After its latest festival of democracy, America has decided who should be in the White House – an old, white man

Absolutely anything can happen between now and November, apart from it involving someone who’s not white and pushing 80

Tom Peck
Political Sketch Writer
Wednesday 04 March 2020 13:37 GMT
Joe Biden confuses wife with sister during rally

Super Tuesday probably didn’t feel all that super for a man called Hervis Rogers, who spent fully seven hours of it waiting in line to vote at Texas Southern University. From the picture taken by a reporter from CNN, Rogers appears to be what you might call middle aged, though in American political terms is barely out of kindergarten.

It is also relevant to note that Rogers is black, and his seven-hour wait is what has come to be known as “voter suppression”. It has come to be known as that in the several decades in which nothing meaningful has been done about it, not even during the eight-year rule of America’s first president to meaningfully represent the voter-suppressed.

And never is it more relevant than when assessing America’s options at the end of what is traditionally somewhere towards the end of the middle bit of the beginning of its great quadrennial whittling down.

We now know that the next president of the United States will be a septuagenarian white guy. The voice of youth, in November’s election, will belong to 73-year-old President Trump, a man who has been labelled senile by former allies and foes alike.

The other guy (and yes, it will be a guy – they tried a woman once, to be fair, and look where that got them) will be either Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders. The former will be two weeks short of his 78th birthday. The latter will already be 79.

Super Tuesday leaves that contest too close to call, which inevitably means it is already being called with ever increasing certainty. Knowing what can’t be known is the lifeblood of the punditocracy. If Sanders was polling at 99 per cent among Democrat voters, and 77-year-old Biden was in bed having contracted coronavirus, you can expect to be told that this race isn’t over.

Because either man can clearly win, both definitely will. One man who can’t is Mike Bloomberg. It has already been pointed out that his solitary primary victory, in American Samoa, has cost him more in campaigning than the GDP of American Samoa itself – some $700m.

The more pertinent question is why does American Samoa love Mike Bloomberg so much? Bloomberg was certainly the most vocal candidate on the subject of climate change, which may have appealed to the people of a tiny protectorate that several projections show may very well be underwater in the next few decades. The same projections give Miami around 30 years, so maybe Bloomberg just went too early. Oh well, he is only 78. His time will come again.

On current trajectories, it will surely not be long before Bloomberg is richer than America itself, so the American Samoa numbers are cause for optimism. As long as you can outspend the combined GDP of the people you want to vote for you, you should be fine.

Your entry level hot take on all this is that Biden’s resurrection shows the Democrats are suddenly doing what the Republicans should have done in 2016 – rallying round the most likely moderate guy to take out the radical. “Bernie can’t win,” so they say. And, well, it’s not like they’ve ever been wildly wrong about this kind of thing before.

On last night’s evidence, the Bidens like nothing more than to take out the radical, as pictures of Biden’s wife Jill going the full Wendi Deng on an anti-dairy protester revealed, an act of immense bravery that was repaid moments later, when her husband got her mixed up with his own sister.

Of course, if the Republicans had just done this four years ago, they could have stopped Trump is a hypothesis only mildly troubled by the fact that Trump beat Clinton and none of the others would have done.

Sanders, naturally, is blaming “the establishment”. They’re only voting for Biden because they don’t want him to win. Which is true. It’s also kind of how democracy works. Hard and fast rules are slow to come by in modern politics, but when you’re blaming the voters, that’s definitely the moment you’ve lost.

Super Tuesday: Jo Biden talks about campaign turn-around

How long will it be before Sanders is claiming, like Jeremy Corbyn, to have “won the argument”? America could never elect a socialist, not that Bernie Sanders is one. He wants massive investment in healthcare and education, but stops far short of anything like a fully nationalised health service, leaving him significantly to the right of every major British politician of the last 70 years, including Enoch Powell.

(Corbyn, meanwhile, was and is in favour of a flat 20 per cent nationwide VAT rate, meaning poor and rich pay the same non-progressive tax on almost everything they buy. Donald Trump would never advocate that. He’s far too left wing.)

Who will win? Bernie? Joe? Donald? Absolutely nobody knows, and that’s just the way we like it. That much we know for certain. And you’ve only got to wait in line for around eight months to find out.

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