We should be finding out whether or not Joe Biden will be running for president any… day… now. Of course, I’m fairly sure I wrote that exact same line back before Christmas, so nobody but Crazy Uncle Joe knows for sure. Still, the clock is ticking and Biden has been making a lot of moves that suggest he’s not just doing this to attract attention. This week, however, we learned that the one thing that would have given Biden the perfect excuse to sail off into retirement is no longer on the table. His family is reportedly onboard with the idea. (Buzzfeed)
Joe Biden indicated Tuesday that he has cleared a significant hurdle as he decides whether to run for president in 2020.
The former vice president — in a freewheeling discussion with author Jon Meacham at the newly christened Biden School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Delaware — said there’s a “consensus” among his family that he should join the Democratic primary race.
“I’ll just tell you straight up,” Biden said, responding to a question from Meacham during the livestreamed event. “I know the people of Delaware may not be surprised by this, but others might. We do everything by family meetings, because no man or woman has a right to run for high public office without it being a family decision. And from being pushed — pushed, prodded — by my son Hunter, and my wife Jill, and my daughter, there is … we just had a family meeting with all the grandkids, too. And there’s a consensus that, I should, they want — they, the most important people in my life — want me to run.”
This is probably a bigger indicator than anything else we’ve seen to date. It was out of consideration for his family that Biden chose not to run in 2016, particularly with the passing of his son being such a recent, raw wound in the family’s minds. Now that they’ve had time to work through the grieving process, it sounds like Mrs. Biden and the kids are okay with Joe making one last grab for the brass ring.
Is it a good idea? On paper, Biden appears to be just about the opposite of what most of the media would have you believe about the qualities the Democratic base is looking for. Yet another elderly, straight, Christian, cisgender white guy should be at the bottom of their list of choices, or so we are told. And yet, Biden is still lapping the field almost everywhere except in New Hampshire where Bernie Sanders leads him by a slim margin.
Whenever I bring this up, people are quick to point out that the polling numbers this far out from an election are largely based on name recognition. That’s definitely true, so Biden automatically comes with a built-in advantage in the early going, having spent eight years as the sidekick to Barack Obama. But that can’t be the entire reason, can it? If Democratic primary voters around the country were truly fired up for some of that hot new socialist goodness, there are plenty of options already available.
Of course, the deluge of new, far left candidates might be precisely why Biden is out in the lead. He’s currently getting a little more than 30% support, while the newer faces are mostly in single digits or barely into the teens. But if that field gets trimmed down significantly in the early going and a lot of them drop out, all of that far-left support might come together behind someone like Sanders, Harris or Gillibrand.
I’m guessing that’s the biggest thing holding Joe Biden back right now. He’s already been down this road a couple of times and he knows how fickle the public can be. If he runs for a third time and loses he’ll be moving up in the political trivia books as one of the more consistent also-rans. That’s not a pretty picture. Would Biden be interested in being VP for one of those other candidates at this point? Not likely. If elected, he’ll be the oldest American president ever to take the oath. I can’t see him spending four or eight of his remaining years playing second fiddle again.