Joe Biden for Vice President, Again? – “Sunday Political Brunch” - June 16, 2019

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CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Okay, this may sound crazy, but I’ve been wondering if former Vice President Joe Biden might be willing to serve in that office again. The Constitution does not term limit the VP, only the boss. As odd as it may sound now, there are plausible reasons why Biden might be willing to play second-fiddle again. Let’s brunch on that this week.

“The VP Scenario” – It’s no secret that right now Joe Biden is the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president. But this is no guarantee of anything. At this point in the race for the 2008 nomination for president, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani were the clear-cut frontrunners, way ahead of the pack. By the time of the party conventions, neither was the nominee. In 2016, Jeb Bush was the Republican frontrunner, but faded fast under the tidal wave known as Donald Trump. On the Democrat side of the aisle, Hillary Clinton was supposed to be a slam dunk, but barely beat the challenge of Bernie Sanders.

“The Presidential Experience Factor” – There have been 15 presidential elections in my lifetime. In five cases, voters chose the candidate with the most experience (1964, 68, 72, 84 and 88). In three cases, the experience levels of the two nominees was essentially a tie (1960, 1980, and 2012). But in most cases – seven in all – voters selected the candidate with the least political experience (1976, 1992, 96, 2000, 04, 08, and 16). I lay this out because Biden clearly has the most experience in the Democratic field, and while he is the frontrunner now, history tells us it may not end up that way.

“Modern Vice-Presidential Strategy” – In six of the last seven presidential elections, voters chose the least experienced candidate. One of the reasons that worked is because a relatively inexperienced presidential candidate was paired with a very experienced, seasoned Washington hand who knew the ropes. In 1976 a very experienced Walter Mondale was VP to a green Jimmy Carter. In 1980 and 84, perhaps the man with the longest Washington, DC resume ever – George H.W. Bush - joined a less experienced Ronald Reagan. In 1992 and 96, a DC old-pro Al Gore helped Bill Clinton to the White House. In 2000 and 04, senior statesman Dick Cheney aided an up and coming George W. Bush. In 2008 and 16, rookie Barack Obama got a big boost from old-pro Joe Biden. In 2016, the vastly experienced Mike Pence, helped a green Donald Trump.

“Why VP Biden 2.0 Works” – Each party has a penchant for picking new, flashy and different candidates for president in the modern age. So, what if voters pass on the experienced, older candidates Biden, Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren. Many in the current Democratic field are in their 30s, 40’s and early 50s. Rising stars maybe, but hardly old pros. But as we saw in 2008, a young, energetic candidate with an inspiring, message and stump speech (Obama) can rocket ahead of a vastly more experienced, yet staid (even boring candidate) in Hillary Clinton. What if voters decide they want to nominate Sen. Kamala Harris, (D) California who is in her first term, or Mayor Pete Buttigieg, (D) South Bend, IN? How about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, (D) Hawaii? The young nominee may need a senior, seasoned VP like those listed above. Who would be better than Biden?
“The Keystone State is the Key!” – As I pointed out in my column last week, the single most important state in 2020 is Pennsylvania. If Democrats cannot take back the Keystone State, their likelihood of winning back the White House is pretty much hopeless. Joe Biden is a native Pennsylvanian, born and raised in Scranton. Yes, he moved to neighboring Delaware and represented it for over three decades in the U.S. Senate, but Delaware is really a suburb of Philadelphia. Biden can carry Pennsylvania for Democrats whether he’s at the top of the ticket or the number two.

“Country Over Party and Ambition” – Joe Biden and Donald Trump do not like each other. Both are street fighters and the war of words between the two will only get worse. Yes, Biden wants to take Trump head on, but I think he believes he can cut Trump off at the knees even if he’s the VP choice. He’d swallow his pride in losing the nomination, just to stay swinging in the fight. I say Biden would jump at the chance to be VP again. It would be historic. No VP has ever served more than two terms, but I bet he’d be willing.

Would you support Joe Biden, even if he wound up the vice-presidential nominee for Democrats? Just click the comment button to let us know your opinion.

Mark Curtis, Ed.D., is the Chief Political Reporter for the five Nexstar Media TV stations serving West Virginia and its five surrounding states, including much of the Washington, D.C. media market. He is a National Contributing Writer for the White House Patch at www.Patch.com.

© 2019, Mark Curtis Media, LLC

Photo courtesy: Getty Images

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