If there was any doubt which presidential candidate Dallas' elected Democrats prefer, it's gone. Former Vice President Joe Biden, fresh off clobbering Sen. Bernie Sanders in Saturday's South Carolina primary, rolled out waves of familiar faces for the crowd at Gilley's in the Cedars on Monday night, before making the case that he wants what a majority of Americans want: a return to normalcy.
That's Biden's case, and it's appealing, particularly to those who view President Barack Obama's years in the White House as a golden era and to others who are just tired. Tired of President Donald Trump, tired of Mitch McConnell and tired, even, of Sanders and his desire to remake American society.
"Most Americans don't want the promise of revolution," Biden said. "They want results. They want a revival of decency, honor and character."
Biden got help Monday from three U.S. representatives, one U.S. senator, two former Dallas mayors and a dozen or so local and state officials. He is the man to beat Trump, according to former Mayor Mike Rawlings, U.S. Rep. Colin Allred and U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey. Same goes for his former rival, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and the event's surprise guest, former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke. (Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg endorsed Biden in a separate, smaller event prior to the rally.)
Summoned to the stage by Biden at the end of the vice president's speech, O'Rourke gave the candidate a raucous endorsement.
"Tomorrow, March 3, 2020, I will be casting my ballot for Joe Biden. And let me tell you why: We need somebody who can beat Donald Trump," O'Rourke said, getting the biggest cheers of the night from the crowd of about 3,000.
After the rally, O'Rourke and Biden cemented their new relationship over Whataburger.
Biden's message, like that of his endorsers, is about uniting Democrats without alienating independents and moderate Republicans.
Dallas' Matthew Lennard is a perfect example of the voter Biden believes he, and he alone of the remaining Democratic contenders, can reach.
Four years ago, Lennard told the Observer, he voted for then-candidate Trump, in part because of the president's promise of a non-interventionist foreign policy. Lennard regrets voting for the president now, he said, but wants to support a moderate Democrat.
"I do not support all the 'Medicare for All,' free this, free that," Lennard said. "I just want someone who is not going to raise the national debt sky high and has a little bit more moderate view on things."
With Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, his first choice, having been banished to the fringes of the race, he's voting for Biden on Tuesday, he said. If Sanders prevails in the primary, Lennard said, he'll vote third-party if the Vermont senator doesn't pick a moderate running mate.
People like Lennard might threaten to make the online left's collective heads explode, but they're the case for Biden, and only Biden, being able to beat Trump.
"We refuse to accept the notion that Republicans are our enemy," Biden said. "They are our opposition. This time we have to bring around everybody in every situation, Democrats, independents and Republicans of all stripes."
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