Round One

Round One


Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

When Joe Biden came up bat on Thursday night the bases were loaded. He only needed to single in one run to declare the Democratic National Convention a success. The former Vice President and now Democratic nominee, however, hit a grand slam home run.  The party and the nation had spent three nights watching some outstanding hitters come up to the plate. Opening night was topped with off with the former First Lady Michelle Obama’s passionate speech. The next night saw Joe Biden’s wife present a beautiful picture of the human side of the nominee. On the third night, former President Barack Obama gave a direct, no-holes barred attack on President Trump followed by an equally fierce denunciation of Trump by the Vice-Presidential nominee, Senator Kamala Harris. Batting clean-up Biden had everything set up for him. Joe Biden didn’t just squeeze in the winning run, he knocked the ball out of the park.

His address never mentioned the President by name and focused on the condition that the nation now finds itself. He empathized with suffering and grieving Americans and tried to share their pain.  Most important was that Biden offered out his hand to all, not only to Democrats but to all Americans. He was positive and constructive not vicious and ugly. He wanted all citizens to let him into their home so he could hear their plight, assess their needs, and try to solve the nations four crises: the pandemic, jobs lost, social justice, and the environment.

For those observers who feared a party take-over from the progressive wing the Democrats kept them more than at bay. Senator Bernie Sanders seemed so excited at the prospect of defeating the President–especially when Senator Corey Booker interviewed all of Biden’s earlier rivals–that he was not interested in talking issues at all. This undoubtedly will be the Biden theme. The party has a range of ideas, but he will govern the way he always has conducted himself, from the moderate center-left. Ideas will keep him honest and open to viewpoints, but getting things done will be what counts.

The Biden team knows that this week could get very ugly. It is likely that the Democratic nominees will lay low in a more traditional mode while Republicans hold their convention. The one exception might be if there are blatant personal attacks which Biden and Harris will rebut. Overall, they will come out of the gate after the GOP conventions concludes, prepared for the brutal next ten weeks of the campaign.

They know the first debate, which is the one that most analysts believe is critical, will be on September 29. Biden needs to keep his poll numbers firm after a probably small bounce following this week. The Democrats need to gain increased support in the Hispanic community; get the suburban voters, men and women, to come and have a virtual cup of coffee with Joe; and solidify the Black turnout. He needs more voters than ever to recognize the crises in America and come out to vote and if they prefer by mail, early, and soon.

This week the Republicans get their turn. Biden needs to let the media and Trump address each other and not he needs to restrain from becoming an actual party in the conversation. There will to reply and rebut later.

read more: