The next president’s gonna need some bipartisan support. This week, Vice President Joe Biden made it clear he was in for the long haul.
In an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes on Sunday, Biden offered a wry smile when asked if he’s considering 2020.
“I love this country. I love my family. I’ve got four wonderful children and one incredible grandchild. And, if the opportunity comes, and I don’t take it lightly, I’m going to do everything I can do. I hope it comes to me, and if it does, I will serve with everything I’ve got for the entire time of any president I might serve in,” he told Lesley Stahl.
And he said that he’s keeping his options open, having been through “the crucible of political conflict.”
If he decides not to run, President Donald Trump’s most recent White House challenger will be taking a big political risk.
Biden has a solid profile. He’s been a viable front-runner for a number of races, including in 2016. He’s got the name recognition to start with. As the VP himself said, it would be a complicated decision, if in fact he decides not to throw his hat in the 2020 presidential ring.
That said, the Democratic Party and the Republic were changed, quite a bit, by Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016.
Much of that caused by the thousands of emails released by Wikileaks. And no matter how much Biden tries to spin it in a way that he had nothing to do with it, the transcripts reveal that Biden and Clinton were the most progressive of all of the Democratic presidential candidates.
In a conversation with Steve Kornacki during 2016’s campaign cycle, Biden made a point to stress that even during a campaign where he called for the country to legalize marijuana, he was a social conservative.
Biden is also a big advocate for the American Dream. Whether he will be able to appeal to that group of voters if he runs is still a very open question.
Biden may also have less political capital than many hope. As Stahl pointed out in her interview with the VP, President Donald Trump’s popularity is sky-high.
But just because Biden can’t lean on Trump’s support, doesn’t mean that the rest of the country is going to jump on board his plane right away.
A CNN/ORC poll released Friday showed an all-time high in negative views of the President. Only 20% have a favorable view of the President, while 59% of respondents have an unfavorable opinion.
“His folks see the economy better than me and I’m not against the president. I’m just very concerned that I don’t think the direction we’re going has been optimal for our country,” Biden said.
The VP also revealed that when he learned Trump was a republican, he thought it was a “punk party.” The VP said that in March 2016, he was leaning towards Hillary Clinton and things appeared very much clear until he heard the candidate’s birther comments.
“In fact, I thought that was an act. I thought he was trying to create a distraction. He thought it would fire up his base. It didn’t. And I know everything he thinks because he was so close to me in the early stages of this campaign. I was in my comfort zone and I had my good friends at the time who were doing a lot of the early work for me when I was backing Hillary Clinton,” he said.
The hope for the vice president is that a lot of the things he’s been talking about in recent weeks — to give the middle class a break, raise the minimum wage, to combat climate change, to address criminal justice reform, will get people’s attention. And just maybe the Facebook posts might start coming more often from Democrats as a result.
“I am trying to do my best to persuade all my friends who I once seemed so chilly about to embrace, to embrace the notion that my ideas aren’t out there,” he said.