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Jakarta Post

Reform, revolution or bust

  • Editorial Board

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, March 9, 2020   /   08:05 am
Reform, revolution or bust This combination of pictures created on Monday shows Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden delivers remarks at his primary night election event in Columbia, South Carolina. Democratic presidential hopeful Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders gestures as he speaks during a rally at Valley High School in Santa Ana, California, Feb. 21, 2020. - (AFP/JIM WATSON and RINGO CHIU)

When voters in six states cast their ballots in the United States Democratic Party primaries on Tuesday, they will have an easier time deciding between former vice president Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Only a week ago, the picture was more complicated for voters with so many running as candidates, raising concerns that the race would be far from settled even after Super Tuesday, the single-day event when voters in large number states cast their ballots.

Super Tuesday, however, has served its purpose well. After spending almost half a billion dollars on a presidential campaign only to win in American Samoa, billionaire Michael Bloomberg decided to drop out of the race, backing centrist candidate Biden.

The same went for South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, after learning there was no path for them to win the nomination. Both candidates decided to throw their weight behind former vice president Biden, who is ideologically closer to them.

After hanging on for some time, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren also decided to quit the race. Warren has held back from endorsing Sanders or Biden. But even if she finally decided to back one of them, she could certainly win praise for her part in demolishing the chances of former New York mayor Bloomberg.

In two fierce debates, Warren shone a scrutinizing spotlight on Bloomberg’s sexist statements and conducts
both in private and public life, undermining his credibility as a candidate that could take on incumbent President Donald Trump, also known for his misogynistic behavior.

So, American electorates are faced with a multilayered conundrum, right up until November, when both Democratic and Republican Party supporters cast their ballots to decide their country's president for 2020-2024.

For the Democrats, leading up to the National Convention in July, they will have to deal with the age issue because Biden will be 77 years old in November, while Sanders, at 78, is not exactly at the ideal age for anyone to hold the world’s most important job. Trump, by comparison, would be much younger at 73 in November.

Then there's the tough job of having to make the consequential decision of voting between two candidates who are so diametrically opposed to one another that even when one figure comes out on top, the party’s unity would be at risk.

Sanders, with his idea of a political revolution, if elected, could enact a sweeping change in the US. His idea for Medicare for All could surely mean a huge expansion of the Federal government, which would definitely result in a Republican backlash if not a revolution.

Biden, on the other hand, would only take incremental steps in reforming the American economy and politics, which in the long run may have little impact.

Yet with his ability to attract white, working-class voters, Biden could certainly be a safe bet in the bid to oust Trump.

Good luck, American voters. We're counting on you.