Tuesday, March 19, 2019


Joe Biden is clearly on the verge of announcing his presidential candidacy, and I think this really might work for him:
As he prepares for a possible run, Biden has hunkered down for strategy sessions with a tight knit group of advisers and held meetings with top Democrats and elected officials. One subject of discussion has been the early selection of a running mate....
Any names?
Last week, Biden stirred speculation as he met privately with Stacey Abrams, a Democratic rising star who ran for governor in Georgia last fall and is weighing another run for office -- potentially even the presidency. Biden requested the meeting, according to a person familiar with the sit-down....

A person familiar with the meeting said Biden and Abrams discussed a variety of topics on policy and politics, including whether she intends to run for Senate next year. The vice presidency was not formally discussed during their meeting, two people familiar with the meeting tell CNN.
Well, if they've already been discussing this, then maybe they didn't need to have another formal discussion.

This might be a way to take the age issue off the table (Abrams is 45) -- but it's also a way for a white guy to preempt the non-white and female candidates in the race -- hey, vote for me and you get diversity, too. That's dispiriting -- a couple of months ago, this seemed as if it would be a race with many top-tier female and non-white candidates, but now, with Biden and Bernie Sanders dominating the polls, and Sanders and Beto O'Rourke leading in fund-raising, it's turning into another pale-male sausagefest.

Democrats familiar with [Biden's] plans say he intends to unveil a roster of prominent supporters, including black leaders whose endorsements are seen as critical to his candidacy, as the race moves beyond Iowa and New Hampshire.
Do endorsements work anymore? For the Republicans in 2016, they didn't -- going into primary season, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio had far more key endorsements than the rest of the field, and it didn't matter. Hillary Clinton seemed to have more black support than Obama early on in the 2008 race. So this may not matter.

But I keep thinking back to the Twitter thread I posted a couple of weeks ago. A political operative was observing a focus group of black female Democratic voters in South Carolina, and he saw that Biden was quite well liked.

Negative information about Biden didn't really change any minds:

Picking Abrams early would help him too. But if it works, so much for real change at the top of the ticket.

In recent decades, a couple of candidates who were struggling to stay in the race chose running mates late in the primaries. In July 1976, Ronald Reagan chose Senator Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania, a fairly liberal Republican. He was supposed to help Reagan win Pennsylvania delegates at the convention, but that didn't work out -- one Pennsylvania delegate flipped to Reagan, but Mississippi's delegation flipped from Reagan to Ford.

In late April 2016, Ted Cruz announced that Carly Fiorina would be his running mate. A week later, Cruz dropped out of the race.

Those seemed like desperation moves. Picking a running mate early doesn't seem desperate. I'm surprised more candidates haven't tried it -- but I think you have to seem like a formidable candidate in order to attract an impressive running mate. Why would anyone want to commit early to a possible also-ran?

So this seems like a power move on Biden's part -- but I'll be sorry if it's the reason white malehood wins another nomination.

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