Joe Biden or the return of the center

Joe Biden at a meeting in Los Angeles on March 3, 2020, Super Tuesday day.
Joe Biden at a meeting in Los Angeles on March 3, 2020, Super Tuesday day. DAVID MCNEW / AFP

"World" editorial. The announcement of the centre's death was premature. The dazzling return of Senator Joe Biden in the Democratic nomination contest, Wednesday March 4, after the 14 primary elections of Super Tuesday, has dramatically reconfigured the competition and the debate within the American left, in view of the presidential election of November 3.

Joe Biden’s resurrection took place in two stages. His victory in the primary of South Carolina, first, thanks to the mobilization of the black electorate, launched the dynamic in his favor, Saturday February 29, resulting on Monday the withdrawal of two centrist candidates, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar. Then the fireworks of Super Tuesday, which saw the former vice-president of Barack Obama achieve a grand slam in the Southern States, then win, among others, Texas, Massachusetts and Minnesota, did the rest.

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Despite the victory of his rival Bernie Sanders in California, Joe Biden is now leading a number of delegates for the nomination of the candidate for the Democratic convention in July. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has in turn pulled out of the race and is going to support him with his organization.

A clearer situation

At the end of this first month of a primary season marked by confusion and the multiplicity of candidates, the situation in the Democratic camp is therefore much clearer. The other surprise of Super Tuesday is the collapse of the candidacy of Senator Elizabeth Warren, beaten by Joe Biden in his own state, Massachusetts, and whose withdrawal is now expected. The competition will then be reduced to a real duel, an open duel, Joe Biden, 77, against Bernie Sanders, 78. This clarification is a good thing: it saves precious time for the Democratic camp in the fight against Donald Trump.

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There is much to say about the striking similarity, in a country that boasts of diversity, between the candidacies of these two white men, in their seventies, from the East Coast, whose mission is to dislodge another White man from the White House. , septuagenarian, from the East Coast. Both senators, Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders have been in politics for decades. But that stops the resemblance. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders actually embody two poles of the Democratic Party, two different visions, two social projects. One moderate, centrist, in the tradition of Presidents Clinton and Obama. The other, more radical, advocating a real left turn.

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Fighting a right-wing radicalism with a left-wing radicalism, or, on the contrary, bringing politics back to the center and restoring its classic levers to it: nothing indicates that the American democratic voters are ready, at this stage, to make this choice of rationally. Opinion polls after the polls on Super Tuesday show above all that they privileged, not the ideas, but the candidate's chances of beating Donald Trump.

Getting rid of this Republican president who, in three years, has changed all the parameters of American politics is clearly the priority of the Democratic electorate. We can easily understand it. But it should not stifle the debate which, even if the Super Tuesday stage is traditionally crucial in the primaries, must expand and continue. This debate is just as important for American Democrats as it is for European progressives, in desperate search for renewal.

The world


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