Welcome to Bidenworld

Welcome to Bidenworld

The scramble for plum jobs in a new White House is already under way

EITHER FOR fear of jinxing it or of appearing presumptuous, American presidential candidates avoid publicly naming their shadow cabinets ahead of elections. Instead, ambitious politicos must discreetly jostle one another in the long queues for the best upcoming posts. Now that Joe Biden has narrowly won the presidential election, though, these scrums will spill out in public as they always do. The cabinet nods will have extra significance this time, though. Mr Biden is less a movement leader (besides being anti-Trumpist) than he is a transitional one—an elder statesman who will mark the Democratic Party most by anointing the next generation of standard-bearers.

There are many contenders, of various species. There are the hangers-on accumulated over Mr Biden’s half-century in national politics starting with his election as a senator in Delaware in 1972. Many denizens of Obamaland and Clintonland (both Bill and Hillary) are waiting to come in from the cold. Then there are the vanquished primary candidates turned surrogates—like Kamala Harris, whose position as vice-president was fixed in advance. Mr Biden’s unusually broad coalition of establishment Democrats, socialists and excommunicated Republicans assembled during the presidential campaign also adds to the mouths to feed the spoils to. Many will have to go hungry.