Joe Biden seems to be gearing up for a third try at the presidency. If he goes for it, he will be one of an elite club of three-time losers including Henry Clay (1824, 1832, 1844), William Jennings Bryan (1896, 1900, 1908), Thomas E. Dewey (1940, 1944, 1948), and Hubert Humphrey (1960, 1968, 1972). Distinguished company, but no presidents.
Biden ran when he couldn’t win — in 1988 and 2008 — and sat out the race he could have won in 2016. Now, he tries again.
But he won’t win. For better or for worse, the Democratic Party has moved past him, passing on the left.
He currently appears to be running in first place among contenders for the nomination — a smidgen ahead of Bernie Sanders. The Morning Consult Poll has him ahead of Sanders nationally by 31-27 (March 3) while he clings to a narrow lead over Bernie in Iowa (2 points ahead per the Des Moines Register poll of March 10). In New Hampshire, the Feb. 28 University of New Hampshire poll has Bernie 4 ahead while the Harvard/Harris poll of the same date has Biden 11 ahead.
But don’t be deceived, as Joe appears to be, by these data. Each of the polls have the other candidates (Harris, Warren, Booker, Klobuchar, Gillibrand, Holder, O’Rourke and Castro) bunched narrowly together in single digits.
But when you read the polls properly, Biden’s 31 percent vote share really is a vote against rating of 69 percent. Since Biden has universal name recognition, if a Democratic primary voter is not supporting him, he is really voting against him, he just does not know enough about the other candidates to back them.
The fact is that this Democratic primary field is so diverse that there is something for everyone (except for those looking for sane policies).
Want a socialist? There’s Bernie.
A woman socialist? Try Warren.
A younger one? Here comes Beto.
A moderate progressive? Go for Klobuchar.
An African American radical? There’s Holder.
A more moderate black candidate? Booker.
A feminist? Gillibrand.
A Latino? Castro.
With such a field, Biden will rapidly shed votes as the various candidates make their targeted appeals.
And Biden has been in the game too long. He’s got to defend votes starting with his approval of the Iraq War and his backing of the Patriot Act.
He looks and acts old and will quickly be outdistanced by his younger competitors and, perhaps by his older rival, Bernie Sanders.
Joe Biden is destined to be the answer to a trivia question. Who ran for president three times and lost?
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