Be afraid, Republicans. Uncle Joe Biden is coming, according to former Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona.
Speaking to CBS News (where he now serves as a contributor), the notoriously moderate Republican said that the thought of former Vice President Joe Biden seeking the presidency in 2020 "strikes fear in a lot of Republicans."
Joe Biden has not definitively said whether he will be running for president in 2020, but many expect him to make an announcement soon.
"He can speak to those states that President Trump won, the Rust Belt in particular, and he's seen as more of a centrist. He was a Senator for 30 some years. He knows how to work with the Senate, with the Congress, and I think that's certainly one that worries Republicans," Flake said.
Flake added that he hopes someone in the Republican Party challenges President Trump for the 2020 nomination — perhaps former Ohio Governor John Kasich. Flake believes that it would remind conservatives "what it means to be decent."
"I really don't think there's going to be a serious challenge," said Flake. "John Kasich has talked about it and he would be a strong candidate, I believe. He has a strong record as governor, back in Congress, as well. But he's not decided to do so. [Maryland Governor] Larry Hogan has been talked about. He has a strong record," Flake said. "I hope that somebody does, if only to remind to Republicans what it means to be conservative and what it means to be decent. I do hope somebody runs."
Flake also said that House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made a wise move on Monday by opposing the impeachment of President Trump. Flake said she made the decision to cover Democrats in pro-Trump districts. "I think that was the purpose," he said. "She's been pretty consistent in saying that she doesn't want it. I think that was a wise move on her part. She made it very clear that this isn't where we ought to go unless the evidence certainly takes us there."
While Flake may believe that Biden strikes fear in the heart of Republicans, he forgets that the former Vice President needs to win a competitive primary in order to get the nomination — and that will require wooing the increasingly radical progressive base. Just last week, HuffPost ran with multiple scathing hit pieces trashing Biden for allegedly lacking progressive principles, especially on abortion.
"In more than four decades of public service, Biden has enthusiastically championed policies favored by financial elites, forging alliances with Wall Street and the political right to notch legislative victories that ran counter to the populist ideas that now animate his party," one HuffPost article said of Biden. "If he declares for the presidency, Biden will face a Democratic electorate that has moved on from his brand of politics."
Another article blasted Biden for not supporting third-trimester abortions. "When former Vice President Joe Biden was a freshman Senator, he said in a 1974 interview with Washingtonian that he believed the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling clearing the way for legal first-trimester abortions 'went too far,' and that he didn’t 'think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body,'" the article said.
The fear of Biden to which Flake alluded seems to be equally strong among progressives.