On Joe Biden: A Postscript

Since the last post, I’ve seen references to a recent Fox News poll indicating that former Vice President Joe Biden currently holds a commanding lead over President Trump (49% – 38%) among all voters, while the President has a consistent 41% level of support against all of the other currently-foremost Democratic presidential candidates (whom the poll reflects as leading or trailing the President by varying degrees). While I consider both national polls and polls taken this far from the election to be meaningless, I confess that I find one aspect of these results suggestive: the 3% reduction in the President’s support if Mr. Biden is the Democratic nominee. If in a general election, Mr. Biden is able to peel away 3% of the President’s support – at a guess, in union households – that could arguably be the measure of victory in states with continuing union strength — such as Pennsylvania and Michigan.

A second, unrelated thought: although Mr. Trump apparently fails to recognize it, we pay our Presidents to think ahead. If Mr. Biden is as suited to the presidency as I think he is, I would expect that without any written documentation that could be leaked or hacked, he has already verbally asked his few most trusted aides to start considering whom he should pick as his running mate if he wins the nomination. While it is way too early for any but the vaguest impressions — and the Democratic candidates’ respective debate performances and ultimate primary vote totals could understandably have a significant impact upon the decision — my current reaction would be that the running mate should (1) come from or be expected to have a positive impact on the voters of one or more swing states and/or (2) be in a pivotal demographic group where Mr. Biden finds he has relatively less support. Today, top prospects might be: MN Sen. Amy Klobuchar, if Mr. Biden felt he needed help in securing the Midwest; South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg or former U.S. TX Rep. Beto O’Rourke (depending upon which had fared better during the primary season) to energize young voters; or former U.S. HUD Secretary Julian Castro, who might bolster the ticket’s Hispanic support, perhaps tip Arizona, and make the President divert time and resources to hold Texas. (I admit that the only one of these that I’m now confident is prepared for the presidency is Ms. Klobuchar, but I haven’t done a thorough review of Mr. Castro.)

What will presumably be a critical backdrop to the selection is the way that it is accepted within the party; given Mr. Biden’s age, whomever Mr. Biden picks will seemingly immediately be the frontrunner for the Democrats’ 2024 nomination if he wins.

Enough. Although political handicapping is addictive, these pages are overdue for a note on a substantive policy issue …

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