All They Had to Do Was Not Be Crazy

The Search for Sanity, Part 3

As many of us having been saying, all the Democrats had to do to have a good shot at winning back the White House this year was to not be crazy.

Here’s a version of that argument from last June.

Trump’s personal problems are myriad. He is as polarizing a figure as Democrats could have ever hoped to have in office if they were forced to run against an incumbent president. He’s petulant, thin-skinned, and unfocused to boot. Elected Republicans are largely uncomfortable associating too much with him, even while they try to walk the tight rope of defending his “policies.” Many staunch conservatives who hold moral character as a non-negotiable in determining their vote, refuse to support him.

He’s the dream opponent for the Democrats. They managed to lose to him in 2016 by doing the unthinkable: nominate the only person in the country who was more polarizing, less likable, and more untrustworthy than him. But in 2020? In 2020 all they have to do is just not be crazy.

Back then, the argument was that they couldn’t manage it. In the case of that particular article, it was backed by some weak examples of run-of-the mill nuttiness coming from relatively minor political figures. But the Democratic primary debates provided us plenty of fresh examples of bizarre and unappealing positions taken by major candidates: letting the Boston Marathon bombers vote from prison, defending forced school busing, calling for mass gun confiscation, and so on. To make matters worse, pandering to the fever dreams of the Twitter left was the usual last-ditch strategy adopted by failing candidates. Then there was the surge in the polls toward Bernie Sanders, who became the party’s front-runner for about three weeks after the Iowa caucuses.

And yet, against all odds, the Democrats have somehow managed to not be crazy. Behold the results of the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday–a spectacular bounce-back for Joe Biden that has cleared the field of his moderate rivals. Pete Buttigieg is out, Amy Klobuchar is out, even Michael Bloomberg is out–having spent more than half a billion dollars to achieve the stunning victory of getting five out of six delegates from American Samoa.

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