‘I Am the Democratic Party’

Wonder Land: Amazing that just five words from the debate may tip voters who are undecided between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Images: Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

So declared Joe Biden at Tuesday night’s debate as he tried to parry President Trump’s charge that he will be a false front man for the Democratic Party’s increasingly dominant left. But for a man who says he’s in charge, the former Vice President sure is reluctant to say what he believes in.

His first duck and cover came early in the debate when moderator Chris Wallace asked if he’d support the party’s increasingly vocal demands to eliminate the Senate’s legislative filibuster and then pack the Supreme Court.

Mr. Biden: “Whatever position I take on that, that’ll become the issue. The issue is the American people should speak. You should go out and vote. We’re in voting now, vote and let your Senators know how strongly you feel.”

Mr. Biden was trying to change the subject back to the confirmation of Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. But that is a separate question. What voters want to know is what he’ll do about the filibuster and High Court if he’s elected.

Mr. Trump: “Are you going to pack the Court?”

Mr. Biden: “Vote now.”

Mr. Trump: “Are you going to pack the Court?”

Mr. Biden: “Make sure you, in fact, let people know, your Senators.”

Mr. Trump: “He doesn’t want to answer the question.”

Mr. Biden: “I’m not going to answer the question.”

Mr. Trump: “Why wouldn’t you answer that question? You want to put a lot of new Supreme Court Justices. Radical left.”

Mr. Biden: “Will you shut up, man.”

The former Veep never did answer. But his party certainly has, including his close allies. Barack Obama has called the filibuster a “relic of Jim Crow” that has to go. His former Delaware Senate colleague, Chris Coons, has also endorsed removing the 60-vote rule to pass legislation if Democrats take the Senate. And Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that “everything is on the table” if Republicans confirm Judge Barrett this year.

This means that with a simple majority Democrats could add Justices to the Court and add Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., as states of the union. These ideas were once fringe in the Democratic Party, but they’ve gone mainstream along with single-payer health care and a 100% green-energy mandate. Shouldn’t Mr. Biden at least have a view on the filibuster he supported in the Senate for 36 years?

Millions of voters dislike Mr. Trump’s divisive behavior in office, but their fear about Mr. Biden is that he’ll refuse to stand up to pressure from the left. That’s no doubt why he said Tuesday that “the platform of the Democratic Party is what I, in fact, approved of” and “the party is me.” But if he won’t tell voters that he’s willing to stand up to his party on something as radical as Court-packing, maybe that’s because he really is a figurehead.

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Appeared in the October 1, 2020, print edition.

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