Biden launched his campaign via a somber announcement video, aiming to project the gravitas of a senior statesman. Often speaking directly to the camera, Biden’s message was clear: the 2020 race for the presidency is a battle for the “soul of America.” He focused on the shocking and deadly 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA and Trump’s equivocating response to it as the most basic example of why the 45th president should and must be replaced.
Former Vice President and U.S. Senator Joe Biden became the 20th candidate to enter the field for the Democratic presidential nomination and vie for a shot at the title against the current POTUS, Donald J. Trump.
Entering a field mostly comprised of younger men and women and reflective of the diversity in today’s Democratic Party, Biden and his campaign team may calculate his prospects for winning the nomination hinge largely on his ability to convince Democrats — still raw from an unexpected defeat in 2016 — that he is the candidate best positioned to defeat Trump in November 2020.
In light of Biden’s nearly 50-year track record in national politics, his much-criticized past and recent conduct toward women, inconsistent support for civil rights, advanced age (76) and two previous failed runs for the presidency, some believe Uncle Joe’s time has passed. Others believe he is the best suited to beat Trump.
Biden has consistently led most polls of Democratic primary voters, though usually with no more than 25 to 30 percent of the vote, and most early general election voter polls have shown him to be the strongest candidate against Trump. A new Politico/Morning Consult poll released the same day of Biden’s announcement had him leading Trump by eight points.
Role of Texas
There seems to be a juxtaposition between Biden’s appeal nationally and what’s happening in Texas.
“Whereas in Texas we’re seeing the state turning blue because of the rising electorate of Latinx, black and young voters, political analysts think Joe Biden is the most viable candidate because he can mobilize, among others, older white voters in places like Pennsylvania and Michigan,” said Joe Bowen, a veteran Texas political strategist. “So it’s really a choice of making a bet on the future of the party or going back to the types of candidates we’ve run in the past.”
But, Bowen adds, voters would be wise to consider focusing on how to appeal to diverse states like Texas in a competitive general election. “It’s simple math. We’ve got 38 electoral votes. The Democratic nominee could lose Florida, Iowa and New Hampshire and still win if we carry Texas.”
With their presidential candidate field now largely set, Democrats will evaluate the options and likely begin to thin the herd in the coming months. Some observers think Biden has already hit his high-water mark of support and will steadily sink now that he’s joined the race. Others believe Democrats’ desperate desire to win next November, and their fond memories of his Obama days will give Biden staying power.
As a big state voting on the all-important Super Tuesday next March, Texas is likely to play an outsized role in the nomination process. Stay tuned.