After months of uncertainty and speculation, Joe Biden officially became the Democratic Party’s nominee for President last night.
The Democratic Party did its best to make the final night absolutely unwatchable, with awkward and childish jokes from Julia Louis-Dreyfus, a Zoom call between former presidential candidates that Biden beat, lackluster speeches from other politicians – folks like Tammy Baldwin, who have all the charisma of an unseasoned turkey burger – but in the end it was Biden’s speech that people will remember.
And even then, they won’t remember much.
While some of the things Biden said came across very well – the emotional lines about losing loved ones, and the sincere affection he has for his wife, Jill – the parts about policy and Trump came off as robotic and cold, and because these were layered without any real transition between them, at times the difference in his presentation was jarring.
The speech wasn’t bad, mind you, but it was at times very boring. Joe Biden is at his absolute best when he is connecting with his audience emotionally. He is great at connecting, using his life experiences and his friendly demeanor to reach people and convince them to stay a while and listen. Where he loses his audience is when he talks shop, giving a laundry list of policy items right in the middle of the speech with almost no emotion at all.
That is what makes Biden’s candidacy so risky, though. He is, at best, glitchy when it comes to getting passionate about the policies his administration will be pushing. At one point, he seemed angry when talking about the state of the country, but the anger didn’t feel that real, as though someone tried to hit the “angry” button and it jammed a bit before actually engaging.
Compare that to Trump. The current President comes across as passionate about the issues his base cares about, to the point of almost going overboard with it. It’s almost the opposite with Biden, who has to try real hard to seem passionate about those issues, and then it sputters a bit before he returns to the things he’s good at. Trump has a deep love for his party’s base, and is willing to go to bat for them – for better or worse – and he is capable of making them feel like he cares about their issues.
If Biden could run his campaign entirely on the blue-collar vote and military families, I have zero doubt he could persuade a lot of people to vote for him. But the Democratic base is simply not interested in that. So, he has to talk about things like corporate taxes and climate change, and issues like that don’t come naturally to him. There are not many people in the political world who dislike him as a person. He is an old-school guy. He wants to talk to you, get to know you, and try to win you over with friendship. That’s why so many people have liked him for decades.
The amount of anger that a large portion of the Democratic base seems to have these days is simply something he can’t seem to wrap his head around. He is forced, then, to try and act like he is as passionate about some of those things as they are, but it doesn’t come across as genuine.
That’s where the teleprompter was his saving grace, though. Despite how awkwardly he got through those pieces of the speech, the teleprompter kept him moving along so he didn’t get hung up on it. How he’ll handle those things in future debates will be interesting, at best.
If the Left had a version of the old Breitbart “happy warrior” mentality, it would be guys like Biden. That would be, I think, his best path to victory. He would have been a great nominee for a Democratic Party that existed before 2008. But now? I am not sure that the Biden of today really represents the Democratic Party of today.