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Monday, Aug. 23, 2021

The Settled Candidate

Screen Shot 2020-06-01 at 10.51.31 AM

Why bet on a losing hand?

Do you ever have a hunch or gut feeling where you are convinced, almost instantly, by feelings that you cannot always explain? Some folks call this intuition, which comes from the Latin word “intuir,” meaning “knowledge from within.” These are those times when we “know” in our hearts and souls, irrespective of our five senses, that something feels right or feels wrong.

And for most Americans who voted for Joe Biden last year, something felt wrong – but they did so anyway. Like the alcoholic or drug addict who needs just one more drink, or one more hit, they voted for Biden because of how good it made them feel – in the moment – to vote against Trump, instead of what a Biden presidency would actually represent to the long history of the world. For example, in a Monmouth University poll taken after the election last year, more Biden voters were happy that Trump lost than Biden had won.

Biden supporters weren’t crying for joy over Biden winning the election as much as they were celebrating who lost the election. Biden was not their first choice for president – for some, he was their last choice – and the lesser of two evils when it came to re-electing Trump. Some Democrats said they would have voted for a stale piece of bread before they would have ever voted for Trump.

Biden was deemed the safest bet to beat Trump, even if Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren were more representative of the Democrat Party base, with their support of the Green New Deal and Medicare for All.

But even Kamala Harris was not anyone’s first choice for vicepresident. According to former Obama Senior Advisor David Axelrod, Biden wanted Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, “but she would not have fulfilled the desire of those who prioritized a candidate of color.” And remember, Harris was no one’s choice for president either, earning no delegates during her presidential bid in 2020.

And despite Biden and Harris not being anyone’s first choice for president and vice-president, Biden still somehow amassed more votes than any other presidential candidate in U.S. history. But that’s a different discussion for a different day.

Back to the point, though, most Biden voters didn’t vote for Biden; they just settled. They were prepared to let go of the most leftist-leaning issues (for now) that were most important to the Democrat Party’s base. All while knowing Biden wasn’t physically or mentally up for such an agenda at age 78, thinking everything would be better if they could only get rid of Trump.

That would be all that mattered, even if they knew better.

And they did know better. Nearly 50% of Democrats, before the election last year, thought it was unlikely Biden would finish his term as president (if elected). Still, they voted (settled) for him anyway – and that was knowing the majority of American voters believed Harris was not qualified to become president (should Biden resign or be removed from office).

Before the election, a Biden supporter put it this way. “I think a lot of people this election are settling for Biden, so for me, it’s like a call to action, something that gives me … like I can stand behind this,” the activist said as he was pointing to his “Settle for Biden” hat. “I can’t stand behind ‘love Joe Biden,’ can’t stand behind ‘Joe Biden’s the best,’ but I can stand behind, you know, settle for Joe Biden,” he continued.

And before you say that’s not how most Biden supporters feel, remember Biden was packaged and pitched to the American people as settling for the ordinary.

During the campaign, the headlines positioned him as the “return to normalcy” candidate. “Joe Biden’s presidency could make America normal again,” screamed The New York Post, and The Boston Globe blared, “Biden inauguration promised return to normalcy.”

“Back to normal with Biden,” chimed countless pundits, proclaiming, “The Biden Era Is the Return to Normal.”

Normal is conforming. Usual. Typical.

Normal is “settling.” This isn’t what we teach our children, and it isn’t who we are as a country.

What if the 56 men signing the Declaration of Independence had “settled” for whatever England had demanded? What if Martin Luther King Jr. had “settled” for whatever symbolic compromises were being made by Congress regarding civil rights? What if Ronald Reagan had “settled” for the nuclear-arms deal offered by Mikhail Gorbachev at Reykjavik?

If “ settling “ had been considered an option, millions of lives would be much worse off in each of these instances.

Is there any real surprise that “settling” for less with Biden has ended as it has?

Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman, attorney and author of “Bright Spots, Big Country, What Makes America Great.” He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in 318 Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by e-mail at louisavallone@mac.com, and on American Ground Radio at 101.7FM and 710 AM, weeknights from 6 - 7 p.m., and streaming live on keelnews.com.

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