Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The quiet men won

In 1952,  in the wake of nerve and life-shattering World War II, the movie "The Quiet Man",  won the hearts of a nation.  John Ford, the director got an academy award and John Wayne made his mark starring in a non-western.  This week the quiet men won, too.  Competence and credibility spoke louder than any tweet or shouts over helicopter engines or exhortation from a rally podium.

Joe Biden, who had no campaign money, no get out the vote on the ground organization,  no fancy in house polling to target voters,  no multi-million dollar advertising campaigns, no thousands attending his rallies, won even in Michigan. Why?  His years in the public arena spoke louder than any the tools magnifying modern campaigners' shrill voices and high tech methods.  A quote uttered by a mourner of FDR's death and repeated by more than one candidate this winter, "we know him and he knows us",  was a message that rang clear to a wide and diverse group of demographics. Biden's blue-collar  Scranton PA roots, the tragedies in his life that shaped him to be a dignified empathy in chief, and his having Pres. Obama's back for eight years spoke louder than any words.  His most effective inoculation against his opponent's attacks on his person, that his stutter speech impediment means he is senile or demented, failed as his confidence returned in his voice and he appeared back on his game. The Russian disinformation machine is betting on their bots and the Trumpsters' tactics to paint  Biden as over the hill.  Tuesday showed many ignored Joe's life long stuttering problems causing him to search for words and they still preferred him over, crowd-rousing orators.   His quieter voice contrasted with the current occupant to the White House and served to elevate Biden's appeal as a competent, effective, and experienced public servant.  His quiet voice won.

More quiet men spoke. Vice President  Mike Pence quietly conducted a Coronavirus update press conference and allowed the scientists and experts to speak.  His administrative experience as a governor and development of voter support for public policy initiatives kicked in, garnering praise from numerous media pundits.  Getting nationwide recognition for his efforts,  Colorado's Governor Jared Polis quietly explained on national television why seventeen confirmed cases of Coronavirus (including those in Vail and Summit County)  in Colorado triggered his declaration of a state of emergency.  It gave him tools to give special attention to protecting the most at-risk citizens and expanding access to testing. He announced he was directing the  Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to ensure paid sick leave for workers in food handling, hospitality, child care, health care and education who are awaiting testing and to find ways to cover sick leave for people whose employers do not provide it, such as unemployment insurance.

More thoughts about Biden's unexpected surge on March 10.

I really do not know who is pushing whom...the voters or some controlling factor in DNC, because I am not aware if the DNC had phone banks or other techniques to get that kind of turnout and vote for Biden. Biden was broke, had no ground organization or advertising bucks, but the voters already knew him and who he was and knew where he was coming from and why. That was the upside of his being effective and left of center all of his many years of public life. However, the DNC may have had a great deal of pressure on those candidates in the "moderate" lane to endorse Biden just before the March 10 vote. Except for a few states, Bernie's votes were in the mid-'30s and if the "moderate lane" candidate votes were added together, the moderate lane total was higher than the Bernie/Warren votes. That was true in Colorado. The DNC is rather broke, too. In a perfect world, idealism should prevail and addressing people's needs should be the motivation for voting for this or that. It usually is. This year what is unusual is that the electorate is thinking strategically. That never has happened in my years in politics. I think Bernie is making a mistake is claiming voters for Biden were the "establishment". Voters for him probably do not think of themselves as "establishment" . and puzzling, too. It was a simultaneous and organic uprising of the middle, not a manipulated one by media or some incredible political organizing. That this time electability is foremost may have been foremost for two reasons: hating Trump and what he stands for and the sad realization that if the candidate is not electable, we give Trump 4 more years to work his evil. I think those character issues and Trump's misogynism accounted for the suburban women surge in turnout. Why did then every single county in Michigan go for Biden instead of Bernie? I had not expected that either at all. I do not know. why, but I can speculate. Partly I suspect that Biden was not Hillary. Hillary had no blue-collar bonafide unlike Biden and the other, much to my feminist dismay, Biden was not an aggressive woman. I am working through my channels to get Biden to embrace Bernie's priorities if not his method of a socialist revolution. and changing the basic economic structure of the country. I am looking forward to the debate on Sunday to see how Biden responds to Bernie's clear issue challenge. Hopefully, Biden rephrases the goal and methods and embraces similar goals and concepts. I think most voters like Bernie's goals, just not using a revolution to get there and will settle for Bernie light. Another factor, voters realize that unless there is a blue wave that brings in a blue Senate (and enough to threaten the filibuster) and keeps the House...and occupies the White House, neither Bernie's platform and or Biden's have a prayer in hell of being enacted for years. Another factor, speaking as an old person, it is a demographic that has a gut negative reaction to the word socialism and communism. The younger generations have not gone through the cold war and do not fear the word. The Michigan vote was a bit like Obama and Iowa. Biden had to demonstrate he could win in a state where the majority electorate in the primary was not African American but was representative of the rust belt states exactly the ones that swung to Trump in 2016. Biden is right about the importance of the youth vote, and I hope the party and Biden can come together. In the long view, I think none of this will be factors in November. There will be a huge voter hangover from the Coronavirus and a realization among the unaffiliated and more rational republicans that Trump is an incompetent fool and Biden's experience is to be valued. I also think the Coronavirus has exposed and laid bare the failure of our current health system and such issues as paid sick leave and levers the government can use to remedy the gaps of capitalism that progressives support. A word about Grand County...our demographics are not typical of the rest of the nation: we are 89% White, with only 8% foreign-born/or ethnic or racial minority. It is no wonder Trumpists carry the county and Democrats have been in the minority. I do not have much faith this will change in the future until the demographics change.

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