In many ways, Biden needs a perfect storm to beat Clinton. Sanders would need to win either Iowa or New Hampshire, and Biden would need to defeat her in South Carolina, a state where the vice president has many ties. Even if this scenario unfolds, Clinton has built what has been called a “firewall” in other southern states such as Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee. 

Junkins said Biden should “forget about the front end of this thing” and focus on South Carolina and Nevada. He acknowledged that Clinton’s “infrastructure” is very strong while adding that in prior presidential races, “We’ve seen infrastructures melt pretty fast.”

Biden would court the African-American vote and would likely tout his work on the Voting Rights Act. But his leading role in passing the crime bill in 1994 could be used against him.

Former President Bill Clinton, who signed that bill into law, said this summer that the measure made the criminal justice system worse. At the annual meeting of the NAACP in Philadelphia, the former president said, “We had a lot of  people who were locked up, who were minor actors, for way too long.”