BI­DEN COULD WIN IF DEMS LET HIM RUN

Boston Herald - - NEWS -

Joe Bi­den would have beaten Don­ald Trump and still could win if Democrats give him a chance.

The for­mer vice pres­i­dent is one of the party’s best hopes for 2020, yet all his crit­ics want to talk about are his al­leged weak­nesses.

He’s too old.

He’s lost twice be­fore. He’s too prone to gaffes. Well, guess what? Bi­den is ac­tu­ally a year younger than Bernie San­ders. He’s just six years older than Elizabeth War­ren.

Yes, Bi­den has run two wildly un­suc­cess­ful pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns, but also was a key part of two wildly suc­cess­ful cam­paigns — with Barack Obama.

And yes, Bi­den is prone to gaffes. He speaks a lit­tle too hon­estly and spon­ta­neously some­times. But in these po­lit­i­cal times, that’s a strength.

Bi­den has never been the fa­vorite of the pro­gres­sive crowd. He’s not fash­ion­able. He’s never viewed as the Democrats’ next big thing. He’s too blue col­lar. He didn’t be­come wealthy un­til re­cently when he signed a book deal. He got his first beach house this year — in Delaware. Not ex­actly the Vine­yard.

But that’s ex­actly what Democrats need in 2020 — an or­di­nary Joe who can re­late to or­di­nary Joes in places like Akron, Ohio, and Scran­ton, Penn­syl­va­nia. Bi­den, un­like Hil­lary Clinton, would have known that

he needed to cam­paign in Wis­con­sin and Michi­gan.

Bi­den never would have lost those two states, and never would have lost Penn­syl­va­nia.

That’s be­cause he knows how to re­late to ac­tual vot­ers. He doesn’t come across as aloof, or con­de­scend­ing. That loud ap­plause Bi­den got on “The To­day Show” yes­ter­day was real and spon­ta­neous.

Af­ter Megyn Kelly ques­tioned whether Bi­den could win over “blue-col­lar Rust Bel­ters” be­cause they al­ready “love” Don­ald Trump, Bi­den quickly quipped, “They love me more.” The au­di­ence burst into laugh­ter.

Pun­dits who dis­miss Bi­den just be­cause he’s 75 are en­gag­ing in age dis­crim­i­na­tion. Vot­ers don’t seem to care about age — just check the re­sults in 1980 and 1984, when Ron­ald Rea­gan, at age 69 and 73, won in land­slides. In 2016 vot­ers chose a 69-year-old and a 70-year-old to be the pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nees.

The ques­tions about Bi­den’s age could ac­tu­ally be pos­i­tives. He’s been on the stage with world lead­ers and in the White House sit­u­a­tion room for eight years.

And he ap­pears healthy — un­like our cur­rent pres­i­dent.

The big­gest ques­tion sur­round­ing Bi­den is not whether he’s ca­pa­ble of win­ning, it’s whether he re­ally wants to run. The for­mer vice pres­i­dent has been in mourn­ing since the death of his son, Beau, and ap­pears to be still grap­pling with the loss.

Bi­den also must ask him­self whether he’ll be able to win the nom­i­na­tion of a party that’s been taken over by the left. He’ll never be the fa­vorite of the left wing, but could win a nom­i­na­tion fight if other can­di­dates split the lib­eral vote.

But the best thing Bi­den can do now is wait. Let War­ren and oth­ers ma­neu­ver for 2020. Bi­den is al­ready a known fac­tor, and can af­ford to let the fight play out for a year or two.

If Democrats re­ally want some­one who can beat Don­ald Trump, they can’t do much bet­ter than Joe Bi­den.

AP FILE PHOTO, LEFT; STAFF FILE PHOTO, ABOVE, BY NANCY LANE

OR­DI­NARY JOE: For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, left, hasn’t an­nounced whether he’ll run for pres­i­dent in 2020. Hil­lary Clinton, above, lost the 2016 elec­tion.

JOE BATTENFIELD

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