So I take it that by now we’re all assuming that Joe Biden is going to get into the race and it’s only a question of when he decides to announce. That seems to be the prevailing wisdom around Washington, anyway. So rather than waiting for him to make it official, we’ve moved on to the question of who is running mate will be and how soon we’ll know that. Ignoring for the moment the rather aggressive assumption the question is based on (candidates generally wait until they’ve actually secured the nomination before making that choice), The Hill reports that Biden may be thinking of naming his pick almost immediately.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is expected to soon launch a bid for the presidency, is reportedly considering selecting a running mate early in his campaign.
Citing Democrats familiar with Biden’s plans, CNN reported the possibility on Monday. An aide told the network that naming a running mate early would help Biden keep the focus on the Democratic goal of defeating President Trump in the general election.
Biden has discussed the possibility in conversations with advisers as well as with top Democrats and elected officials, according to CNN.
Assuming this is true, a decision to name a veep pick early sounds like a hint that Biden is worried about his own chances. While Uncle Joe currently leads in almost all the primary polling, that may still be a result of simply having greater name recognition than the rest of the field. Also, Biden clearly represents the moderate, establishment wing of the Democratic Party… the leader of the old guard, if you will. The hot new trend of hard-left socialism clearly has plenty of proponents in the base, but there are so many people competing for that slice of the pie that the vote is splintering among multiple candidates besides just Bernie Sanders. (And Sanders is already close on Biden’s heels.)
If people start dropping out and that vote consolidates around one or two candidates, Biden could find himself an also-ran once again. If that’s what’s on Biden’s mind, he might see it as beneficial to name a far more liberal running mate early on to assuage the worries of the base. But that path also comes with a number of potential problems.
If Biden picks a running mate right out of the gate, he automatically eliminates all of the other people currently running. That means he can’t inherit any of their supporters by default as he moves into the final phase of the voting. He’ll be stuck with somebody that none of the Democrats were rooting for. A move like this also locks out the “second choice” option voters. Those are the folks who might not have seen Biden as their first pick but could probably tolerate him, particularly if they’re hoping he might pick their favorite candidate as VP.
Personally, as I’ve stated here many times, I still see Joe Biden as probably the biggest threat to Donald Trump in the general election. I realize a lot of conservatives disagree with that take, but Biden is a proven performer with the best resume of anyone in the Democratic field and people honestly seem to like him. Heck, I wouldn’t mind going out for a couple of cocktails with the guy and bending his ear. But a centrist, moderate, elderly, straight white man doesn’t seem to describe what a lot of the base is looking for right now. Perhaps he’s right to be nervous.