Biden 2020 still not off the table

A news alert popped up in my feed yesterday which momentarily caught me by surprise. While I had thought this question was pretty much settled, NBC News was sending out a flash alert to a story claiming that Joe Biden was not only back in the hunt, but suggesting that he was already putting what looks like a 2020 campaign structure together. Say it ain’t so, Uncle Joe! (Emphasis added)

The former vice president already has been one of the most active Democratic surrogates in 2017 and 2018, and his advisers are hard at work on plans for a busy campaign schedule this fall that could have him appearing at as many as a dozen events each week.

At the same time, he and a trusted inner circle have quietly been engaging a wider network of political allies to sketch the outlines of what a Biden 2020 candidacy might look like should he decide to run, multiple sources who have participated in the discussions tell NBC News.

Biden himself has only gone so far as to say he’s not ruled out what would be a third run for the White House. He’s also been adamant that while a decision won’t come until after the 2018 midterms, it shouldn’t linger much beyond year’s end — a timetable that would help to bring some order to what could be the largest Democratic presidential field in generations.

Frankly, this looks more like a tease on the part of NBC than any serious movement by Biden towards pitching a 2020 run. But some of his close associates are quoted as saying serious options are under discussion. For one thing, there’s the age factor. If Biden ran and won he would be 78 when he took office. Trump will be 74 by then so this is about the only choice out there that allows him to be the “youth candidate.” In response, Biden’s aides have once again mentioned a pledge to only serve one term and put forward an early proposal as to who his VP would be so they could be groomed for 2024.

I’ve maintained for some time now that Biden would be a dangerous opponent if he managed to secure the nomination. His resume has everything you’d want to see for a presidential bid and his history, while full of gaffes and uncomfortable moments, is essentially free of any real scandal. And people just seem to genuinely like Joe Biden. Heck, I find the guy likable. His reputation as “crazy Uncle Joe” is more of an asset than a detriment.

But could he actually land the nomination given the current mood in the Democratic Party? No matter how much he may be loved and respected, his base seems to be shopping for somebody distinctly less old, male and white. He’s also been primarily a centrist for his entire career, no matter how much he wants to portray himself as a champion of progressive causes now. Joe’s already been to this rodeo and it would have to be a wrenching embarrassment to try for the nomination and be rejected yet again this late in his career.

Would Joe Biden like to be president? There’s no doubt in my mind. But I still doubt he’s going to push all of his chips in again at this stage of the game.