Victor Davis Hanson devotes his latest National Review Online column to the Democrats’ selection of a running mate for presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Democrats were convinced that FDR was their only hope in November 1944. Party bosses were confident that he could win an unprecedented fourth term over staid Republican nominee Thomas Dewey.

As a result, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee that year was thought likely to be the next president — and far sooner than later. …

… Truman finally beat out Wallace at the July convention and was nominated vice president. Roosevelt, as expected, won the presidential election for a fourth time. But, as feared, he died less than three months into his new term. The relatively unknown Truman became an unlikely president.

Yet Truman surprised the country with nearly eight years of responsible leadership. He finished the war, dropping the world’s first two atomic bombs to defeat Japan without an invasion, and then faced down the Soviet Union to launch the Cold War.

A President Wallace might have done things quite differently — or far worse.

The Democratic Party is facing some of the same melodramas over the nomination of its vice-presidential candidate for 2020.

As in 1944, the United States is facing an ongoing existential crisis, as the coronavirus threatens to kill thousands more Americans and do trillions of dollars more damage to the economy.

In such an ordeal, the Democrats believe that their likely nominee, Joe Biden, can win the November election.

As with FDR in 1944, the 77-year-old Biden seems frail at times. He also seems frequently confused. There is concern in some corners that if elected, he might not be able to fulfill his duties.

That unspoken fear has turned the selection of a Democratic running mate into a drama not seen in decades.

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