INDIANAPOLIS  — Joe Biden has an age problem. No, not that one. In March, Democrats “sound[ed] the alarm on Joe Biden’s young voter problem,” NBC News reported. By April, shortly after a group of seven progressive youth organizations issued Biden a list of “aggressive demands” in exchange for their support, the Wall Street Journal said “young voters could be Biden’s Achilles’ heel.” And by May it was all but forgotten when the backseat drivers of 2020 put the generational challenge in the rearview mirror as they began to agitate over the pandemic-induced geographical obstacle facing Biden. 

As the Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty puts it, “The party is in a state of high anxiety over the fact that its nominee-in-waiting appears trapped at home, like so many of the rest of us are during the COVID-19 pandemic.” And this, my friends, is where the handwringers and the bedwetters and the hair puller-outers and the teeth gnashers miss the point. Being trapped in his basement is Joe Biden’s youth outreach strategy! Yes, I willingly used an exclamation mark to demonstrably illustrate the seriousness of my declarative sentence. This! Is! His! (Intentional or Not) Strategy! And it’s time to lean in (h/t Sheryl Sandberg).  

Typically, a candidate would be out kissing hands and shaking babies. But Joe Biden is not a typical candidate in the Populist Era. His unconventional shelter-in-place strategy, full of digital forums and “please be viral” social media posts, is a necessity when his name is not Bernie Sanders, a candidate who roused the passions of America’s 18-38 demographic with his “damn the torpedoes” governing philosophy.

By sequestering himself in his basement, Biden – who lacks for now the far-fetched promises of free everything (higher education, health care, candy, trips to the Moon, you name it) – is sending a subliminal message to America’s largest voting bloc that he gets us. He may not be drowning in thousands of dollars of student debt or addicted to avocado toast, but he is in the midst of a never-ending job application and interview process that may or may not lead to his dream job. And who among us hasn’t been there?

He’s the virtual version of grandpa grabbing a pair of drawstring shorts and crocs he only wears when mowing the lawn to join us at the beach in a futile attempt to prove he too can bake in the sun. It’s about connection. It’s about shared experiences, in person or on the screen. The whole thing is rather brilliant, isn’t it?

Before long Biden will be a bearded and tattooed flannel-wearing mixologist slinging overpriced craft cocktails with the best of ‘em at his very own hipster bar. I can see it now. Flamin’ Joe’s. Eh, sounds too familiar. How about Biden Time? Too kitschy. Third Time’s a Charm? We’ll see come November. 

When it comes to Joe’s chances of harnessing the mystical power of the youth vote, he will need all the Millennial brown-nosing he can stomach because his representation of the Democratic establishment does not go far enough for young Sanders supporters who crave a revolution. They aren’t looking for a rejuvenation of the way things were. They are looking for someone to carpet bomb the establishment and upend the entire system. To put it in a way that will elicit blood curdling screams from my friends on the left, they want a Democrat Donald Trump. For Trump, his bulldozer-targeted media and government, while the Sanders quest for destruction is squarely aimed at corporate America. And both frame their efforts as necessary to the livelihood of the working class. In Biden, however, Democrats get an antidote to Trump, but not the mutated dosage of Sanders. 

Short of a Steve Rogers-like transformational experimentation, how does Biden compete with that? He communes with the Screen Generation by living in a virtual box, much like the Bubble Boy lived in a bubble. He appears on Snapchat’s Good Luck America. He shares stories on Instagram, only to ask the young staffer nearby what Instagram is minutes later. But will three months of self-confinement in the nation’s second smallest state inspire the most diverse generation in history to vote? 

As explained by the Inquisitr’s Jonathan Vankin, and pointed out by Washington Times columnist Joe Curl, an NBC News exit poll from Super Tuesday whispers, “Probably not.” According to Vankin, “Only 13% of Democratic voters in the Super Tuesday primaries are between the ages of 18 and 29. That is 10 percentage points fewer than the second least likely voters – the 30-44 age group, which made up 23% of Tuesday’s electorate.”

If the young people who supposedly supported Sanders didn’t show up with him on the primary ballot, is there any hope they show up in November without him on the ballot? 

There is, of course, another obvious flaw in Biden’s outreach strategy: He’s not living in his parents’ basement like the estimated 22% of Americans aged 25-34 did in 2017 (and likely similar percentage does in the COVID-19 suppressed economy). So, then, what’s the moral of this story/column full of rhetorical questions and tongue-in-cheek sarcasm? I can poke fun at my generation, and you can’t. And now, back to Joe’s Basement. Now that’s a good name for a bar! 

Pete Seat is a former White House spokesman for President George W. Bush and campaign spokesman for former Director of National Intelligence and U.S. Senator Dan Coats. Currently he is a vice president with Bose Public Affairs Group in Indianapolis. He is also an Atlantic Council Millennium Fellow and author of the 2014 book, “The War on Millennials.”