The author and lawyer João Taborda da Gama wrote, some two years ago, that "the saving courage to persevere in moderation is, in the end, the only way to accomplish any revolution". In American politics, this is what we saw this Tuesday. The Democratic Party, an advocate of national change and in need of a change of its own, chose to persevere in moderation to bring about these changes. The face of this moderation was Joe Biden, whose biography is truly a saga of perseverance. A stuttering kid who saw himself – but couldn't hear himself – doing politics, a husband who was widowed and lost a daughter at 30, a father who saw another son die at a young age, whose excesses of physical tenderness are visibly displaced from the time when lives, whose genuineness as a shape is an unstoppable engine of gaffes.
But it is not just in personality that Biden seems to have emerged from another decade. As a senator, he was a promoter of consensus and did not fail to remind them at the time of polarization. With Joe Biden, it is impossible to separate the political figure from personal history, from loss. He is a man who transformed every moment of tragedy into a force of faith or, as Gama wrote, saving courage. And he is the same man whose campaign slipped for weeks into irrelevance, with few donations, few people in states essential to the primaries, without Buttigieg's youth and novelty or Sanders' movement and organization. As always, adversity motivated overcoming. In this election, both went hand in hand with Biden once again. What happened, however? A tremendous victory in South Carolina, some mistakes by others and a lot of party pragmatism.
Pragmatism was seen the day before. With Sanders' crescendo and Biden's initial difficulties, the Democratic Party formed a coalition of moderates around Obama's former vice president. Amy Kloubuchar and Pete Buttigieg, protagonists of good campaigns and television debates, gave up the day before the vote, declaring their support. Joe Biden's triumph on super Tuesday is also theirs.
As for the errors, we could almost summarize them to Bernie Sanders, who lost the favoritism that he had accumulated in delegates, support and among the workers. The first mistake was strategic, as explained Ezra Klein, insofar as Sanders harassed the Democrats to such an extent that it made any reconciliation impossible if he won the nomination of a party that, after all, was never his.
The second mistake was ironic. It may not be immediate, but there are few things as inconsistent as a radical. Usually, those who most desire to contrast with something end up resembling what they intended to antagonize. Bernie Sanders, an undoubtedly anti-Trump candidate, ended up involved in the same controversies that characterized Donald Trump's campaign in 2016: attacks on the reference press, opacity in relation to his medical health, applause for autocratic regimes, favoring Russian servers and a undeniable populism in its message. Bernie's candidacy “it’s us against everyone” could be a tweet from Donald Trump.
Biden's victory last Tuesday was more than a sign of change; it was an appeal to decency that told us, returning to the words of the principle, that the only way to carry out any revolution is to persevere in moderation, that in an era of populism and implosion of the center, civility is capable of heroism, charisma, electoral adherence and, more than that, authenticity, distance from contradiction by tolerance of the other – to the different, to the “adversary who can never be an enemy”. Let's see if it arrives.