Joe Biden said today that he would announce his decision about running for President sometime this summer. The comment was part of a CNN interview with Kate Bolduan that touched on several topics, but the outstanding comment was that Biden is still very much in the race.
Biden indicated that he will be looking at a number of factors as he considers his decision, but the elephant in the room is clearly Hillary Clinton. In a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, Clinton was a commanding leader among Democrats with Biden a far distant second place.
Until Clinton announces her decision, it is unlikely any other Democrat will step into the ring.
That aside, Biden’s track record for presidential runs is not good. He has already tried for the nomination two times, once in 1988 and again in 2008, dropping out early in the process both times.
On top of that, he is now 71 years old. If elected, he would take office at age 74 and if he served two terms, he would be 82 by the time he finished. Based on his age alone, it is difficult to see Biden still in the race as a viable candidate.
On the other hand, he has a ton of experience that includes a long career in the Senate and his current position as Vice President. In the Obama administration, he has been the point man for many of the President’s key issues including job creation, immigration, and gun control.
While no significant legislation has been enacted as a result of his work as vice president, he has done a decent job of bringing all parties to the table and working out compromises. Given the gridlock in Congress, that is a significant accomplishment.
If any Democrat can break the crippling stalemate in Congress, Biden may have the best chance. He would certainly draw less unproductive rancor than Clinton and probably less than Obama has faced.
Politics is a volatile game and a lot can change between now and summer. With both Clinton and Biden delaying a firm decision, other possible candidates such as New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo are unlikely make any move at all.
That means those other possible candidates, whoever they may be, are not developing the national following and campaign funds they will need to make a successful run for the presidency. For every one of those other possible candidates, the clock is ticking.
It may well be that the best thing both Biden and Clinton could do right now is take themselves out of the race. With the two Democratic front-runners stepping aside, it would be interesting to see who might emerge as serious contenders.
In the end, Biden says, his decision will be based on whether or not he believes he is the best qualified candidate. In a rather cryptic summary comment, he said, “…if no one else, I think, can, and I think I can, then I’d run. If I don’t, I won’t.”
Regardless of what happens between now and this summer, for the moment, Biden clearly wants everyone to know that he is still very much in the race.
Editorial by Sharon I. Fawley