Who’s Running the Country? – Daniel Greenfield 7/8/24

Source: GatestoneInstitute.org

The 2016 presidential election was going to come down to two candidates, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, whose ‘turns’ had come. And then Donald J Trump rode down an escalator, took their ‘turn’ and the establishment has never been the same since. Because it was their ‘turn’.

In 2020, it was the ‘turn’ of Joe Biden, a man whose only political credential was that he had stuck around long enough to stick to things, like the Senate and the Vice Presidency.

Now in 2024, it’s Joe Biden’s ‘turn’ again. No one in his party was under the impression that he was the best candidate, the best campaigner or the best president, but damn it, it was his ‘turn’.

And now the Democrats are panicking because the candidate taking his ‘turn’ is imploding.

Biden’s debate meltdown has frightened Democrats, but they still have no answer for how to stop the car accident that everyone else could see coming from miles away. And no good strategy beyond getting the party leaders to confront their candidate and ask him to step down. But how do you take away Biden’s ‘turn’ when turns are the most sacred thing in politics.

It’s not an exclusively Democrat problem. The GOP put up Bob Dole against Bill Clinton and John McCain against Barack Obama because it was their ‘turns’. They let Mitt Romney go up against Obama a second time because it was his ‘turn’. And after Republicans lost two straight presidential elections because they ran establishment candidates taking their ‘turn’, voters were so sick of it that they did what they would have never done before and picked Trump.

Because it wasn’t his ‘turn’.

‘Turn’ politics mostly still rules. Candidates past their prime go up to bat because they have the biggest networks of fellow politicians, donors and party activists. It’s as if Major League Baseball favored players on the basis of seniority and how well they networked, not based on how well they can pitch or hit.

But unlike sports, politics isn’t a meritocracy, it isn’t even a democracy, it’s an oligarchy.

Voters self-importantly think of elections as the big political competition, but that’s like judging companies based on the keynote addresses of their CEOs. Elections are the least important part of politics. All the really important parts of politics happen behind closed doors. What politicians do isn’t run for office, they network, they cut deals and they plan their careers.

That network, which we occasionally call by wholly inadequate names like the “establishment” or “D.C. insiders” is the reason Biden is up again in 2024. And why he can’t be gotten rid of.

People who naively think that Obama is secretly running the Biden administration don’t understand the network or how it works. Obama took on Hillary when it was her ‘turn’ in 2008. He won and brokered a deal that moved the Democrat network further leftward. And he did the same thing again in 2020, bringing in Bernie Sanders’ people and Elizabeth Warren’s people (and his own people) so that the Biden administration is even more radical and extreme than his was.

But where did Obama come from? He came out of that network of radical activists, donors and government personnel now running the country. Obama is not a brilliant genius or one-man dynamo, he was a lazy and unoriginal activist lawyer, one of tens of thousands of Ivy Leaguers who join the political side of the network, who wanted to live out his egotistical ambitions.

And the leftist networks gave him the opportunity to do it in exchange for seeding it deeper across the Democrat Party, the government and the country. Then his time came.

Obama did not want Biden to succeed him. He pushed Biden out in favor of Hillary, and then tried to bring in a surprise candidate to run against him in 2020. But some things are sacred and not even Obama, especially once out of the White House, could take away Biden’s ‘turn’ twice.

It’s not really Biden’s ‘turn’ though. It’s the turn of the strategists, lobbyists, staffers, donors, allies and more nebulous figures known as ‘friends’ whom he accrued over the years. They’re invested in his success, and they’re profiting from it. And they won’t easily give it up….

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