Not long ago, there were a dozen and a half candidates and then there were two. No, I don’t mean Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. I’m referring to Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Sanders is finished, thanks to Super Tuesday. Southern Democrats and black voters were never going to vote for a Socialist to become the most powerful person on earth. The last two men standing will be President Trump and former Vice-president Joe Biden, two old white guys set to duke it out for the presidency, provided their health and energy holds out. In fact, the last three viable Democrat candidates, Biden, Sanders and Bloomberg, were all old white guys in spite of all the emphasis on diversity. Now isn’t that ironic? I guess old guys really do still rule.
Sen. Bernie Sanders had a youth problem. To be sure, they were attracted in great numbers to his campaign, entertained by his sincerity and passion and delighted by the promises of abundant free stuff. Having little experience in the real world, however, least of all with socialist governments and the misery they produced, they were not deterred by the socialist label or even aware of the disasters most socialist nations had become. They loved the rallies and the free stuff but too many of them just couldn’t seem to get around to actually voting. They didn’t turn out in sufficient numbers on Super Tuesday and probably wouldn’t on Nov. 3 either. Older people actually vote. Younger people mostly complain. Joe Biden has a youth problem, also. He’s old and he’s the establishment favorite. That doesn’t endear him to young, impatient Americans.
So the final contest will come down to 73-year-old Donald Trump vs. 77-year-old Joe Biden who would be an octogenarian at the end of a first term. We wish them both a long life but the average life expectancy for an American male is 78. Actually, they have something in common besides their advanced age. Both are unpredictable. One never knows what Trump is going to say or tweet. One also never knows when the gaffe-prone Biden will forget where he is and why he’s there. Both are prone to anger and sensitive to criticism.
Old guys, and old gals for that matter, are among those most at risk in the current coronavirus pandemic because the virus attacks the respiratory system and respiratory ailments tend to be common among the elderly. Mr. Trump can’t seem to stop shaking hands. It’s what politicians do. Mr. Biden is a touchy-feely kind of guy. Both should set a good example and shake those habits for the duration of the epidemic. They also should cancel rallies. Better yet, why not cease campaigning altogether and devote the time and money to something actually useful like fighting the epidemic and helping the victims.
After all, we already know what they stand for and what they support. Trump’s second term will be a continuation of the first, including the good and the bad, complete with uninhibited tweets. A Biden presidency would be Obama- lite, perhaps with memory lapses. Both would be profligate spenders. Trump is now spending like a Democrat. The budget deficit in his last five months increased by 15 percent over the same period last year.
Biden will demonstrate his inconsistency on issues as he endeavors to show voters that he really is a moderate and that his leftward lurch early in the campaign was just a strategy. Trump’s re-election prospects will be harmed by the serious economic damage caused by the pandemic. It isn’t his fault, of course, but voters with their myopic vision, tend to blame incumbents for any disaster, natural or man-made, that occurs on their watch.
The candidates should take a solemn vow to avoid using the pandemic disaster as a political weapon. It’s far too serious and Americans are in no mood for politics as usual. They are far more concerned now with health and financial issues than with political campaigns and debates. We must trust and support the experts and those in charge of fighting this pandemic. They have access to the most reliable sources of information and to the available resources. Let them do their job. There will be time enough for criticism after people stop dying.