Joe Biden is sort of running for President. In his announcement video, he clung to the coattails of former President Barack Obama. Reminding us of the days when compared to the current occupant of the Oval Office, things were calm. Normalcy will be restored.
Biden’s announced strategy was to wait as long as possible to enter the race; watching as Sanders, Warren, Harris and over a dozen others announced their candidacy with some raising huge amounts of money and staking out their corners of the electorate. When Biden finally announced his entry, he took a commanding lead in the polls. His goal now seems to be to do nothing that will hurt that lead, take no strong positions, make few campaign appearances, stay above the fray.
In full disclosure, I’ve always liked Joe Biden. If he’s the ultimate nominee of the Democrat Party, I’ll vote for him in a heartbeat. He has some issues in his past like the Clarence Thomas Senate Confirmation Hearings and his support of the 1994 Crime Bill. He just made news with his half-hearted support of the Hyde Amendment which almost every other Democrat candidate has opposed. His position seemed to be, “I’m for it unless too many people are against it.” A politicians answer to a serious question.
Update: Joe Biden just changed his position on the Hyde Amendment. One can only wonder how strongly he believes in anything? Besides his desire to become President.
Whether or not you like Elizabeth Warren. She’s making clear, concise statements outlining her positions. She answers questions with a yes or no and then explains why she feels as she does. Other candidates are giving clear answers about Impeachment, health care for all. abortion laws, and more. Biden is speaking little and saying less.
In less than three weeks the debates begin in Miami. It’s likely that the other 19 candidates eligible for the debate stage will be coming for Joe. They’ll do it because they have to chip away at his lead and frankly, the more Joe speaks, the less popular he’ll become. He’ll be on the defense, trying to explain away his support of a bill that increased mass incarceration, his lack of support of Anita Hill and the witnesses he didn’t call in her support while Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. His answers thus far aren’t convincing and photo’s of him and Barack Obama (who hasn’t endorsed him) just won’t cut it.
Joe Biden has name recognition, he’ll have more money than any other Democrat, and he’s genuinely likable. What he’s not doing is taking firm positions, clearly enunciating his policies, or giving anyone a reason to vote for him other than his closeness to Obama (who hasn’t endorsed him).
What Joe has been able to count on up to this point is the overwhelming support of black voters and women. Among the dozens of candidates running against him are a couple of black candidates and several women. Hillary Clinton had a grasp on the black vote when running against Barack Obama until she didn’t. Black voters supported Hillary because they didn’t believe Obama could win. Once they got the idea he actually could, her loss of support was dramatic. If Kamala Harris wins her home state of California (which had 475 delegates in 2016). That may well be enough to convince voters of her viability. White women who voted for Trump in 2016, may finally be ready to support a woman, given what they got last time.
I don’t see a scenario where discontented Biden supporters flock to Bernie. Biden is a centrist and is betting that the majority of the Party is also. He’s ignoring the signs the PArty has moved to the left and is looking for a Progressive candidate to lead them. As a hedge, Biden is taking almost no positions at all, apparently believing that suggesting he’s with Obama (who hasn’t endorsed him) and not being Trump will be enough.
It would be nice if Biden didn’t back his way into the Democrat Nomination. The public should know what he believes and how strongly. The Republicans have been serious about installing their judges, obstructing votes, Gerrymandering, obliterating women’s rights, and supporting a racist immigration policy. Voters deserve to have someone willing to stand up to all of this, which begins by taking a stand on anything.