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Uncle Joe joins the race

Susan Estrich on

There's hope for those of you 75 or over.

There is still time to be president of the United States. After all, Biden would be 78 at the inauguration. Bernie Sanders, his elder, would be 79. An 80-year-old in the White House? And, of course, Trump, should he win again, would be a youthful 74.

I like Joe Biden. Most people who have been around Democratic politics for a while do. He is a good guy. He treats people well. He has enormous empathy. He loves this country. He surrounds himself with people of enormous talent.

He would be a far, far better president than Donald Trump.

But can he beat him?

Can he even win the Democratic nomination?

 

Biden's entry in the race puts many middle-aged Democrats between a rock and a hard place.

The 20- and 30-somethings don't have this problem. They simply can't understand why Biden, a two-time loser who ran for president at the right age, should now be more desirable because he will be in his 80s. They might vote for him against Trump -- if they vote. But against younger or more liberal candidates? Not likely. "Why is he even running?" they ask.

Of course, it has long been the rule in electoral politics that the younger you are, the less likely you are to vote. But that is not necessarily true in caucuses and even primaries. Young people form the backbone of most primary-campaign organizations. Remember how annoyed the Hillary Clinton campaign was at all the young women who were working for Sanders, and how totally off-tune it was to suggest that the young women were interested in the young men who surrounded Sanders, not Sanders. Condescension? Arrogance? Insulting? All of the above.

It was the kind of thing you might say if you're in your 60s or 70s. And you would be wrong.

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