I don’t like to touch presidential politics, but something weird is happening, and I haven’t seen anyone break it down. I’m talking about Joe Biden’s reluctance to ‘lead the Democratic Party.’ Short story: he may want to get rid of Trump — without accelerating party change. And that would explain the following fact pattern:
1. Last Sunday, Biden told Republicans to “vote for me but stay a Republican, because we need a Republican Party.” People got upset.
2. Now there are rumors that Biden would not seek a second term. People wonder why.
3. In November, some data attempted to show what would happen if the United States had five parties. Biden supporters would be in a “Labor Party,” defined as one that supports unions and things that unions like. Many Warren voters were drawn instead to the “Acela Party” — a blend of post-material priorities and good-government progressivism. (Slide deck here.)
4. The Democratic base shows signs of shifting to affluent suburbs. Whether the party should stick with this crew is a recurring source of debate. Most of what I’ve read assumes that doing so means giving up the Rust Belt.
5. Some on the right have been explicit about attracting working-class voters. Part of that strategy is to create an impression of a Democratic Party that is “out of touch” with whatever.
Coming full-circle, all of this explains (to me) why Biden might not want a second term… why he wants Republicans to vote for him without switching parties… and why he says “we need a Republican Party” [add: like the one that used to exist].