Biden (finally) announces he won’t run for president

Joe Biden isn’t running for president, ending, literally, months of speculation. From CBS:

The vice president took his time to consider whether he and his family had the “emotional energy” to endure another campaign, following the tragic death over the summer of his 46-year-old son Beau. While his fellow Democrats gave him his space, pressure mounted for Biden to come to a decision as Democratic voters, party operatives and deep-pocketed donors considered which candidate to line up behind.

Biden was also running up against logistical deadlines: The first filing deadline for appearing on a 2016 primary ballot is November 6 in Alabama. Additionally, the Democratic primary debates are already underway; CBS News hosts the next Democratic debate on November 14 in Iowa.

Biden was also likely influenced by Hillary Clinton’s strong debate performance, which calmed the Democratic establishment and quieted the call from both the party elite and rank-and-file for Biden to enter the race.

Joe Biden, via Wikimedia Commons

Joe Biden, via Wikimedia Commons

While it had initially looked like Biden would enter the race, the longer he waited the less enthusiastic Democratic donors and voters seemed about his potential candidacy. What’s more, in order to win the nomination, Biden would have had to go straight through Hillary Clinton, sparking a nasty fight between the two that would leave them both badly damaged going into the general election. Currently beloved in Democratic circles, I’m sure it wasn’t lost on him that a presidential run would very likely damage his legacy as a party elder.

Biden would also have started out at a major disadvantage in fundraising and, oddly enough, exposure, having ceded months of time and millions of dollars to Clinton and Sanders, along with skipping the first Democratic debate — where both Clinton and Sanders picked up support at his expense.

In short, Biden missed his window, and is now choosing to bow out gracefully and stump for the eventual Democratic nominee, along with President Obama.

All that being said, Biden’s decision not to actively run doesn’t rule out the possibility of him being nominated from the floor of the Democratic convention if Hillary Clinton implodes — an outcome that is looking less and less likely as the “scandals” surrounding her unravel, but is not completely out of the realm of possibility. However, in the event that that happens, it would constitute a major sleight to Bernie Sanders and his fans, who might withhold their support rather than vote for a candidate they feel was nominated illegitimately.

In any case, Biden’s decision to not run can only be construed as good news for Clinton, who has finally picked up some momentum after a steady stream of bad news over the summer.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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6 Responses to “Biden (finally) announces he won’t run for president”

  1. Indigo says:

    Change? Who among the elite said anything about change?

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  3. BeccaM says:

    Really not a surprise at all.

  4. Ol' Hippy says:

    Now it’s time to see if any REAL change can happen. I tend to think things will continue as usual without significant concessions to big industry as they tend to buy policy or the regulators.

  5. Indigo says:

    Was that for real or was that just another media spin?

  6. Bill_Perdue says:

    Yawn.

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