After yet another strong primary showing Tuesday, former Vice President Joe Biden is set to win the Democratic nomination. Many on the right have responded by applauding the apparent collapse of socialism. “Bernie’s Revolution Ends with a Whimper,” a National Review headline read. The Wall Street Journal triumphantly declared that this was the “twilight of the Sanders Revolution.”
While understandable, now is not the time for celebration. It is quite likely that Biden could lose to President Trump in November, which would all but guarantee a socialist nominee in 2024.
There are a number of concerns surrounding Biden’s candidacy, but the top one has been his mental clarity. His proneness for gaffes has come under ever-greater scrutiny during this primary cycle, and his performance has frankly been concerning. This isn’t just right-wing talking points—although President Trump has chimed in, mocking Biden’s gaffes—left-wingers are taking note as well. Last week, left-wing comedian Trevor Noah sounded the alarm:
“This is not good. Just in the past 24 hours, Joe has gaffed everything from the name of a TV anchor he was talking to, to the Declaration of Independence.”
Beyond his affinity for putting his foot in his mouth, the initial reluctance of Democrats to support him shows a lack of enthusiasm reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. The fact that he is only gaining ground in the primary since the majority of his opponents dropped out hardly inspires confidence that he is many Democrats’ first choice.
Between the gaffes and second-choice status among such a broad swath of the electorate, there is a significant chance that the former vice president will lose in November. Current polls show him with a lead, but the general election campaign hasn’t even begun yet. President Trump is sitting on a historically unprecedented amount of campaign funds that will help launch a volley of attack ads against Biden and turn out a passionate, devoted base of supporters.
For two elections in a row, progressives have backed a far-left socialist while claiming that centrist, establishment candidates wouldn’t deliver enough change and lacked the support to win. For two elections in a row, the establishment candidate would have lost to Donald Trump.
It’s not difficult to imagine the apoplectic response from many on the far left. Over at The Young Turks, a progressive outlet supporting Bernie Sanders, there isn’t too much left to the imagination. The vindication of progressives’ long-held fears that establishment candidates can’t win would guarantee a socialist takeover of the Democratic Party in 2024.
The timing of this could not be worse for Republicans: parties historically have a difficult time holding the White House for a third term, making it an uphill battle from the start. Donald Trump will be term-limited, so there will be an open primary for his successor. By all indications, it will make the 2016 primary look comparatively tame.
Maintaining economic growth through 2024 will be a challenge, too. Already the longest economic expansion in American history, the chance of economic downturn grows with every passing month.
Defeating a socialist in 2024 is not impossible. It is not even improbable. However, it will almost certainly be more difficult than it would be this November. And yet the chorus on the right seems to be expressing near-universal excitement that Biden will be the nominee.
On this point, we could learn something from across the pond in the United Kingdom. In December of last year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson led his Conservative party into a general election against a radically far-left Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. Pulling no punches, he compared his opponents of hating capitalism to an extent not seen since Joseph Stalin. It worked: his party won an enormous majority in Parliament, while the Labour Party had the worst electoral performance since 1935.
Trump would be relatively well-positioned to deliver a similar victory over Sanders. The numbers are there, and the strategy is sound. The President gave a brief glimpse into his would-be strategy in a head-to-head battle against the Vermont Senator, declaring that he was “all set for Bernie,” and ready to brand him as a “communist.”
While unwise to root for a socialist nominee, it is clear that such an election would be preferable this year than in 2024. Hopefully, we don’t look back at Bernie’s candidacy four years from now wishing that we had taken down socialism in 2020, rather than punt the threat to a less strategic time.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.