On Joe’s butterfly effect and why it is finally his time – for him and us

16-5-19

Dear Partners in thought, 

On September 2015, I was sitting at a mini-Davos discussion table led by the then editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy who, answering my question as to whether Joe Biden would finally run, even late, in 2016, said flatly “No, not with Beau’s death”. Beau Biden, Joe’s son and Attorney General of Delaware had died in May of that year of brain cancer at age 46. The shock was too great and the focus on winning not there. Putting aside the human tragedy, this was the little yet realised case of the greatest Butterfly effect (a “small” localised event – if I may say with all respect in this case – with huge consequences globally) in US history. If Joe Biden had joined the primaries, he may have won against Hillary Clinton in an admittedly challenging “sewn up machine” contest and more importantly Donald Trump might not be in the White House. 

A President Biden would have offered America a steady leadership style, the values that made that country what it is and the world would keep going, with its ups and downs, in a largely multilateral way. There would have been no special investigation, no daughter and son in law as close advisers. His team would have been filled with experienced and dedicated public servants and not loyal political zealots. The noises of war, trade and real, would not be there as diplomats could and would do their jobs. The list is long. 

Joe Biden is now back and effortlessly leading the pack of an increasingly long list of Democratic contenders, many of whom threw their hat in the ring to be noticed for the future or with an eye on the ticket. Joe likely would not have run if Trump was not in the White House but felt compelled to do out of public service and to get back things on track for America and the world. 

While it is too soon to extrapolate anything certain, Joe, who is the most known contender, should win the nomination for several reasons as follows:

– He has the most leadership experience of any primary contenders. 

– He is a true and tested public servant at a time when they are rare. 

– He has never taken advantage of his various positions to enrich himself. 

– He is a decent and genuine man at heart whom people from all walks of life can relate to.

– He has blue collar roots and learned politics from the bottom of the ladder.  

– He is very human, prone to gaffes, though never mean-spirited (even if he should work on these and adjust to our times) 

People say that he cannot win simply as being “against Trump” and what he represents. I would agree though Joe’s stance is not so much against Trump (it is for sure) as it is for universal American values of decency, fair game, leadership we all like, win-win, optimism, hard work and betterment. Joe is for a return to what America had been for seventy years, really making America great again (without the silly red cap). Even if other candidates offer more radical thinking and solutions the time now is about reassurance. Joe is the indispensable candidate today. He should win the Democratic primary.    

Winning against Trump will never be easy given the direct and indirect brainwashing process of some of the electorate and the sound state of the economy, the latter which may change as we near 2020 (not that we should rejoice on this point). However it should be noted that Trump is most worried about Joe (he may not want that fight in the barn after all) and would pray to have a true left wing Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren in the final contest. 

I believe (and hope too) that Joe would defeat Trump in the final race though the ticket will be key. It needs to be quality-based with the right “dosage” which we know is a real art. As you know I like bets (you have not forgotten the “Second Referendum” which I predicted six months ago, haven’t you? Keep watching). I will go for a Biden-Harris ticket. Kamala Harris offers the perfect partnership in terms of gender, ethnicity, age, West coast location and former AG profile while by and large matching Joe’s humanity. This is the winning ticket which would also allow Joe to go for one or two terms depending on his own plans and would propel the first woman in the White House. 

Warmest regards,

Serge

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