When analyzing 2020 candidates, one word seems to come up frequently: electability. It has been the cornerstone of several candidates’ arguments for why they can beat President Donald Trump in the upcoming election. It is, in fact, most of Joe Biden’s campaign strategy.
Electability seems necessary; a candidate who has the best likelihood of winning is the smartest choice. But electability has some huge problems.
Electability doesn’t mean anything. In America, the most electable candidates are usually the old white guys. These candidates, however, stick out early in the primaries and fade into the background once the race gets thinner.
It also nullifies the legitimacy of female and minority candidates while propping up white males running for office. It diminishes the desire for new ideas, as moderates with experience in office are considered more electable than young or more progressive candidates.
The last two American presidents disprove electability. Barack Obama was a minority candidate, and it seemed like America wasn’t going to elect him when he was polling several points behind Hillary Clinton early in the 2008 election.
The same idea can be applied to Donald Trump. As a far-right, non-traditional and volatile candidate, he wasn’t taken seriously until late in the Republican primaries. In the summer of 2015, he wasn’t considered a front-runner for the GOP nomination.
Nonetheless, both of those men ultimately won the election.
The Democratic Party is making the same mistakes it made in 2016. Hillary Clinton was easily more electable than Trump, until she wasn’t. Bernie Sanders’ radical economic ideas may scare some, but looking back, it’s easy to see that Sanders should have been given the same attention as Clinton.
The revolutionist angry old man scared away the DNC. The same trope, although veiled in racism rather than democratic socialism, was used by Trump, and the Republican National Convention saw opportunity in it.
Electability has the potential to cause stagnation in politics. In comparison to candidates like Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris or Pete Buttigieg, Biden is simply obsolete. His goals and ideologies don’t line-up with most of the current Democratic base.
Those candidates all offer fresh faces, new ideas and progressive ideals Democrats so desperately need. The 2020 field is full of the best the party has to offer, and only the very best will have to win the nomination to defeat Trump.
Because many of the other front-runners are women, minorities, progressives or some other disqualifying attribute, Biden remains the front runner. Until ideas like electability are taken less seriously or thrown out, Democrats could potentially relive 2016 all over again.
Noah Wright is a junior studying strategic communications at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Noah? Tweet him @NoahCampaign.