Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

When Will Joe Biden Announce He's Running for President?


Vice-President Joe Biden is said to be ready to announce that he will run for president in 2016.

According to a series of sources, starting with Fox News, confidantes of the vice-president said that he would make an official announcement within the next two days and is looking to hire campaign staff.

What is Joe Biden really thinking? We’ll soon find out. Photo credit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/

As The Nation’s Joan Walsh wrote Monday, a string of top-level Washington reporters with sources in the White House, were saying that Biden was unimpressed by the field challenging Hillary Clinton in the first Democratic Party debate (the Washington Post’s Dan Balz); that he would not be “bullied” by the Clinton campaign (CBS); that he stood for Biden “values” as opposed to Clinton values (The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd); and that Biden would make an announcement within days (NBC’s Kristen Welker and CNBC’s John Harwood).

We don’t know yet if these are the final trial balloons, which can burst with “What are you thinking Joe?” pushbacks, or real scoops.

But we know that Biden has run for the presidency twice before, in 1987 and in 2008, where Obama picked him as his running mate. After serving under President Obama for almost seven years, it is not surprising that he has thought considerably about jumping into the ring.

Seeing the presidency from his vantage point, it is likely that he felt more qualified than ever, even if he is getting started late and faces formidable competition from Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. As anyone who has been around presidential campaigns will tell you, it is impossible to shake off the presidential bug once bitten.

But that doesn’t mean it’s a wise, smart or shrewd idea—and that’s especially true for Biden. If he’s getting advice from players who are as far on the inside as the DC journalists who were breaking or leaking this story, that’s not a good sign. After all, the race is one where political outsiders are flourishing. Doesn’t Biden realize that he can only run as the most inside of Washington insiders?

How Biden’s would-be entrance into the race will affect the increasingly tight Democratic contest remains to be seen. Presumably, he has Obama’s backing, which is a big deal, as Obama is still the party leader. Although it is possible that Obama will take a hands-off approach until he has to get involved in order to protect his legacy. Right now, there’s no pressure on Obama to do anything.

How Biden reshuffles Democratic polling numbers is another question. According to a recent survey by Public Policy Polling, Clinton is still the top choice of Democrats nationwide but Biden would have slightly more support that Sanders.

On Oct. 6, PPP included Biden in its questioning and subsequently wrote:

“We also tested a fantasy field in which all of the names that have been thrown out there as possible Clinton challengers in recent months were included. Clinton gets 37 percent to 20 percent for Biden, 19 percent for Sanders, 11 percent for Elizabeth Warren, 4 percent for Al Gore, 2 percent each for Michael Dukakis and John Kerry, and 1 percent for Martin O'Malley. When you throw Warren, Gore, Dukakis, and Kerry into the mix Clinton still holds on to 83 percent of the people who support her in the actual field of candidates, compared to 80 percent for Biden, and 69 percent for Sanders.”

PPP's report continued:

“We also tested Clinton head to head against Biden, Sanders, Gore, Warren, and Kerry. Biden comes the closest—in a head to head against Clinton he trails only 51/38. No one else can come within 20 points of Clinton when it comes to a one on one contest. Sanders trails 54/34, Warren 58/28, Gore 67/22, and Kerry 69/17. That’s not to say Democratic voters don’t like these other faces. Gore has a 62/21 favorability rating, Kerry a 57/20 one, and Warren comes in at 51/18. But for the most part Democrats are content with nominating Clinton next year and aren’t looking for some new face (beyond possibly Biden) to enter the race so they can flock to them.”

The Nation’s Walsh wrote that a Biden candidacy could cut into Sanders’ support among working class whites, as that is his natural base. But even that is not exactly a given in today’s Democratic field.

