Joe Biden has finally announced his candidacy for president. He joins a field of some 20 candidates. According to virtually every poll, he is the Dem front-runner with between 25% and 30% of the vote. Additionally, these same polls show him beating President Trump. For example, the Harris poll, taken April 25 – 26 shows him with a 43-37% edge over the president.
I wouldn’t put much credence in these early polls. In my opinion, they are primarily about name recognition. He has a lot of it based on his long career in the Senate and eight years as VP. Other than Uncle Bernie, the other candidates have little to none. In addition, most voters have not focused on the political positions of these candidates yet. That will change once campaigning begins in earnest and the debates and primaries begin. No one knows who will ultimately win the Dem nomination and, afterwards, the election. However, one thing is certain: It will be a very interesting campaign.
Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. was born on November 20, 1942 in Scranton, PA. His family moved to Delaware when Joe was ten. He is well-known to the public, having served in the Senate representing the State of Delaware for 38 years and as VP for eight. When he was first elected in 1972 he was the sixth-youngest Senator in history; he was subsequently re-elected six times, and when he resigned his seat to become VP he was the fourth most senior Senator.
Biden was a very influential Senator. During his tenure he held many positions, including, among others, chairman of the Foreign Relations and Judiciary Committees. Biden has been involved in several controversial events, but, perhaps, the most contentious was the Clarence Thomas hearing in 1991 over which he presided as chairman of the Judiciary Committee. At the time, various liberals and women’s advocacy groups objected to his treatment of Anita Hill, who had accused Mr. Thomas of sexual misconduct. It appeared that he favored Mr. Thomas. Biden was unapologetic at the time and since, until this month. Recently, he issued what some have characterized as a “half-hearted” apology, which Ms. Hill described as “deeply unsatisfactory.” This issue may continue to “dog” him during the campaign.
In addition, Biden has developed a reputation for (1) saying “inappropriate” things, and (2) invading personal space. For example, a recent article in the NY Times noted he has “weak filters” and has a tendency to “blurt out pretty much anything.” Similarly, political analyst Mark Halprin noted he has had “a persistent tendency to say silly, offensive, and off-putting things.” Moreover, recently, Fox cable news ran a collage of instances in which he placed his hands on a female or sniffed their hair in what he may have meant as a friendly manner, yet, some have interpreted as “creepy” or “sleazy.” I expect these issues will be explored by the other Dem candidates and, if he wins the nomination, by President Trump. Biden will have to neutralize these issues.
Biden joins a very crowded field of some 20 candidates, all of whom are competing for funding from the same donors and the attention of the media and voters. In order to break out from the pack these candidates have been trying to “out-liberal” each other. They have been espousing some policies that strike me as “off the charts” impractical, unworkable, unaffordable, and inane. Below please find a partial list. Each of these has been suggested by one or more of the Dem candidates. Do they really believe them or are they just trying to curry favor? Who knows, but since they’re out there the candidates, including Biden, will have to either defend them or refute them.
1. Single-payer healthcare, Medicare for all, eliminate private health insurance currently used by roughly 1/2 of the populace.
2. Allow convicted felons, including rapists, murderers and terrorists, to vote WHILE STILL IN PRISON.
3. Extend the right to vote to those over 16 years old.
4. Increase the number of Supreme Court justices.
5. Abolish the electoral college.
6. Abolish ICE.
7. Open/relaxed borders.
8. Green New Deal.
9. Ban cars, trucks, and airplanes.
10. Pay reparations based on race.
I don’t believe that a majority of voters, even Dem voters, are in favor of any of these, and most who are have not analyzed them sufficiently. Some or all of these are being touted by a small but vocal minority in the media or on twitter. The candidates don’t realize that some 80% of the tweets are published by only some 10% of the people. Their views are grossly exaggerated, do not always coincide with the majority of Americans who are too busy working and providing for the families to spend their life tweeting on social media. They are misreading the electorate and will pay for it at the ballot box.
As I said, for now, Biden is the front runner. But, it is so early that any polls should taken with a big grain of salt. Once the primaries and debates commence, the field will be culled drastically, and a clearer picture will emerge.
The other candidates, particularly Uncle Bernie, have been and I believe will continue to push far left policies. In my view, the Dem party is split between traditional Dems and young aggressive far-left advocates, who don’t support Biden and who appear to be supported and encouraged by most of the media. Perhaps, Biden, who is generally perceived as having the best chance of defeating Mr. Trump, can unite these factions, but he will have to use all his political skills to do so. He has to hope that their desire to defeat Mr. Trump overrides their dislike for him. Like I said, 2020 should be verrrry interesting.