Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden recently unveiled his slogan for 2020 and, no malarkey, it’s “No Malarkey!“. The campaign slogan has been roundly criticized online and in media as outdated and just plain out of touch with voters. But the slogan is really quite brilliant, and reveals something telling about who Biden is catering and to – and who he thinks will be coming out to vote in the Democratic Primary.
The good ol’ days
Biden’s slogan, of course, hearkens back to a bygone era. The word appears to have first entered the English lexicon in the 1920s – but really had its heyday in the 50s and 60s. As such, the slogan seems hand-crafted for those longing for the “good ol’ days” – namely, Baby Boomers. Focusing on this group is actually pretty smart because older people are more likely to vote. This is especially true in primary elections. And since voter turnout is generally lower overall in a primary, their vote can have an extra impact.
Biden clearly thinks that older people will be the key to winning the Democratic nomination – and rightly so, if history is any indication. Younger generations (like the kind Sanders and Warren are pulling in) are not a threat to him. And why should they be? In their eyes, nobody is going to vote for Biden anyhow. They’re safe to stay at home for the primary election.
The dangers of echo chambers
But the idea that nobody likes Biden’s slogan is flawed. The criticism surrounding Biden’s new slogan highlights the dangers of echo chambers. Since an overwhelming amount of people online and in media are reacting negatively to the slogan, people assume that it has no traction. But the age group Biden is aiming for isn’t social media savvy. They don’t engage as much online. We will not hear from them until they vote Biden in as the Democratic presidential nominee.
As such, we risk repeating the mistakes of 2016 and allowing older generations to vote in a candidate who can’t compete against Trump. Biden is destined to fail in a match-up with Trump for the same reason that Clinton failed: He is part of the Establishment, he doesn’t pull in younger voters, and he is increasingly surrounded with allegations of corruption.
What younger generations need to know
As the biggest bloc of non-voters out there, younger people are sitting on a wealth of political power. If they voted at the same rate as older people, the 2016 primary and general elections could have swung the other way completely. Trump won simply because older people skew conservative and younger people weren’t excited enough by Clinton to vote. It was older people who made Clinton the Democratic nominee, but that same group actually hurt her the most in the general election.
With Biden’s new slogan, it’s clear that he’s depending on older people to clinch the Democratic nomination. However, that group will fail Democrats in the 2020 general election just like it did in 2016. Democrats need a candidate that can excite younger voters. That means a candidate like Sanders, Warren, or Yang needs to be the nominee. And it’s why young people need to get more active in politics.
If younger voters don’t show up for the Democratic Primary, Biden will win. And if Biden goes up against Trump, Trump will be re-elected. But if younger generations come out and vote in force in the primary and general elections – it could change our political landscape as we know it.
Image via Gage Skidmore.