You are the owner of this article.

Trump may drive some Democrats to 'go sane'

The Joe Biden polling surge has raised the frightful specter of Democratic rationality.

What if Donald Trump hasn’t driven Democrats insane, sending them into a spiral of self-defeating radicalism, but instead made them shockingly pragmatic?

Biden’s early strength suggests it may be the latter, that the reaction to Trump is so intense that it has crossed some sort of event horizon from fevered fantasy of his leaving office early via resignation or impeachment to a cold-eyed, win-at-any-cost practicality.

If this is true, one of the factors that could appreciably increase Trump’s odds of re-election — a zany Democratic nomination contest leading to a nominee much too far left for the American electorate — may not materialize.

The common-sense play for the Democrats has always been to nominate a nonsocialist with appeal to Obama-to-Trump voters in former Blue Wall states — if not necessarily Biden, then someone with a similar, relatively moderate profile.

Biden’s robust numbers at least suggest that this play is more likely than it seemed in the very early going. What’s extraordinary, though, is that almost every Democratic candidate might have been misreading it as well, and chasing the wrong rabbit down the track.

Certainly, Bernie Sanders dominated the intellectual and policy debate in the wake of his 2016 run, driving other presidential candidates to embrace his signature proposals. And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a genuine political star.

It’s only because the center of gravity of the party has clearly moved left that Biden, always a standard liberal, now sounds like a centrist when he calls himself an Obama-Biden Democrat.

But the average Democrat is older, more moderate or conservative, and less likely to have a college degree than you’d guess from following Twitter or cable TV. These voters were underserved by the rest of the field, and Biden is taking dead aim at them with the simple message that he can beat Trump.

Electability is usually a wan, uninspiring rationale for lackluster establishment campaigns, but Trump may have transformed into something more urgent and exciting for Democrats in 2020.

In this scenario, fear and loathing of Trump doesn’t drive Democrats into a politically risky dead end like impeachment but a sensible appraisal of how to beat him at the ballot box.

Of course, if we learned anything from 2016, it’s that pundits know much less about electability than we think. Biden’s paper strength may dissipate.

How often in American politics has the old candidate promising a restoration won? History shows that Democrats have had better electoral luck when they fall in love with a youthful candidate.

Biden’s long record has plenty for Trump to shoot at, and after he gets beaten up over his past positions on busing and crime, he may have some of the same trouble as Hillary turning out the Democratic base.

All that said, Biden’s level of support out of the gate has already changed the narrative of the race. It may be that he’s understood how Trump is shaping the 2020 landscape better than his more with-it and current Democratic competitors.

In other news

Creating art has been proven to have long-term health benefits, including relieving stress and improving memory. Art can be therapeutic, allowing us to express emotions and work through issues, or just the opposite, serving as a distraction by focusing on something other than our problem.

It may seem unusual for a library to have a dedicated play area, but visitors to the library will immediately notice this focus in the children’s area.

I’m searching for just the right used sofa for a rental that we want to make into an AirBnB. Frankly, there are very few couches I don’t love.

I’m not much of a nonfiction reader, but with books like “The Professor and the Madman” by Simon Winchester, I just might become a huge fan.

Community is the driving force behind Norfolk’s upcoming ’Fork Fest. Spearheaded by the Norfolk Arts Center, ’Fork Fest brings together area artists, musicians and restaurants for an event that celebrates our creative community. This is the fourth year for the festival, which will be held on…

Jimmy Johns