Sunday night is your night to test drive — OK, test watch — your man of la gramófono and the next Democratic nominee for president.
Regardless of how spectacular his brain synapses misfire.
As such, Joe Biden, whose shortcomings are blinking like lights on emergency vehicles, will summon another rush of vigor.
He might recall for us the things he did as president.
He’ll certainly release a stream of impressive, full-bore “ain’t so’s” to accusations of sexism.
Until, that is, Jake Tapper pulls rank on fellow CNN moderator Dana Bash and Univision’s Ilia Calderon to tell Joe that’s not Pocahontas he’s addressing. It’s the walking-wounded Burlington wonder, Bernie Sanders.
“He’s debating you tonight, Mr. Vice President,” Mr. Tapper will intone. “It’s just you and he, mano a mano. I know, I know, you wanna take it outside.”
While this tête-à-tête unfolds, Sen. Sanders’ very first debate tormentor, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, will be war-dancing around her living room TV, watching and deciding which of the warriors to let toke her peace pipe.
She and the rest of field just didn’t have the accumulated delegates to make it this time.
And this time, the stage will be at CNN’s Washington headquarters. Moved from Arizona. No audience. No spin room. No Wuhan virus.
What could go wrong in Washington?
You know, like Nixon vs. Kennedy a million years ago when there was also no audience, spin room or virulent virus on the lurk.
The two debaters and their quizzers will make the current pandemic Sunday’s hot topic.
They will, like puppies born in the same litter, utter the current politically correct labels: “novel coronavirus” and the World Health Organization’s official exercise in PC zaniness, “COVID-19.”
They’ll call it every name but “Wuhan” or “Chinese.”
The two presidential pretenders will fight over who can dump more garbage on President Trump’s coronavirus responses.
But hang in. At some point Bernie will reprise his pre-Michigan primary debate last month by reminding us why Democratic voters have been steadily streaming from him to Mr. Biden.
Last month, Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked Mr. Sanders during a Fox Town Hall, “If you had to, would you close down the borders?”
“No,” Mr. Sanders said.
The forthright Mr. Sanders will again twist border closing, even to stem a killer pandemic, into the three things he did last month:
An act inspired by racism, a fear-of-strangers and — to his way of thinking, the worst — a desire to keep America’s Enlightenment culture the way its founders had created it.
Mr. Sanders thus showed why he’s a man who holds his principles so dear that he should be president.
Just not of the United States.
Rather, of some country that that puts the preservation of its people second to its leader’s principles.
And does that regardless how reckless and suicidal the implementation of said principles might be.
Even in this national health emergency we are facing.
But then Mr. Biden never met a principle — anybody’s principle — he didn’t like, if he thought it useful.
Mr. Biden does share something with President Trump. The fans of each trust their man and dismiss his human frailties.
They certainly forgive Mr. Biden his gaffes and pedestrian thoughts.
What’s unique to the former vice president is that his staunchest support is among the most important Democratic party constituency — voters of African descent.
They love him because they trust him, in part because he and President Obama had a genuine and public friendship over their eight years in office.
In the eyes of Americans of African descent, Mr. Biden gets it when it comes to their needs and aspirations.
Older white voters also trust Mr. Biden to be what he says he is.
Just likable Joe.
So what passes now for traditional Democrats see him as a nice guy who has to talk radical left a times, you know, in a nomination fight. But who is, well, our reliable true-blue Democrat. Our Uncle Joe from Delaware.
If he keeps to the short leash his campaign now has him on — 13-minute campaign speeches, few interviews — he may not make that dreaded campaign-ending snafu.
If so, he’ll be he nominee. And be the best gift the Democratic party ever gave an incumbent Republican president.
That Republican president, Donald J. Trump, has actually changed his party, his country and the world.
And done so in more ways and more profoundly and for he better than the former senator from Delaware could ever dream of doing.
But there was a worse prospect for Democrats than sometimes wobbly old Joe turning in a lackluster general-election performance.
The worse prospect was the fear that if Sen. Sanders actually won the nomination, he would continue promising to remove the imperfections of capitalism by destroying it.
And with it the jobs and living standards the system produces.
Still the envy of the world.
The people who in charge the Democrats flame figure that Bernie’s burn would keep Democratic voters at home and cause huge election causalities among Democratic legislators and would-be lawmakers.
This country still loves capitalism, with all its shortcoming, as much as when Eugene V. Debs made five presidential runs on the Socialist party ticket.
Mr. Debs managed to corral an all-time high of 915,000 votes in the 1920 elections.
Republican Warren G. Harding won that election with 19 million votes compared to Democrat James Cox’s 16 million.
Mr. Trump has vowed no wins for socialism while he’s around and in charge. Or for the Wuhan virus.
Americans never set their table for socialism. And Mr. Trump isn’t setting a place for the virus either.
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