Joe Biden Introduces Himself
Yes, he was in the Senate for more than 35 years, and President Obama’s Vice President for 8. But we’re not sure he’s front-of-mind yet for many voters. And we think he knows that too.
On the day of the last day of the Democratic National Convention, we happened to be speaking with a friend. About something else entirely. Liberal leaning, college educated. Yet they had no impression of the Democratic candidate beyond “I don’t like his vibe”. We asked on what they were basing that. Answer: “To be honest, I don’t know anything about him.” And we suspect this person we happened to be speaking with is not the only one who hasn’t really given Biden more than passing thought or attention if any at all. Much less getting excited about voting for him.
On the other hand, everybody knows Trump. And that gives him a huge head start. And we’re not talking about the typical advantages of being an incumbent. Just that Trump’s very good at seeding the message that he’s President and he’s going to be President and that’s that. Almost an immutable fact, regardless of how you may regard him.
Did one speech change that at all? We don’t know. But it did convince us that Biden’s well aware of all that, and is proceeding on a very deliberate track to raise his profile among non-political junkies, and lift up their energy level too, by trying to get it to match his own passion. But actually doing that may be a tall order.
So while his powerful, very personal, and yes passionate acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention was certainly intended to get people fired-up about voting for him, we might not be quite there yet. It was, maybe, more about getting people to know him. Offering up his basic decency, and some very solid ideas, as an alternative to bedlam. That can just kind of grow on voters until choosing him seems like a really good idea, not an imperative imposed upon them. (When we volunteered for Hillary Clinton’s campaign last time around, in Pennsylvania, the #1 reason people gave us for not voting for Hillary was that they felt they were being “forced” to vote for her.)
“We can overcome this season of darkness.”