Former Vice-President Joe Biden currently leads all potential Democratic candidates in polling for the 2020 Presidential Race.
America’s erstwhile second-in-command has been in the road promoting his new book, and may have dealt his Presidential hopes a crushing blow in doing so.
Speaking to the LA Times’ Pat Morrison, Biden said:
“The younger generation now tells me how tough things are. Give me a break. No, no, I have no empathy for it.”
While Biden may have been speaking specifically to the general apathy millennial Americans have with regard to mid-term and off-year elections, his comments betray something far more troubling: a sense that the nation’s younger citizens are just complaining without doing anything.
Biden’s remarks showcase the same lack of understanding which contributed to the Democrats’ loss in November. He, like former Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, thinks that things were mostly okay before the election of Donald Trump. The economy was booming, the Affordable Care Act had seen huge decreases in the number of uninsured Americans, and unemployment was at its lowest level since the beginning of the Great Recession.
Here’s the thing, though, Joe:
As great as things may be for Wall Street, the rises in GDP, the Dow average, and the S&P 500 don’t help those of us who can’t invest. We’re too busy scrimping every penny we can to occasionally have more than discount chicken, canned vegetables, and rice for our one meal a day.
While the ACA has been tremendously beneficial for many, the individual mandate simply means that most of us just say goodbye to tax returns. We can’t afford hundreds more a month while bearing the burden of crippling student loan debt.
Joe Biden has been in government service for over three decades. In that time, manufacturing has disappeared, income inequality has skyrocketed, and worker wages have become completely decoupled from productivity. Millennial voters have a vast amount of debt, little access to healthcare, and dimming employment prospects.
For Biden to say flatly that he has no empathy for these problems is problematic at the least, a deal-breaker at worst.
Perhaps establishment Democrats like Biden are counting on collective anti-Trump mania to cleave Millennials to them. Perhaps they think that they can get away with continuing to tinker around the edges of the very real problems facing America’s inheritors. As someone who does not want to see Donald Trump re-elected, part of me hopes that they are right. The other part expects that only an electoral shellacking resulting from millennials staying home will wake the party up.
Either way, Joe Biden made a serious mistake. If the priority of the Democratic Party is to regain control of Washington in 2018 and 2020, then alienating the largest voting block in the country is most certainly the wrong way to go about it.