Vice President Joe Biden has been contemplating a late run in the 2016 presidential race, and he should. Had it not been for his son, Beau’s, untimely illness and death, Biden certainly would have thrown his hat into the ring by now. In his absence from the race it has pretty much been proven that Hillary Clinton is not on her way to a coronation and there appears to be room for Biden in the Democratic contest.
Some people have suggested that there is little contrast between Clinton and Biden. But there is. If there were not, MSNBC’s Willy Geist would not be able to point out that Unions and African Americans are forestalling their decision until they know what Biden decides. The contrast is that Biden does not have emails and Benghazi hanging over his head. Clinton’s baggage is bringing doubts to the mainstream that she will be electable in the general election. Bernie Sanders’ current leads in the polling in New Hampshire and Iowa are eroding the hopes that she will even be the party’s nominee.
The Sanders surge, by the way, has been attributed in part to the belief that voters are searching for an alternative to Clinton. This take on the polling neglects the fact the Sanders’ supporters are backing him because of the issues he is campaigning on and the way is going about it. The pundits are oblivious to the fact that Sanders, for many people, is the first political candidate for any office that they feel they can back 100%. The reasons they feel this way are as follows:
- His platform is our platform. We want politicians to work for us, not the billionaire class. We don’t want to rob the wealthy; we just want to reap the benefits of our labor. We see Bernie’s revolution as a way to finally get that to happen.
- Bernie is not taking any large donations from billionaires or corporations, so when he says that he will take the money out of politics and reverse “Citizen’s United” we believe that he will try. We do no doubt his honesty.
- Bernie is not campaigning negatively. His campaign is saving a lot of the money we contributed to his campaign by not running negative ads. He is keeping the discourse civil, which is refreshing to say the least. Furthermore, it makes it difficult for anyone else to attack him, because it does nothing but hurt them when they do. Attacking Sanders back-fired on Hillary Clinton’s super-pac, Correct the Record, the same way it did against his 1996 Congressional opponent, Susan Sweetser.
To get back to Biden…if he were to decide to run he would not hurt, but rather help the Sanders campaign. As the current polls demonstrate, Biden would draw support from Clinton backers, not from Sanders’. By siphoning that support away from Clinton, Biden will ease the burden on the Sanders campaign to overtake the one challenge he has faced so far. Sanders supporters will not abandon him for Biden. There is too much contrast between the two for that to happen. Biden, like Clinton voted for the authorization of the Iraq war-something that still stirs passion in the Democratic base. Biden, like Clinton will undoubtedly accept large donations. Bernie’s refusal to take such donation is the corner stone to his campaign and the main reason that we trust him. And then there is the “Biden Crime Bill”.
The 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which Biden authored and Hillary Clinton’s husband signed into law, according to the Daily Beast, has “contributed to the mass incarceration problem that has made America the most imprisoned citizenry in the Western world.” The Daily Beast also points out the overcrowded prisons and strict sentencing, which the “Biden Bill” caused, are among the things that the activist group Black Lives Matters is railing against. If African Americans want to vote in their best interest then they really need to take a hard look at Sanders. I think they will. I believe that ultimately they will reject both Biden and Hillary as their candidate.
If I were advising Joe Biden on whether or not he should run, I would tell him that when the time came to announce his decision he should stand at the podium and proclaim that he “feels the Bern” and therefore cannot run for president. He should further tell those who would support him that they should put that support behind the only viable choice: Bernie Sanders.