As she noted, Biden cannot run to the left of Clinton. He was elected and re-elected six times as a U.S. Senator before becoming vice president. His record in the Senate is not as liberal as hers. Biden may go after Clinton for representing Wall Street as New York’s senator, but he has been the credit card industry’s man in the Senate for decades. He helped toughen the laws on bankruptcy, which has been criticized by Elizabeth Warren. In a party where the Black Lives Matter movement counts, he’s been pushing get-tough criminal justice reforms for years—the very drug and sentencing laws that Clinton and Sanders say they would repeal (even as Hillary’s husband, Bill Clinton, signed them; he recently apologized).

It’s also hard to imagine that Biden could come in and raise the requisite campaign cash to compete with Sanders and Hillary, or that he could build an on-the-ground organization that could win in the first four Democratic contests: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. In a crowded field, he has to show that he can do well early on and have staying power for a longer haul.

The New York Times just reported that Clinton has spent more early money getting her campaign up and running in more states than anyone else now running, suggesting that was one of her biggest takeaways from losing to Obama in 2008. The Sanders campaign has been following a similar template, trying to get people on the ground in more than the first few states where Sanders is likely to win. Does Biden really have a comparable cache of donors and local activists ready to go?

It is understandable that Biden could not sit still as his last likely shot to run for president slipped by. But sitting feet away from Obama in the White House and thinking that “I could do this job,” and being urged by DC insiders to go for it—especially reporters who love covering chaotic campaigns—is a far cry from being in drafty meeting halls and bland hotel ballrooms across America waiting for crowds to come.

What is Biden really thinking? We’ll soon find out.


Larry David as Bernie Sanders on Saturday Night Live: ‘We Need a Revolution’

Colbert’s 5 Funniest Moments from the #DemDebate

6 of Donald Trump’s Most Outrageous Tweets on Climate Change

3 Reasons Why Republicans Won’t Undermine Paris Climate Talks

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A man pushes his mother in a wheelchair down Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami on May 19, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. reported more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, in a sign that the outbreak is not letting up as the Fourth of July weekend kicks off.

Read More Show Less
To better understand how people influence the overall health of dolphins, Oklahoma State University's Unmanned Systems Research Institute is developing a drone to collect samples from the spray that comes from their blowholes. Ken Y. / CC by 2.0

By Jason Bruck

Human actions have taken a steep toll on whales and dolphins. Some studies estimate that small whale abundance, which includes dolphins, has fallen 87% since 1980 and thousands of whales die from rope entanglement annually. But humans also cause less obvious harm. Researchers have found changes in the stress levels, reproductive health and respiratory health of these animals, but this valuable data is extremely hard to collect.

Read More Show Less

Sunscreen pollution is accelerating the demise of coral reefs globally by causing permanent DNA damage to coral. gonzalo martinez / iStock / Getty Images Plus

On July 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill prohibiting local governments from banning certain types of sunscreens.

Read More Show Less
Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks. jacqueline / CC by 2.0

By Kelli McGrane

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks.

Read More Show Less

"Emissions from pyrotechnic displays are composed of numerous organic compounds as well as metals," a new study reports. Nodar Chernishev / EyeEm / Getty Images

Fireworks have taken a lot of heat recently. In South Dakota, fire experts have said President Trump's plan to hold a fireworks show is dangerous and public health experts have criticized the lack of plans to enforce mask wearing or social distancing. Now, a new study shows that shooting off fireworks at home may expose you and your family to dangerous levels of lead, copper and other toxins.

Read More Show Less
Billions worth of valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper were dumped or burned last year as electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record 53.6 million tons. Curtis Palmer / CC by 2.0

By Ashutosh Pandey

Billions worth of valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper were dumped or burned last year as electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record 53.6 million tons (Mt), or 7.3 kilogram per person, a UN report showed on Thursday.

Read More Show Less


A women walks with COVID-19 care kits distributed by Boston's Office of Neighborhood Services in Boston, Massachusetts on May 28, 2020. The pandemic has led to a rise in single-use plastic items, but reusable bags and cloth masks can be two ways to reduce waste. JOSEPH PREZIOSO / AFP via Getty Images

This month is Plastic Free July, the 31 days every year when millions of people pledge to give up single-use plastics.

Read More Show Less