Joe Biden is spoiling for a fight, and the opponent he wants to face is none other than Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America.
After a White House aid last week made a comment about John McCain saying “he’s dying anyway”, the 75-year-old Democrat appeared shocked and gave his opinion that decency in the administration had finally hit “rock bottom”.
“People have wondered when decency would hit rock bottom with this administration. It happened yesterday. … Given this White House’s trail of disrespect towards John and others, this staffer is not the exception to the rule, she is the epitome of it,” Biden said in a statement.
JUST IN: Joe Biden responds to White House staffer who characterized Sen. John McCain as "dying anyway."
— ABC News (@ABC) May 11, 2018
So will Biden’s outrage cause him to declare that he will be running for the Democratic Party nomination for president in 2020?
While Biden’s boss for eight years was “No Drama Obama” the former senator from Delaware is just the opposite. When he gets upset about something, everybody knows it. In March, upset about the president’s comments about women, he said he would “beat the hell” out of Trump if they were in high school. This of course let to attacks from Trump and a further escalation of the rhetoric on both sides.
“They asked me would I like to debate this gentleman, and I said no. I said, ‘If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him,” Biden said in a speech to the University of Miami College Democrats group.
Then Trump tweeted:
“Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people Joe!”
Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people Joe!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2018
So is this going to lead to a battle between the two 70-something politicians or is it just talk?
Many Democrats would welcome Biden’s entry into the presidential sweepstakes, because they believe he could unite all the factions within the party. Others, of course, say he represents the old guard of the party and it is time to pass the torch to a new generation of younger Democrats. An old white man may not be what the party needs to energize the Obama coalition at this time.
Biden first ran for president 30 years ago, and he has “never said never” about running in 2020.
Bill Galston, a former policy adviser to Bill Clinton, said:
“There are three lanes to look at. In lane one, there is ‘Bernie-lite’, which could be Bernie himself. In lane two, there are people who think, for a variety of reasons, that’s not the right way for the Democratic party to go and we ought to be 21st-century reformers.”
“Lane three is the Biden lane. He’s really sui generis. If people are looking for a unifier and don’t want to shed internecine blood, the argument for Biden could be potent. On the other hand, he has always underperformed as a presidential candidate in the past.”
Biden recently made the following statement, which did not thrill Bernie Sanders or his supporters:
“I love Bernie but I’m not Bernie Sanders,” he said. “I don’t think 500 billionaires are the reason why we’re in trouble … We have not seen this huge concentration of wealth. The folks at the top aren’t bad guys. I get in trouble in my party when I say wealthy Americans are just as patriotic as poor folks. I’ve found no distinction, I really haven’t.”
Many “middle of the road” Americans think class warfare is not the way to go, and they respect Biden’s position. They see him as a straight-talking champion of the middle class, and someone who will fight for the little guy against big corporate interests.
This may or may not be true, but one thing for sure is that Joe Biden would bring to the 2020 race some qualities that other Democratic candidates don’t have. It is possible that his passion and his outrage at Trump may be enough to propel him to victory if he decides to run.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.