Now that Joe Biden has finally announced that he’s running for President, again, it’s time we asked ourselves, “What do we know about this character?”
For one thing, he really, really wants to be President. This is his third time running in the past 31 years and he’s yet to be his party’s nominee.
This time, he’s told us that he’s running to save the country from Donald Trump. If that’s the case, it’s as arrogant a statement on his part as when candidate Trump made a similar argument. Mr. Biden is not the only person out of the 20 announced Democratic candidates who can save America. Nor is it clear that he could save the county even if voters gave him the chance.
No. Joe Biden is running because he wants to be President, period. His rhetoric to the contrary rings hollow. There has been no widespread hue and cry for him to come out of retirement to save the day. This candidacy is his idea and pretty much his alone.
Second, he’s old, four years older than the President and almost as old as Bernie Sanders. It’s not that Joe Biden is too old to contribute. Of course not. It’s that he’s not someone with whom the majority of Democratic and independent voters can identify or in whom they will have confidence.
Third, his home state, Delaware, is politically meaningless.
Fourth, his announcement this time tells us that “We are in the battle for the soul of this nation.” Sure, but does anyone care? Is soul-saving a winning election strategy?
It clearly isn’t important for most Washington Republicans or for the 40% of the electorate that consistently polls for Trump. Running for President may be a religious experience for Joe Biden, but, for most of America, it’s about economic and social issues. And that includes the voters of Ohio, Pennsylvania and other traditionally blue states that gave Trump the Presidency in 2016.
Where is it chiseled in stone that Joe Biden can win any of these states in 2020? Why would a 20, 30, 40 year old worker, whatever his or her political affiliation, gender and ethnicity, identify with a 76 year old, admittedly out of touch – “I get it. I get it,” he told us twice the other day. – white guy from a small mid-Atlantic state? What’s the attraction?
What, specifically, is Joe going to do for these workers and their families when he’s not busy saving the country’s soul? Put your ear to the wind and you can almost hear them saying, “My soul’s just fine, Joe. What I need is job security, a good annual increase and some savings, because God knows I’m tired living paycheck to paycheck.”
Fifth, he’s experienced. Unfortunately, “experience” is political-speak for “baggage.” The more you have, the more time you’ll spend campaigning on the defensive which is where candidates go to lose.
Sixth, Joe Biden may be brilliant, but he doesn’t come off that way. Forget about his debating Trump if Joe gets the Democratic nomination. Joe’s not going to survive the Democratic debates against candidates who are glib and substantially more conversant about programs that voters will find compelling. By comparison, Joe will seem slow and uninformed.
Last point… Momentum. The problem with starting on top in the polls is that he may have nowhere to go but down. The much anticipated idea of candidate Joe Biden may be more interesting than the reality. In fact, Joe Biden may have announced and peaked on the same day.
If Joe is serious about saving the soul of America, if his county is more important to him than his ego, he could just as easily work to defeat President Trump without actually running for President. There’s only so much air time and money. Even in the course of a losing effort, a Biden candidacy will adversely affect primary and caucus voting and campaign financing for other Democrats who might be better suited to beat Donald Trump.
Joe Biden is right. This election really is about saving America. But it’s got to be a team effort. Nominating Joe Biden is by no means a sure thing or the best thing for the country. The sooner he realizes that, the better.