Call him "The Golden Boy."
For Democrats distraught that Donald Trump is president, Joe Biden is the savior who will ride into town on a white horse on January 20, 2021 to save America. Or, more likely, he'll just take Amtrak.
Many of the most recent polls put Biden at the top. In the Real Clear Politics rolling average, which keeps track of all 2020 presidential polls, Biden is far ahead of Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders, 32.8% to 12.3%. A poll in January by Emerson College even put Biden at 45% to Sanders' 5%.
He'd be 78 years old if he were to run and be elected. And even though he's been on the public payroll for nearly 50 years, Biden appears ready to seek the top government paycheck — $400,000 for the job of President of the United States.
But as 2019 rolls on and Democrats plan to hold their first debate in June, less than than four months from today, some in the party are having second thoughts about ridin' with Biden.
"This last election cycle, we’ve seen a whole new level of energy that has emerged through a lot of fresh faces, and the party has moved in that direction and wants to hear new ideas and different messages," Norm Sterzenbach, a former executive director of the Iowa Democratic Party, told McClatchy.
Jim Manley, a longtime Democratic operative, told the news agency: "I’m not convinced Biden is the right way to go at this point in time. The folks I’ve talked to are a little taken aback. No one quite understands where it’s coming from."
In all, McClatchy interviewed more than 30 Democratic strategists — "pollsters, opposition research experts, media consultants, ex-party officials, and communications specialists" — and the consensus was not good for Uncle Joe.
Strikingly, these conversations yielded a similar view: The Democratic political community is more broadly and deeply pessimistic about Biden’s potential candidacy than is commonly known. While these strategists said they respect Biden, they cited significant disadvantages for his campaign — from the increasingly liberal and non-white Democratic electorate to policy baggage from his years in the Senate and a field of rivals that includes new, fresh-faced candidates.
“Among political professionals, there are deep concerns because we know the history,” said a Pennsylvania-based Democratic strategist, granted anonymity to speak candidly about a party elder. “We have reason to be skeptical of the hype. We heard it with Hillary, and we saw it happened,” the source added. “And there’s a lot of reason to think he would wind up a significantly weaker candidate than Hillary.”
And like Hillary Clinton, who got crushed in the 2016 election, Biden despises all Trump supporters. While the former Secretary of State under Barack Obama famously called Republicans "deplorables," Biden deems them "virulent people, some of them the dregs of society."
Biden, who was vice president under America's first black president, plans to make the race about, um, race. "It’s what these guys are all about, man," Biden said, turning on the folksy charm in a sit down with Al Sharpton. "These Republicans don’t want working-class people voting. They don’t want black folks voting."
But the plagiarist with the thinning hair plugs and fake chompers brings a whole slew of baggage to 2020 (along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the very white Massachusetts Democrat who claims to be Native American). He’s already run for president twice, in 1988 and again in 2008, both times coming up well short.
That all seems ages ago now. Even his tenure in the White House seems decades ago. Things have changed dramatically, and the Democrats — while flirting with Biden and Sanders and Warren — will likely opt for a far younger and more diverse candidate.
As Jim Cauley, a Kentucky-based Democratic strategist, said to McClatchy: "Let’s be honest: He’s an older white guy. Does he connect with the base?"