In most countries, an election two years in the future is way beyond the horizon. In the UK, an election campaign, from the date being announced to the new prime minister taking office, can be done in less than six weeks. Here in the USA, though, we like long campaigns; that means interest is already building in who’s going to be a candidate in 2020. We can all guess who’s going to head the GOP ticket, but what about those pesky Dems? Well, Joe Biden (remember him?) thinks he’s the best man for the job. Let’s take a look.
- Early this month, Biden told CNN “I’m the most qualified person in the country to be president.” On the face of it this isn’t a crazy claim — Biden served as vice president for eight years under Barack Obama. The CNN interview was widely seen as an opening move in a run at the White House, with Biden dropping more than a few teasers at the same time as he worked on his own resume for the job.
- A Biden campaign would be popular among Democrats. A recent poll for CNN (of course) gave Biden a 50 percent favorable rating. His nearest rival was Bernie Sanders on 48 percent, but in a real race Biden is likely to open his lead. He has more appeal for mainstream Democrat voters; nobody who’s old enough to remember what socialism was really like is going to vote for Sanders.
- Biden has real experience in politics, diplomacy and statecraft. The vice presidency is a long way from real power, but he took his turns at standing in for Obama (not necessarily an endorsement) and spent plenty time negotiating with foreign leaders. If President Biden walked into the White House in January 2021, he’d be able to hit the ground running.
- The question is if he’d run in the right direction. Biden’s a bit prone to stupid mistakes, especially when he’s talking. That was raised during the CNN interview, and he admitted it. “I am a gaffe machine,” he said, before trying to smear President Trump as being dishonest.
- Many observers say Biden is too old to campaign. He’ll be 78 by the time 2020 rolls around, and that means the chances of his health failing while he’s in office are starting to get significant.
- He also has a lot of baggage attached to his time as VP. As well as signing some controversial (and often unpopular) bills, he’s seen as being out of touch with modern Democrat politics. That’s going to seriously limit his appeal.
So, is Joe Biden really the person most qualified to be the 46th POTUS? No, it certainly doesn’t look like he is.