Or how millennials learned to compromise
Often in life, we don’t get what we want. Sometimes we don’t get close, and other times, we get the result of a group decision. Take eating out with friends (remember when we did that?) If you have 4 friends going out to lunch, it is unlikely that anyone will get their preferred restaurant. You’ve got a 1 in 4 chance they pick yours and a good chance that you pick somewhere else entirely. If the competition is between Mexican, Asian, burgers, and pizza, invariably someone “had Chinese last night” or “is eating pizza at work tomorrow,” and that’s how you end up at Chipotle. You can apply the same thing to deciding delivery. The point is this: compromise is key.
This election cycle, the democrats had to do some compromising. Much like Republican voters failed to do in 1964, resulting in the Barry Goldwater nomination, which proved disastrous, democrats didn’t go for a hard-line candidate. Let’s face facts: no one wanted Joe Biden. He entered the race and was never a major candidate even going into the Iowa caucuses, where he placed a distant 3rd. Joe Biden didn’t seal the deal until South Carolina. Before that, it was a jockeying position between Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar (remember the hot dish?). And then Joe Biden won in South Carolina, popped in the polls, made hay on Super Tuesday, and 2 weeks ago, secured the democratic nomination for President. Most folks thought we were headed into a brokered convention with Sanders and others forming alliances to get the 1991 votes needed to secure the nomination.
There was no brokered convention. The nomination of Joe Biden was a sedate affair, none the least of which because of Covid-19 but also because by the time the convention happened, he was well past the delegate threshold. There was no need for any negotiating. Biden was going to get his nomination. Getting Kamala Harris to join the ticket was a good idea. Younger, black/south Asian, and popular, she was the sort of person that many dared hope he would pick.
This is the election where millennials (who are bumping up against 40) learned to compromise. After Biden won South Carolina and democrats started dropping out (having seen the writing on the wall), many progressives, many of whom are of my generation, began to complain on Twitter. “Sanders is the only answer,” they cried, “Biden means nothing will change,” and my favorite, “The Democrats are screwing over progressives again!” It would have been nice to have Bernie Sanders on the top of the ticket. It would be nice for the democratic party to embrace every progressive policy fully, but many progressives don’t fully realize that it is tough to win on those policies once you get off the coasts. Try selling Medicare for All in Michigan.
After the disaster that was the first debate, the case for Biden improved. Before the debate, many democrats were still disgruntled. The nomination of Biden was as sedate as his nomination thanks to Covid-19. The virtual convention was stripped down and virtual, with delegates attending virtually and the votes being collected via video.
The Biden nomination left many democrats dissatisfied. Even those who were not looking for a hard-line progressive were dissatisfied with the Biden nomination. However, once black voters in the South had spoken, the situation was clear. It wasn’t as if the party didn’t field enough candidates, but none of them seemed to woo voters properly. Everyone seemed to have some problem, or something voters weren’t connecting with. Buttigieg was too young and inexperienced. No one really knew who Cory Booker was, Kamala Harris, although now the VP nominee, backtracked on healthcare and after an early break out lead fell in the polls. The rest were fighting for air time, and no one could get traction. Most folks on the left are so desperate to get rid of President Trump that “vote blue no matter who” began to trend. At some point, voters didn’t want to pick their candidate; they just wanted to know who to vote for.
However, for many younger Millennials and now Gen Z voters, they have left this process deeply dissatisfied. In a world where our phones, cars, and even our apps are custom to us and our preferences, any folks under 40 have gotten used to getting what they want, when they want it (often with 2-day shipping), but that doesn’t jive with the realities of American politics. Why couldn’t get they get their candidate? Why didn’t everyone understand that the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and other progressive policies were the way forward? The reality of politics is that compromise is key. Compromise is how things get done. Millions of voters decide who a presidential nominee is, and that means that the result is going to be some middle ground between what most of the major factions of the party really want. The biggest problem is that Millennials will now have to choose between holding their noses and voting for Joe Biden (as they chose not to do for Ms. Clinton in 2016) or possibly living with 4 more years of Trump. Compromise?