Over the Easter holiday, reports began to surface late last week that former Vice President Joe Biden has finally made a decision on his 2020 aspirations and is set to formally kick off his campaign this week.
The announcement could come as early as Wednesday from a yet-to-be-determined location. Some had speculated it could be from Pennsylvania, as a nod to his blue-collar rust belt appeal. Other reports said that Charlottesville, Virginia, could serve as the backdrop as a reminder of the racial violence which Biden would argue has sprung up during the tenure of President Trump.
Here are some details as the reports broke last Thursday:
Former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to join the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field this week.
The decision answers one of the most significant outstanding questions of the early presidential primary season, which has already seen announcements from 18 other Democrats. Biden, 76, would be the most experienced politician in the race, and the second oldest, after 77-year-old Bernie Sanders.
His plans were confirmed by three people with knowledge of them. They were not authorized to discuss the plans publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The announcement is expected as early as Wednesday and would cap months of deliberation over his political future.
Concerning the announcement venue:
The specific launch date and location is unclear. Biden is likely to soon start making visits to early voting states.
One person said Biden’s advisers are also considering an early event in Charlottesville, Virginia, the site of a deadly clash between white supremacists and counterprotesters in 2017. The location would be intended to draw a contrast between Biden and President Donald Trump, who said there were some “very fine people on both sides” of the violent confrontation.
Biden has been particularly outspoken against the rise of white supremacy in the Trump era.
Given Biden’s pedigree serving under the first African-American President, Charlottesville can at least arguably make some sense in that Biden will be pushing hard to bring together a similar Obama coalition of black voters across the south to win primaries in states like South Carolina.
Some of this strategy will be geared toward winning the nomination before pivoting to win the Presidency. Biden is fighting a democratic field filled with diversity and he must sell his campaign as the way forward, the “steady hand” in the Trump era as someone who can not only win the primary but also bring the coalition needed to win the general election as well.
His argument lies in his experience, that he’s the only one in the field to make this happen.
The New York Times also reported last week that the other sign of an impending Biden announcement is a new fundraising appeal:
Several Democratic donors and party fund-raisers received emails in recent days encouraging them to write sizable checks to support Mr. Biden’s planned candidacy, and to mail them to a Democratic consulting firm in Northern Virginia.
Two fund-raising solicitations, circulated by Democratic donors in California and Pennsylvania, said Mr. Biden’s campaign committee would be called “Biden for President.”
The pre-emptive push for large donations stands in sharp contrast to the effort many Democratic candidates have made to court small donors as a sign of their appeal to the party’s grass-roots base. In the emails reviewed by The New York Times, Mr. Biden’s allies acknowledged he was not yet able to accept online contributions because he has not become a candidate.
From all accounts, he’ll be a candidate very soon, which will start to formalize the Democratic.
Trump world is taking Biden very seriously due to his political experience and connection to President Obama. A Vanity Fair article from earlier in April indicated that Biden is one name that Trump has been asking his aides about:
Trump’s Biden-phobia is shared by Republican strategists, who told David M. Drucker for Vanity Fair in December that they’d much prefer Trump to run against Warren, Cory Booker, or Sanders, who they believe they could paint as far-left radicals. Biden, meanwhile, “wreaks calmness and normalcy,” one Republican strategist said, “which I feel like people crave over the chaos of the Trump administration.”
Biden-phobia may be a little strong, but the difference between the former Vice President and his Democratic rivals is that Biden spent 8 years in the White House helping run the country already. He’s a known quantity, as is President Trump. If voters, in 2020, decide they want boring and stable versus exciting and unpredictable, Biden might win that debate.
Republican voters tend to agree that Biden, amid the current field, poses the greatest threat to Trump’s re-election, according to attendees of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) back in March:
They’re confident Donald Trump will win a second term, but many attendees of the nation’s largest gathering of conservative activists agreed that Joe Biden poses the greatest threat to the president in 2020.
Grass-roots activists at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) repeatedly invoked the former Democratic vice president when asked who would be the most formidable challenger to Trump ahead of his reelection campaign.
The race is about to change this week when Biden formally announces his intention to seek the 2020 Democratic nomination. Biden’s move will more formally test the grip that Bernie Sanders has in some polls, and also serve to gauge whether some of the lower tier candidates have been coasting along due to Biden’s absence from the race.
Will he increase his support by formally announcing or will things remain as they are? We will know that answer very soon.