Joe Biden should announce he’s running for president in 2020. Right now.
Cut the coy. Cut the Mario Cuomo routine. Just throw down Joe. You know you want to.
If you announce now, the next two years become a debate between you and Donald Trump. You become the shadow president.
You’ve earned it. You deserve it. You regret you didn’t run last time. Because you’d probably be president right now. Beating Hillary in the primary would have been tough, but if you had, you sure as hell would have had a compelling economic message in the general election in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin for those lunch bucket voters you know so well. And, therefore, would have won.
Every elected Democrat with an ounce of ambition is positioning themselves to run. But it's just creating 100 Davids against the one Goliath in DC. There is a lot of potential talent coming up through the ranks, but if you’ve got an old Babe Ruth hanging around the locker room, put him on the field. More importantly, a Biden candidacy now could eliminate, at least temporarily, the emerging rift between progressives and centrists. Biden has respect and credibility from both camps. And he could keep that fight from spilling over into a civil war that could kill chances for 2018 and 2020.
Democrats need a Goliath of their own to focus and dominate the message. And Joe, you’re it.
While there is talent in the rest of the potential field, Donald Trump views them all as gnats. And will treat them accordingly. But Biden would drive him crazy. Cause Joe is secure about his stature and his standing. He’s got weight and gravitas. And love and respect. All the things that Trump wants.
Yeah, you’re old Joe. And gonna be older in three more years. And your health may decline. And maybe then you can’t or won’t want to run. So fine. Then you can pull it down and let some young gun run. But between now and then, you can just be another in an endless field of people thinking about running. Or you can be the one candidate who actually is running. And frame the debate for Democrats.
Yes, I’m an independent-leaning Republican. So, I’m suspect. Why take my advice? I don’t see things in terms of what’s good for Republican or Democrats. I see things as good or bad for the country. And as a long-time strategist who is just interested in a good contest and a lively but productive debate, I think it would be good for Joe Biden to step up to the plate and start swinging at Donald Trump’s fast balls. ‘Cause no other Democrats seem to be able to hit the ball right now.
What’s the downside? You could argue that it would keep other, younger Democrats from stepping up. But I would say, if they’ve got juice, and a compelling, relevant message, they’ll develop no matter the circumstances. And if they’re ready by 2019, great. Grab a bat and get on the field.
But in the meantime, Joe can command a lot of attention—and authority.
Imagine a scenario that is about to unfold. It is possible Republicans will pass health care legislation this week (or this summer). And if and when they do, all hell will break loose in the battle to frame the debate about winners and losers. Every individual with a concern, every politician with an agenda, and every special interest group with skin in the game is going to be grappling for the microphone. Leaving most Americans wondering what is real and who is right.
Amidst this firestorm, one man, Joe Biden, could stand up and give a speech that would be listened to. Why? Because he’s announced he’s running for president, which would give him higher standing. Because he’s suffered health-related tragedy with his family. And because he’s been around the block more than anyone, and frankly doesn’t need it, which means he would be a politician who might be, dare I say it, trusted.
Next, imagine Joe Biden barnstorming for Democrats next year for the mid-term elections as the de facto nominee. If things keep going they way they have been, Democrats should take the House. But if Georgia is a bellwether, then there’s a good chance the Republicans could maintain control of Congress if they can effectively make Nancy Pelosi the head of the party. Which they’ve proven they can do.
But not if it’s your party, Joe. Not if it’s yours. C’mon. Hug it up.