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Biden Watch: Expanding Polling Lead, Reportedly Mulling Early Running Mate Announcement

As the Democratic electorate awaits former Vice President Joe Biden's final decision whether or not he'll seek the party's 2020 nomination, reports are leaking out that Bidenworld is targeting an April rollout.  It increasingly looks like he's running, with the potential candidate nearly prematurely spilling the beans in a recent speech, and a behind-the-scenes flurry of working to lock down major endorsements and hone messaging.  Among the speculation and rumors is some buzz that Biden is considering a few options that some would characterize as 'gimmicks' -- including a one-term pledge, and a very early selection of a would-be running mate.  On the former idea, I think it would be a mistake.  The idea, theoretically, would be to mollify the hard left, assuring them that Uncle Joe would help rid the country of Trump, then hand the baton to more progressive party four years hence.  Biden would also frame the move as a selfless, patriotic endeavor.  He's willing to limit his own power for the good of ousting the incumbent and healing our divisions, or whatever.  In reality, I think it might play this way:


Here's more information on the latter trial balloon:

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is expected to soon launch a bid for the presidency, is reportedly considering selecting a running mate early in his campaign. Citing Democrats familiar with Biden's plans, CNN reported the possibility on Monday. An aide told the network that naming a running mate early would help Biden keep the focus on the Democratic goal of defeating President Trump in the general election...Biden has discussed the possibility in conversations with advisers as well as with top Democrats and elected officials, according to CNN. 

I'm not sure this is a great idea either, as it may strike skeptical primary voters as desperate or presumptuous. But comparisons to Ted Cruz's announcement of Carly Fiorina as his would-be ticketmate in the spring of 2016 miss the mark, in my opinion. Cruz heaved that Hail Mary from a position of weakness. It was his last gasp. Biden, at least on paper, would attempt it as a power move. And it's hard to argue that he doesn't occupy a position of strength at the moment:


A new CNN poll shows Biden far ahead of his closest rival, more than doubling Bernie Sanders' support, 30 to 14 percent. Incidentally, the same survey shows more than 70 percent of voters calling the economy "good," which is certainly welcome news for the Republican president.  But let's say, for the sake of argument, that Biden bursts out of the gate with momentum, then reveals his running mate pick long before winning the nomination.  Who might be select?  Tapping any of his fellow contenders could be seen as demeaning or insulting, so that would be a risk unless he huddled with that person in advance and they enthusiastically signed onto the idea.  He'd also need to play the identity politics game, mitigating his vulnerability as an older, white, heterosexual male.  And Biden would also likely be heavily inclined to team up with someone with sterling progressive credentials, given how he'd be viewed with suspicion by the party's growing left wing.  

Any names come to mind?  A lot of people are thinking along the same lines, especially since Biden recently huddled with her.  So what if she has virtually no experience and has recklessly spread conspiracies to delegitimize her opponent's electoral victory.  That's a feature, not a bug, for many primary voters.  If she passes the vetting process without a major hiccup, I'd imagine she'd at least be a favorite for the gig -- but would she necessarily take it?  If Biden's the odds-on favorite to win the nomination, it's a no-brainer.  But what if he gaffes it up and fizzles?  What if the Left asserts its will and torpedoes him as problematically moderate?  Does she want to hitch her cart to someone before it's clear how he'll actually perform?  Intriguing questions.  I'll leave you with another one: How will Biden, and the rest of them, handle the impeachment question?  More than half of Democrats want it, but only about a quarter of the wider electorate does.  Hardly anyone seems to want to stand up to the hardcore base with any bubble-piercing reality checks, but the specter of impeachment could actually help the incumbent.  Decisions, decisions:


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