When Joe Biden announces his candidacy for the presidency, he’ll be the clear frontrunner. I expect he’ll remain the clear frontrunner for a few months. Then he’ll fade once people remember he’s Joe Biden. The guy who first ran for president when Miami Vice was still on the air. To put it mildly, his views on matters like segregation (which he supported as recently as 1975) are not going to endear him with today’s Democratic primary. All he really has going for him is the halo effect of standing near President Obama for eight years. That will fade once he’s on his own. I doubt Obama is going to offer any ringing endorsements of Scranton Joe.

The list of Democratic presidential contenders is long but not particularly impressive. Kamala Harris plainly doesn’t know what she’s doing. Kirsten Gillibrand is a bowl of porridge. Amy Klobuchar’s weird combination of lukewarm policy and demented behind-the-scenes personality is not the formula for success. Elizabeth Warren is going to remind too many voters of the disaster that was Hillary Clinton. The most formidable contenders are going to be the ones who inspire true passion, ignite a movement, make people want to wait in line for hours in the snow. The ones who excite people enough to buy T-shirts and ring doorbells.