In a sense, Biden is already running for president; he’s testing his party support before jumping on to the stage for another national performance. But unfortunately for his prospects, he’s bound to run into the same problem as every other Democratic presidential hopeful: Hillary Clinton, or rather, her massive presence in the Democratic Party.
Barring a change to the landscape, there won’t be a Democratic primary campaign next year. Instead, Hillary Clinton will announce her bid for the nomination, and we’ll almost immediately move to a general election campaign. The former secretary of state is the definition of inevitable: There are dissenters, but after winning second place in the momentous 2008 race, the party and its machinery are mostly behind her candidacy.
It’s not a bad position. In an uncompetitive primary, the anointed nominee can sidestep narrow appeals in favor of a broader message. And rather than waste time with nomination battles in unwinnable places like Texas or South Carolina, she can focus her fire in critical states like Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Likewise, without a national primary campaign to divide its various factions, the Democratic Party can devote its fundraising to organizing its troops and attacking its Republican opponents. By the time the GOP has picked a nominee, Democrats will have been six months into an onslaught of political ordinance.