3 Reasons Biden Did So Much Worse Than Expected

If you struggle this much against the worst President in American history, you didn’t do a very good job

J.C. Peters
4 min readNov 4, 2020


Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden speaking with supporters at a community event in Henderson, Nevada.
Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden speaking with supporters at a community event at Sun City MacDonald Ranch in Henderson, Nevada. Source: Gage Skidmore

How can it be this close? Tell me you didn’t ask yourself that question last night or when you woke up this morning.

How is it possible that Joe Biden did not win this election in a landslide? And don’t come with vague accusations of white supremacy and disgruntled white working-class men, because Biden also underperformed against Latino voters.

This is a president who has shown no leadership whatsoever during the biggest and most deadly pandemic in a century; who suggested we inject people with disinfectants to cure COVID; who lies so much it’s impossible to keep up; who has been impeached for abuse of power (remember? I know, seems so long ago);who has refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power; who has insulted war heroes, disabled people, immigrants, etc, etc, etc.

How can it be that Joe Biden didn’t blow this guy out of the water?

Three Reasons

One, Biden was not the strongest Democratic candidate. His campaign was lackluster from the beginning, and he was outperformed by both upstart candidate Pete Buttigieg, the young former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and Bernie Sanders. In fact, Biden couldn’t even get past Sanders after he had a heart attack.

But then Biden cashed in on a long-standing political connection in South Carolina, James Clyburn, who essentially crowned him King of the South just in time to kill Sanders’ momentum. Hurray.

Clearly, Democrats need to rethink their primary election system. Because if in an election against an incumbent this terrible, the best person you can come up with is a 77-year-old man who is undisputedly past his prime and almost no one’s favorite candidate, you have a problem.

Two, Biden has not shown a lot of leadership during the past few months. His election strategy seemed to be built around letting the other guy make all the mistakes. That’s understandable—because Trump has made so many of them—but it’s also lazy.



J.C. Peters

Author of History That Changed the World (Odyssea Publishing, 2017). Published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, on CNBC, The Hill, Quartz, and other media.