Politics

Biden: Democrats Will Return to the Same Old Voices

Vice president says party old guard won't be moving over in wake of 2016 clobbering

In the wake of Democrats’ historic shutout from government at the hands of voters demanding change, the party’s vision will be set by four party elders who together total nearly 120 years in federal elected office — at least according to Vice President Joe Biden.

During a Sunday interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the vice president discussed how the Democratic Party plans to rebuild after a stunning rebuke on Nov. 8. After the sweeping rejection of the business-as-usual attitude of the Washington Establishment at the hands of voters, Biden suggested the Democrats will resist change. President Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Biden will continue to set the course for their party from Washington.

“I think 2018 is going to be a very good year for the Democrats, because now these guys are going to have to say, not generically, ‘Make America better,’ [but] ‘Here’s how I’m going to make America better.'”

“Well, like after every presidential election where the party loses, there is no single leader,” Biden said. “There are voices that hopefully will be heard.”

But those “voices” Biden anticipates taking the lead are likely to steer the Democratic Party back to the same old policies that voters have rejected.

“Hopefully, I’ll be able to have a voice in the direction of the party. The president of the United States will. Obviously, Chuck Schumer will. Obviously, Nancy Pelosi will. There [are] going to be governors that will emerge,” Biden said. “So it’s a contest of ideas of which direction to take the party.”

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Obama, Biden, Schumer, and Pelosi together have a combined 118 years in federal elected office.

“I think 2018 is going to be a very good year for the Democrats, because now these guys are going to have to say, not generically, ‘Make America better,’ [but] ‘Here’s how I’m going to make America better,'” Biden said.

Biden was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1973 and served there until he ran alongside Obama in his successful 2008 presidential bid. Schumer has served in the House and Senate for a total of 35 years.

And as for Pelosi, who has served in the House for 29 years, her recent re-election victory as the House minority leader against Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan provides further proof that the Democratic Party has little inclination to let new faces rise to the front — despite Ryan’s warnings.

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“Now, we’re not even a national party. We’re a coastal party, and we’ve got to move forward,” Ryan said in November during an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.” “We’re losing all over the board. We’ve got to start something new and start fresh.”

But “fresh” is not what Biden — or the 134 House Democrats who voted against 63 members to re-elect Pelosi — seems to anticipate for the party’s future.

Clinton’s former primary challenger, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, also warned against Democratic complacency following Trump’s victory.

“And some people may not agree with me, but that is the fight we’re going to have right now in the Democratic Party,” Sanders told Boston Magazine. “The working class of this country is being decimated. That’s why Donald Trump won.”

Unless the Democrats do some serious soul-searching, learn to reconnect with working Americans, and open the way for rising stars, then 2018 and 2020 might not be the “very good” years that Biden anticipates.

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