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What does Biden have in common with Trump? Delusional nostalgia

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Joe Biden is building a campaign of reminiscences. The former vice-president and current Democratic presidential frontrunner is pitching voters the idea that the past was better than the present, and that Biden, at 76, represents the past.

“I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he represents as an aberrant moment in time,” he said in his campaign announcement video. “With Trump gone, you’re going to see things change,” he said last week, referring to the Republican party. “Because these folks know better.”

It is a perception of America that casts our current crisis as a result of the pathological personality of the president, and not as the systemic failure of many institutions to protect the people and enact their will. In this vision, Donald Trump is the problem, not the culture or the political system that created him. Things were better before Trump, Biden seems to believe, and they will go back to normal after he’s gone.

Like Trump’s call to “Make America Great Again”, Biden’s rhetoric appeals to a vision of the past based more in fantasy than reality. If anything, Biden is appealing to an imaginary bygone American era that many Americans don’t recognize. He sees prosperity where others see falling wages and unlivable healthcare and housing costs. He sees dignified political stability where others see their systematic exclusion from the halls of power. He sees chummy, Kumbaya-singing bipartisan cooperation with Republicans where many see the highly uncivil efforts of the right wing to strip minorities of their livelihoods and rights and to enshrine discrimination into law.

As the frontrunner, Biden’s pitch to voters has not been about new ideas or new routes to power, but about a return to the past. But many – most –........

© The Guardian