November 3 is about one man only: Donald Trump. Whoever competes against him is of secondary importance. This reading of the US presidential election is widespread, and given the chaos and state of excitement Trump has brought to his country, it can be seen that way. Either a majority of Americans are fed up with Trump and want to get rid of him, or things turn out differently and he will be re-elected.
But this lecture underestimates the role Joe Biden plays. It was no coincidence that the 77-year-old former vice president, who has been in politics for decades and is respected by many, became a Democratic Party candidate. The choice for him was a conscious choice for an experienced bridge builder: for someone on whom as many voters as possible can agree – within the very heterogeneous party, but also outside it. And also for someone who can build a bridge to the next political generation. Because he is able to give the exhausted country a much needed reprieve.
The contrast between the hyperactive Donald Trump and the serious, often unspectacular Joe Biden, the Americans can experience this Thursday at the last TV duel. Especially when Biden remains as calm as he did with the two TV “Town Halls” held at the same time last week. Those who changed channels alternated between tension and relaxation, between noisy spectacle and sometimes boring political politics.
The desire for the latter, which is Trump’s “merit,” has grown exponentially in many cases over the past four years. The idea that the “Disruptor in Chief” would be followed by the next revolutionary sounded overly ambitious even before Corona. In the face of the pandemic, the desire for normalcy, to focus on the essentials, has grown even greater. Joe Biden is the perfect candidate for this: despite his age and manageable rhetorical finesse.
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Perhaps his greatest skill is listening. And that he knows best to gather around him. Not every leader can tolerate good people around him that could possibly overshadow him. Joe Biden does not shy away from this risk, on the contrary: he uses it to his advantage. This clearly shows that his former boss Barack Obama would step into the ring for him on Wednesday.
Just like the wise decision to choose Kamala Harris as vice-presidential candidate. And the fact that Bernie Sanders is now committed to drumming for him with the party on the left also shows that Biden’s nomination was a good choice: the party was not that united for a long time. That was not obvious. You have to remind this now and then.
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What Biden could do with this support, if he won within 12 days, remains to be seen. Also how constructively a potentially humiliated Republican party will act. But a cabinet in which experience and future visions and a wide range of political views can be found is an exciting idea. You can almost assume that Biden would try to get a moderate Republican involved.
His claim to bring the country back together is more than just a rhetorical phrase. Just like the promise that decency and morality should once again become guidelines for political action. However, one question many are asking themselves today is whether the country wants to be brought together at all. The formation of the camp and the speechlessness between the two parties are gigantic. Joe Biden can also fail. But with him, there is a candidate who has made building bridges a top priority. After four years of division, America at least has the chance to do things differently in the future.