into the negative side of Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic paradigm of the last 30 years: I’m marginally better than the Republican.
The Biden Our Time message is superior because it acknowledges the two positive pillars of Biden’s candidacy:
1) Baby boomers still have the power in this country, and we can’t win without them. We get it, okay? We young people can’t overpower you, so we’ll pay our dues until enough of you have shuffled off that mortal coil, that we can finally stop paying lip service to your outmoded thinking.
2) The Democratic party is committed to a dynamic and substantial core of future leaders, but it is not yet time to seize the reins. This is exemplified by no one as much as AOC. (35 in October 2024)
Point 1: Biden was chosen as a safe consensus candidate. He is tied to Obama and the Democratic party enough to win the nomination, but he is old, white and centrist enough to make old people feel safe. His problem is that he doesn’t excite anyone. Biden Our Time recognizes this. We know you young people don’t like Biden. Of course, you don’t. He’s the cornmeal mush of candidates. Comforting to old people, and you can tell racists he’s actually grits.
Point 2: the future of the Democratic party and America as a whole is with young people. We hear you. Heck, I am you. The new day is coming, but the sun still has to set first. It’s sad to see our elder(ly) statesmen reaching the literal end of their careers. John Lewis and Elijah Cummings already, but inevitably Jimmy Carter, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I’m sad to see them go. They were the titans of the left bank of American politics. But a tall woman casts a long shadow, and when a mighty tree collapses it leaves an opening that the young trees will fill. So young people. Don’t despair. Look at Biden. You don’t seriously think he will run again in 2024 do you? Do you really think he’ll be guiding the destiny of the nation? As Adam Sandler said: “He’s got long term plans? What are they? Don’t die?” So the time is drawing close. You’ll get there soon.
Joe Biden is not making Hillary Clinton’s mistakes thus far. She chose Tim Kaine as her running mate. Are you serious? Balancing an old, white, center-right woman with an old white center-right man? When Tim Kaine stumbled through a few sentences in his broken, anglo-inflected Spanish, the message I heard was: “This campaign is 100% about the Democrats of the 70s, but we’re making an effort to dress up the same old package with the language we think you like.” It was like Obama without the sincerity.
I want to make sure that Biden sends a strong message to young people. “I’m a bridge candidate” is a good start. Selecting Kamala Harris is another fine step. But emphasizing that Biden is only a temporary holder for the future Democratic core is a strong signal to a critical part of the party’s constituency. I don’t think it will turn off old people. You’ve still got good old Joe holding the reins, if you like Social Security you’ll love socialism, and why worry about your 401k after 2024? If you’re old enough that your 401k balance is more important than your earning power, you’ll probably be dead by then anyway. Especially if this Drumpster fire burns four more years.