When history examines the life and career of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., it is difficult to say what future historians might make of Amtrack Joe, if indeed it makes anything at all.
Surely most Vice Presidents in history aren’t exactly household names. They barely get a line or two in most textbooks. Most people can’t name all the U.S. Presidents, let alone all the Vice Presidents.
Yet, there are some people who study this sort of thing, for fun or treasure. What they will make of the elder statesman and one-time Vice President, and his decision to run for president in 2020, is anyone’s guess.
Like the fall of Rome, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact moment the Joe Biden for President 2020 campaign was officially finished; it might likely prove so in the future as well, even without the jaundiced eye of our current political atmosphere.
There are those who will say that the beginning of the end was well before the Biden campaign was ever officially announced (via a classic Joe Biden flub- but who’s counting?) when Biden failed to get former President Barack Obama’s endorsement.
Biden has claimed that Obama offered and he refused it, preferring to win on his own merits. Now, Biden says the Obama endorsement doesn’t matter anyway.
On the contrary, Joe. The only thing keeping the Joe Biden for President campaign afloat at the moment is a strong base of support from the African-American community. This is an Obama proximity privilege; it is not based on the relative merits of Joe Biden.
Watching Biden stumble and fumble his way through campaign stumps, fundraisers and Democratic debates has been at times mystifying for Democratic voters and donors.
“Isn’t there anyone else?” was the million dollar question among Democrats for a long while.
It turned out to be a billion-dollar question with the unlikely answer of Michael Bloomberg. Entering the race on his own billion-dollar bankroll, Bloomberg has obviously set his sights on the moderate territory formerly held by Biden.
Moving from the beginning of the Biden campaign, trying to pinpoint the exact moment the whole thing went tragically wrong, is difficult at present. There have simply been too many embarrassing, fumbling, semi-scandalous and outright outrageous remarks and actions by candidate Joe Biden.
From bizarre hair-sniffing incidents to a recent failure to remember a single name of four female candidates he claimed to be floating for his running mate, Biden never ceases from giving the conservative media something to crow about.
And even they left the incident during one memorably lackluster debate when Biden’s eye filled with blood, largely alone.
It is easier to examine the Biden Campaign’s most recent failures. Namely, the recently announced “No Malarky Tour”. From the old-timey colloquial naming of this campaign to the very idea that such a bus tour and physical headquarters are in any way going to win against Trump, Biden demonstrates how deeply out-of-touch he is.
The Trump campaign is running the most advanced digital operation in history. The campaign, and its army of volunteers, is being run on an app.
Meanwhile, we have Joe Biden waxing poetic about a simpler time.
What political historians might make of this, what this suggests, is that Joe Biden has no one on his team that is capable of or willing to tell him the truth. Unpleasant truths like “That’s a terrible idea, Joe. No one says ‘Malarky’ anymore and no one will know what that means.”
Or it is perhaps that Joe Biden who just won’t listen.
Most recently, on the “No Malarky” tour, Biden undoubtably “misspoke” when he claimed to have spent a great deal of time with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Dennis Rodman has spent a lot of time with Kim Jong Un; Joe Biden, it seems, never even met the man.
Not that Biden should be bragging about a close friendship with him anyway. Besides being someone prone to feeding enemies to piranhas, Kim recently insulted Joe Biden publicly.
The Biden campaign’s roll out of its Latino voter outreach program was an unmitigated disaster. Announcing the name of the campaign, “Todos Con Biden” before securing the domain name and Twitter handle was a major mistake.
One that proved too irresistible to the Trump campaign as it secured both for a nominal sum and proceeded to drag Biden to every person who visited the site. Which, admittedly, was probably mostly chuckling conservatives after the news broke.
Video from 2011 recently started making the rounds on social media and in the news cycle. Each cringeworthy moment, from where Biden describes kids rubbing his blond leg hair to the word ‘cockroaches’, is more painful to watch than the last.
Biden dragged through the mud by the Ukraine business didn’t help his campaign; major donors abandoning him didn’t either.
But Donald Trump didn’t sink the Biden Campaign; Joe Biden did.
However, Joe Biden, as truly unexciting a candidate he is, may still have a shot at the Democratic nomination.
If the Senate impeachment trial drags on, all the Democratic Senators running for president, including two of Biden’s main rivals Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders, will have to be in Washington rather than on the campaign trail.
With those two gone, Biden may make a resurgence in the polls- if he can keep himself from doing or saying anything too damaging to his reputation.
Most of the Democratic powers that be, including former President Barack Obama, feel that a candidate who is too far left will hurt Democratic chances in 2020. Obama has said in particular that he will mobilize against Bernie Sanders.
If Biden, by some miracle or the machinations of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, does manage to make it into the general election, it is difficult to imagine him doing well against Trump in the debates.
Whatever the polls may say, Biden is a far weaker candidate today than he was 6-months ago. With Joe Biden at the helm, that downward trend seems likely to continue.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)