Dems say Biden’s stock is rising

Dems say Biden’s stock is rising
© Greg Nash

After a stunning 2016 election defeat, Democrats have been looking for new faces and new leadership.

But one Democrat in particular has run counter to that idea: Joe BidenJoe BidenDefense lawyers for alleged Capitol rioters to get tours of U.S. Capitol Sasse to introduce legislation giving new hires signing bonuses after negative jobs report Three questions about Biden's conservation goals MORE.


The former vice president has been the front-runner in some early 2020 Democratic primary polls while drawing a constant stream of news coverage. He’s scheduled to headline a series of events for Democrats running in the upcoming midterm elections.

Some Democrats are becoming increasingly convinced that the plain-spoken Scranton, Pa., native — decidedly not a fresh face for the party after serving eight years as vice president — nonetheless is the one to take on President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Memo: The Obamas unbound, on race Iran says onus is on US to rejoin nuclear deal on third anniversary of withdrawal Assaults on Roe v Wade increasing MORE in the next election.

“A fresh face is important, but Democrats need three things: someone to win the White House, someone who can elevate the rest of the ticket and a candidate who understands and appreciates governance where this president has shown disdain for it,” said Basil Smikle, a Democratic strategist who served as the executive director of the New York Democratic Party. “Biden fits that bill.”

Another top Democratic strategist said Biden makes “total sense” even up against the notion of fresh voices in 2020.

“I think a lot of us have been looking for the right leader to take on Trump in 2020 and we haven’t really found that yet in anyone,” the strategist said. “So we’re going back to what we know … even if he is labeled ‘D.C. establishment.’ I think that idea is comforting to a lot of people in the Trump era.”

Republicans have long talked about Biden as a potential threat to Trump because he’s seen as a politician able to appeal to the same blue-collar workers in Rust Belt states who turned to Trump instead of 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMcConnell: Taliban could take over Afghanistan by 'the end of the year' Hillary Clinton: There must be a 'global reckoning' with disinformation Pelosi's archbishop calls for Communion to be withheld from public figures supporting abortion rights MORE.

“He speaks the same language as Trump,” said one top Republican close to a GOP super PAC.

Biden sources say the former vice president is currently mulling a White House bid and will make a decision before the end of the year. If he does decide to run, his allies say his years of experience as vice president and senator will be an advantage.

“That would clearly be a big part of his platform,” one former Biden aide said, adding that while foreign policy isn’t “top of mind  …  it plays to his strengths.”

“I do think his experience is what people are gravitating toward,” the former aide said.

In a juxtaposition to Trump, voters will see Biden as “a person I trust to be in the room because he’s been tested,” the former aide added. “I think he’s leading in the polls because people equate him with stability and experience.”

Biden has led recent polls of would-be Democratic candidates. A Zogby poll out last month showed the former vice president widening his lead against Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP is consumed by Trump conspiracy theories Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders Sanders on Cheney drama: GOP is an 'anti-democratic cult' MORE (I-Vt.), 26 percent to 18 percent.

Still, in an interview with MSNBC’s Al Sharpton in April, even Biden seemed to acknowledge what others in the party — including former President Obama — have said about the need to make room for new faces.

“I’m really hoping that some other folks step up. I think we’ve got some really good people.”

Some Democrats have cautioned against a Biden run. For one thing, he will be 77 in 2020.

“If we can’t come up with some new names here, we have a major problem as a party,” one Democratic fundraiser said.

Another strategist warned of Biden’s tendency to put his foot in his mouth.

“The issue for him isn’t the desire for fresh blood. The issue for him is his own mouth,” the strategist said. “One gaffe and he could raise serious doubts about himself.”

There are also some questions if Biden will be in step with a party moving toward the left. Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenFree Speech Inc.: The Democratic Party finds a new but shaky faith in corporate free speech Debate over ICBMs: Will 'defund our defenses' be next? Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders MORE (D-Mass.) will be favorites among liberals.

Still, the number of Democrats with positive things to say about the former vice president and who see him as a real contender in 2020 is striking.

“He keeps in touch with about a dozen world leaders and he is very smartly making himself an elder statesman,” said Kate Andersen Brower, the author of a new book on vice presidents, “First in Line.” “He has a unique perch having served for almost 40 years in the Senate in addition to eight years in the White House. We haven’t seen someone with that much governing experience in decades.”

Biden is keeping a high profile while promoting his book, “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose” — which many allies see as a campaign test drive — while focusing on helping Democrats in the midterms.

Biden is appearing in many states that would play key roles in the Democratic primary, including Florida, where he stopped as part of his book tour this week.

Smikle, the Democratic strategist, said he could already envision how Biden could compete against candidates including Sanders, Warren and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden to record video message for 'Vax Live' concert Harris says Mexico, US can work together to improve quality of life in Northern Triangle Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says 'it is time to pass the baton on to someone else' MORE (D-Calif.).

“Iowa would be a real fight, but I think he gets New Hampshire, South Carolina and other early states,” Smikle said.

But other Democrats say perhaps his best strategy lies in how he views the Democratic Party. He has repeatedly told supporters and allies that the Democratic Party does not have to choose between liberal and blue-collar ideals.

“We can’t get bogged down … in this phony debate in the Democratic Party,” he said last summer. “There is no need to choose. They are not inconsistent.”