With the 2020 primaries only a year away, Democratic politicians have started to declare their presidential runs. Presently, the Democratic Party already has 18 candidates vying for the nomination, with more still possibly announcing. One potential candidate is none other than former Vice President Joe Biden, the former vice president under President Barack Obama for eight years. Even before announcing any official candidacy, nearly every poll has Biden at the top spot of the Democratic primaries, and even have him defeating President Donald Trump in the general election if it were between those two. Despite presently looking like one of the Democratic Party’s top choices to beat Trump, Democrats should not let Biden’s perceived chances cloud their vision. Biden is not the right choice for Democrats should in this upcoming election.
Biden supporters will often claim that he has the best shot out of any of the Democrats right now of winning the presidency, as polls indicate that he is the only one consistently beating Trump. However, we must recognize that we are still a year and a half out from the election — a lot of things are going to change before then.
Yes, Biden most likely has the most name recognition as of now, but that is not an indication that he has the best chance at winning this election. In 2008, early polls for the Democratic primary had Hillary Clinton quite easily defeating Obama. However, as the campaign progressed and Obama established a name for himself, we saw him become one of the more successful Democratic candidates in recent years. We cannot let polls this early on about the general election dictate who we should vote for. The primaries are starting with possibly more than 20 Democrats — there will undoubtedly be quite a bit of changing in the polls once the summer hits and debates start.
Moreover, Biden has already shown that he struggles with presidential elections, having already attempted to win the presidency twice — once in 1987 and then again, 20 years later, in 2007. In each of these campaigns, Biden succumbed to the pressure, failing to catch on even in the primaries. Of course, Biden is a much more recognizable figure now after his tenure as vice president, but this doesn’t prove that he’s able to win elections. Hillary Clinton, after a failed 2008 Democratic primary run, was seen as the frontrunner for the 2016 election and was still not able to seal the deal. We can argue that the third time's the charm for Biden, or we can recognize that it’s time for a new, more progressive face to lead the Democratic Party.
Biden’s ability to win this election is also simply difficult to imagine, as his potential campaign has kicked off with an apology tour. Lucy Flores, a Democratic politician from Nevada, has come forward to accuse Biden of inappropriate behavior during his visit to Nevada to support her campaign for lieutenant governor in 2014. Other women have since come forward to accuse Biden of inappropriate behavior as well. Biden responded to these allegations, posting a two-minute long video to his Twitter account. In the video, he notes that “social norms have began to change” and that he “will be much more mindful” of these changes. However, Biden then went on to make a joke about these allegations, only a few days later. It is clear that Biden is unable to think before speaking.
In his 2007 presidential run, he received criticism for remarks he made about Obama, noting “You got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Biden’s inability to realize that he is being offensive hurt him in 2007, and it is most likely going to hurt him in 2020, especially with how the Democratic Party is changing in our country.
These incidents also highlight another issue with Biden — he is a much more traditional Democrat than many of the others running. Times are changing, and the Democratic Party is shifting to focus more and more on progressiveness rather than traditional values. Biden, in both his near-dismissal of making women feel uncomfortable, as well as the casual racism displayed in his 2007 comments, has proven himself as a more traditional politician than most of the rest of the field of Democratic primary contestants.
Current polls should not drive our votes in the primary. Democrats have a chance at taking over the presidency with so many of the other candidates and settling for Biden simply because he seems like he has the best chance a year and a half away from the election is not in the best bet for the party. The field for Democrats is already filled with so many progressives that highlight the liberal shift in the party — therefore, we should wait until debates start and hear what these candidates have to say before deciding Biden should be the nominee.
Zack Pasciak is an Opinion Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.