When the Vice-President of a two term President seeks to reach the highest office in the land, they usually have a built-in advantage over all other contenders:
It’s pretty much a truism in American political history: If the president is not running again and the vice president wants his party’s nomination, it’s his for the asking.
That was the case in 1960, with President Eisenhower term-limited and Vice President Richard Nixon’s path to the GOP nomination unimpeded.
It was also true in 1968, when President Johnson decided not to run again and his vice president, Hubert Humphrey, won the Democratic nomination despite not having entered a single primary. The quests of Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy ended in assassination in Los Angeles and violence in Chicago, but considering the way things were back in ’68, Humphrey may have had the nomination locked up from the beginning.
And while the situations were not exactly the same, George H.W. Bush in 1988, Al Gore in 2000 and Walter Mondale, a former vice president, in 1984 had built-in advantages within the party that helped them get their respective party’s nominations.
The story goes on to discuss the one time in recent history when it did not happen:
The only vice president in recent history who wanted to get his party’s nomination and succeed his retiring boss — but failed — was Alben Barkley. The number two under Harry Truman and a former Senate majority leader, Barkley made himself available for the nomination after Truman surprised the nation by taking himself out of the running in 1952, after losing the New Hampshire primary. But Barkley, who was 74 years old and in office for four decades, was dismissed as “too old” by many in the party, and that was the judgment from organized labor as well. The Democrats ultimately chose Adlai Stevenson.
So this raises the question: Why hasn’t Vice President Joe Biden thrown his hat into the ring? There hasn’t even been a hint he is running. There’s no word about him setting up any apparatus in Iowa or New Hampshire. He said the following about it when asked:
Biden has consistently left his options open; in his latest update, he told a group of regional reporters at the White House he had “plenty of time” to make a decision about getting into the race.
But does he? We can only guess why Joe hasn’t gotten into the race yet. Here are several reasons to consider:
1. He believes he doesn’t have much of a chance to win the nomination. From the same CNN piece, Hillary Clinton polls as the favorite for the nomination with a whopping 69%. Biden is at 11%. It would be quite humiliating for a sitting Vice President to lose that badly to a person who hasn’t held elected office in the last 8 years.
2. He doesn’t want to. Biden has served in government for over 40 years as a Senator and Vice President. It’s possible that he feels his time of public service is complete and just doesn’t want to see the grind of another campaign. Speaking of the grind….
3. Is he too old for the contest? Biden is 72 years old and would be one of the oldest candidates in history and the oldest President ever elected. Biden would be 74 years old if and when he’s sworn in, 5 years older than Ronald Reagan – the oldest President sworn into office.
4. He’s waiting for Hillary to implode. Biden may be a loose cannon but he’s not stupid. He’s seen Hillary’s disastrous rollout. He knows the e-mail issue is not going away entirely. Now there are questions about her time as Secretary of State and the Clinton foundation. He sees her ignoring the media. There are already rumblings about Hillary’s potential candidacy and Biden, unlike Clinton, can actually make that connection with “every day” voters.
Whatever the reason may be, Biden will have to make that decision sooner than later. It is only April of 2015 but the race for 2016 is nearly in full swing already.
If he wants to get an organization in place, line up donors and lay out a plan to beat Hillary, he’s going to have to get to work.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.