Everyone who has read Shattered, the grotesque play-by-play of Hillary Clinton’s disastrous losing campaign, is familiar with the tale—starting very, very early in the process, Clinton and her team locked up almost every important Democratic endorsement in the country, including a silent but no less significant nod from Barack Obama himself. It effectively boxed out every other mainstream candidate, ensuring her a nice, smooth ride in the Democratic primary…well, if not for that pesky outside Bernie Sanders. Among those left without a piece of the centrist pie was Joe Biden, who was reduced to playing the waiting game, only to enter the race if Clinton completely bombed before reaching the general election. She only kinda bombed, though, and all he could do was take his hat out of the ring and make vaguely positive remarks about Sanders as he watched the presumptive favorite march to November.
It’s unclear whether he’ll make a presidential run in 2020, as he did in 1988 and again in 2008, but what’s not unclear is his intention to avoid the fate of 2016. At the very least, the man is giving himself a choice. Politico reports that along with accepting very political invitation within a 1,000-mile radius, Biden and his staff are plotting out an “18-month timeline” designed to make sure that if he does run, he’s going to lead the pack.
Biden, who will be 77 when the first primaries roll around in 2020, has plans to give speeches in New Hampshire, new York, florida, and Las Vegan in the next month alone, while he’s also slated to headline three different commencement ceremonies (Harvard, Colby, Morgan State). As Politico notes, the schedule reeks of presidential aspirations.
Between his private and public personas, Biden seems to be giving mixed messages:
People frequently approach Biden to say they wish he’d have run in 2016, that they think he would have won. Occasionally, he’ll get very critical of Hillary Clinton in private conversations, but to most people he just says, “Thank you.” And for the people who tell him they want to see him run against Trump, Biden keeps going back to the same line: “I’m not planning on it, but I’m not going to tell anyone I’m not doing it.”
Then again, he’s also told some people, “If I’m walking, I’m running.”
Now that’s a classic Diamond Joe quote!
Since leaving office, Biden has been spending time with family, working on a cancer initiative, and launching academic centers at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Delaware. In recent speeches, he’s emphasized the need to restore the dream of middle class prosperity for all Americans. Still, the popular Biden won’t be nailed down on whether the 2020 run, in which he’d likely be challenging incumbent Donald Trump, will actually happen.