How One Death Can Change History

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UPDATED Given the topic of how a singular death can change history, people usually jump to Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination, which precipitated what eventually became known as World War I. But any historian I’ve spoken to has said that the war was inevitable and that Ferdinand’s death merely escalated the timeline by a few months.

Let’s look at a much more modern situation, one that could have consequences in our lifetimes. Joe Biden’s son’s death may be seen in hindsight as one that changed the course of history.

Joe Biden Jr., had every intent of running for the presidency. It was his time, his turn. He had started a charm campaign to bring himself out of POTUS’ shadow. He was playing up his sense of humour, and his fatherly role for the public to absorb. He had shown himself to be a team player as Obama’s VP, and he had the fiery rapscallion nature that appealed to the McCain conservative crowd.

Then, in May of 2015, his son, Joe III (called Beau) died of brain cancer, and Joe went into a deep mourning.  I’ve never lost a child, though I have lost a parent. I understand the deep funk that comes from such mourning.

Joe Biden Jr., decided to sit out the Democratic primaries, and possibly, just possibly, history was changed.

What would a Joe Biden candidacy have looked like? In the primaries, it would have given the status quo a second champion, possibly dividing Hillary’s support. It could very easily have given the Bernie Sanders campaign a few more wins, and if those wins had been early enough, momentum to take the nomination away from Hillary.

Could Joe Biden have been the candidate? Sure. he’s less tainted than Hillary. There could have been a mass exodus of her supporters to him.

I’d pay good money to see a Joe Biden / Donald Trump debate. If Trump had said any of his stupid lines to Biden, or denied his own words on stage, Joe would have called him out, laughing at him. I don’t know how Trump would handle that, but it would have been fun to see. There’s a fifty percent chance it would have come to fisticuffs.

Would Bernie have beaten Trump? Maybe. There were a lot of polls that said yes, but that was based on first impressions. Would a Bernie/Trump race have had more substance? Probably not. Trump would have been as bombastic as ever, but this time throwing words like ‘commie’ and ‘socialist’ around.

Would Joe have beaten Trump. I think most certainly so. Fiscal conservatives would probably have been happy enough with Joe to have voted for him instead of the loose cannon Trump.

But we’ll never know, because of one unfortunate death.

UPDATE: Joe Biden agrees with me.