Who should the Democrats have nominated for President?

It was never about Joe Biden

Michael Greiner
4 min readDec 1, 2020


Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

After the election, some commentators were quick to point out that Joe Biden is likely the only Democrat who could have defeated Trump. After all, the results were far closer in key states than the recent polls had led us to believe.


Defeating Trump, after all, was a national emergency. All hands had to be on deck. Thank God he was defeated. Could we have risked any other result with any other candidate?

To be sure, after running a mediocre primary campaign, Biden ran a nearly flawless general election campaign. The task Biden had, however, was easier than Trump’s. Trump was behind the entire campaign. Biden had to simply not make any mistakes and he would be elected. Mission accomplished.

Indeed, back in February, Quinnipiac University, a B+ rated pollster according to 538, found that Biden was beating Trump 50–43. Trump’s net approval rating was -10. This is certainly not the position an incumbent president wants to be in as he starts his re-election campaign. And according to the polling averages of both 538 and Real Clear Politics, Biden held onto that lead throughout the campaign. Indeed, the numbers only got worse for him as the campaign wore on.

In fact, the only time when Trump actually seemed to make any progress was in April and May, right as the coronavirus was leading to the first lockdowns. At that time, the country was likely willing to give Trump the chance to show leadership. His failure to do so resulted in another collapse of his numbers shortly thereafter.

That same poll back in February, however, showed another interesting result. It showed that every Democratic candidate — Bloomberg, Sanders, Klobuchar, Warren, and Buttitieg — every one of them was beating Trump, most by about the same margin or better as Biden.

Could Warren and Sanders have been attacked as socialists? Could Buttitieg have been attacked as too friendly to LGBTQ people? Could Klobuchar have been attacked as being too supportive of Black Lives Matter? Of course, but Biden was subjected to these attacks as well. They only worked among the people who had already decided to vote for Trump.



Michael Greiner

Mike is an Assistant Professor of Management for Legal and Ethical Studies at Oakland U. Mike combines his scholarship with practical experience in politics.