Tom Wolfe invented Al Sharpton in his 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities. In the novel, he was called Reverend Bacon. In a splendid case of life imitating art, Sharpton took his place as a fixture in the metabolism of Democratic politics that same year when he hitched his star to the case of Tawana Brawley, then fifteen, who falsely claimed she had been abducted and raped by six white men, some of whom, she said, were police.

For reasons that are part of the inscrutable workings of the universe, Sharpton’s histrionic fabrications in that case...

Tom Wolfe invented Al Sharpton in his 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities. In the novel, he was called Reverend Bacon. In a splendid case of life imitating art, Sharpton took his place as a fixture in the metabolism of Democratic politics that same year when he hitched his star to the case of Tawana Brawley, then fifteen, who falsely claimed she had been abducted and raped by six white men, some of whom, she said, were police.

For reasons that are part of the inscrutable workings of the universe, Sharpton’s histrionic fabrications in that case catapulted him to a position of tribal leadership among Democratic presidential candidates. Seeking the blessing of Sharpton — or “Revd Sharpton,” as I like to say, because it makes me giggle — has been a ritual of token self-abasement that Democrats aspiring to high office have undergone for some thirty years. The spectacle is partly nauseating, partly comic.

It is nauseating because Al Sharpton is a blustering, race-hustling mountebank — and the spectacle of senior political leaders of this great country paying him court is repulsive.

It is comic because — well, just look at the chap. Lift the lid on his career. Contemplate his finances. It truly is a carnivalesque performance.

But there he is. And there Joe Biden was in 2019, seeking Sharpton’s approval, or at least his declaration of noli contendere. After two black, or at least mixed-race, presidential candidates were in the running in the 2020 cycle: Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. Biden felt he needed if not Sharpton’s support at least his non-interference.

And here we are again. The world speculates. Will the doddering old guy go for it again? Because of campaign finance laws, he cannot really announce his candidacy yet, but there are signs and portents. Just so, it was recently reported that, in a reprise of his 2019 audience with the Revd Al, Biden privately told the aspiring kingmaker that, yes, he was going to run again. “I’m going to do it again,” said someone, who heard someone say it to someone in the Roosevelt Room of the White House as the two giants posed for a photograph. (You see what “privately” means among these giants.) “I’m going,” quoth the Big Guy — and he didn’t mean it it the sense of Vespasian’s parting words: vae, puto deus fio.

So, I think we can take as given that Joe Biden believes he will be running for president in 2024. But then he also appears to believe that he was at the top of his law school class, that he drove an eighteen-wheeler, that he had been on the scene for most major forest fires throughout the country, that he “got raised in the black church,” that he was “sort of raised in the Puerto Rican community at home, politically.”

The president clearly has a rich fantasy life, though an exiguous relationship with the truth. I am frankly surprised that Joe Biden is still in office. I understand that Kamala Harris is the human form of impeachment insurance — sure, Biden is a blundering senile puppet, but Kamala? I said some months ago that The Committee — the coterie of Deep State apparatchiks who actually run the country — was preparing preparing to eject both Biden and his cackling sidekick. I continue to think so. And with energy prices set to soar further, the midterms are looking more and more like a catastrophe for the Democrats, there is no question that they will allow him to run again.

Exactly how the concluding chapter will be written for the Big Guy remains to be seen. I am confident, though, that it won’t be pretty or uplifting, for Biden himself or for the country.