This retrospective, spoken by former Vice President Joe Biden, comes to us via an article in The Washington Post:
“I had a lot of data,” Biden said. “I was fairly confident that if I was the Democratic Party nominee, I had a better-than-even chance of being president.”
Biden looked at his hand, flexing it back and forth.
I lost part of my soul, my, uh.” He cleared his throat. “Excuse me.”
He then recounted how the sudden illness and death of his son Beau Biden in the run-up to the Democratic primaries weighed on his decision to contest in the 2016 race.
“The press began to think I was playing a game, but I couldn’t tell them about my boy,” Biden said. “He wanted me to run. … My son Hunter, my daughter Ashley, my wife, all thought I should.”
“I didn’t,” he said. “At the end of the day, I just couldn’t do it.”
Would Joe Biden have been the Democrat nominee if he decided to run? More on that further on.
But if he were the nominee, would he have won the general election against Donald Trump? My guess is almost certainly yes.
Would states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania – maybe Ohio as well — given their electoral votes to a guy who grew up in a working-class family, and took the commuter train home from Capital Hill instead of a limo? I’d bet anything the answer is yes…and there’s the election.
Would Biden’s sometimes silly, sometimes outright jackassian comments over the years, or his touchy-feely behavior with women (spontaneously, and in full public view – not behind closed doors so far as we know) have have hurt him against Donald Trump? Obviously not: where is Trump’s leverage to attack him on either one?
And would we have been better off with a Joe Biden presidency than a Donald Trump presidency – keeping in mind that Democrats would be in control of who gets on the Supreme Court? Your call.
Now: could he have won the nomination?
That’s a real iffy question.
If Biden ran, and Bernie Sanders stayed in, the hard left base still would have just one place to go – Sanders – while Clinton and Biden would split the rest.
So if Biden ran, would he be a pretty sure loser unless Clinton or Sanders dropped out? Probably.
And did Biden’s decision not to run probably cost Bernie Sanders the nomination? Probably.
In other words, Biden’s decision not to run – absent Sanders dropping out – was most likely the right one.
And, either way, Democrats’ biggest problem was (and apparently remains)…Hillary Clinton.