Opinion: Democrats could retake the White House in next year’s mid-term elections and Joe Biden could become the next President.
In the heat of the 2012 Presidential election campaign, senior White House chief political strategist David Axelrod approached his boss, then President Barack Obama, with a sobering message. Democratic enthusiasm for Obama had begun to wane. Axelrod offered a suggestion to turn the tide. The President needed to call in former President Bill Clinton to reinforce his re-election campaign effort.
To be clear, there is no love lost between the two former presidents. “Bill Clinton’s animosity toward Obama is legendary.” The New York Post reported in June 2013. Just a year earlier, Clinton was urging his wife to oppose Obama’s re-election. Hillary deferred, citing loyalty, but her husband was offended by what he perceived was Obama’s slight against him. According to sources quoted in Edward Klein’s book “The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House”, Clinton fumed:
“I’ve heard more from Bush, asking for my advice, than I’ve heard from Obama. I have no relationship with the president — none whatsoever. Obama doesn’t know how to be president. He doesn’t know how the world works. He’s incompetent. He’s an amateur!”- Bill Clinton, as quoted in “The Amateur”
As the 2012 campaign took its toll on Obama’s approval ratings (mainly due to the IRS scandal and, ironically, Hillary’s Benghazi and e-mail scandal), Obama was left no choice but to reach out to Bill. Clinton proposed a deal.
Clinton agreed to give the nominating address at the Convention. In exchange, he demanded Obama endorse Hillary Clinton as his successor. Bill held up his side of the agreement stumping on Obama’s behalf on the campaign trail and giving a rousing speech at the convention. Obama was re-elected but once back at the White House, he began to have second thoughts, sending signals he preferred to stay neutral in the next election, as is tradition with sitting Presidents.
When word of this reached Bill Clinton, he insisted Obama go on 60 Minutes with Secretary Clinton, to publicly affirm his support for Hillary. The result was a hastily organized and somewhat uncomfortable interview with Hillary and Obama on CBS’s 60 Minutes.
What made Obama’s deal with Bill Clinton personally heartbreaking for the sitting President, was it meant his Vice President and good friend, Joseph Biden, would have to go it alone in the 2016 election, should he run. After all, Vice Presidents Gore, Bush and Mondale all secured their party’s nomination after serving as deputies to successful sitting presidents.
Biden briefly toyed with a 2016 run against Hillary, but the death of his son, Beau, wore heavily on him, emotionally and financially. At one point, he told President Obama that he and Jill would have to sell their home, to care for Beau’s family. As Biden recalls it, “[Obama] said, ‘I’ll give you the money. Whatever you need, I’ll give you the money. Don’t, Joe — promise me. Promise me.’ I said, ‘I don’t think we’re going to have to anyway.’ He said, ‘promise me'”.
Biden enjoys a close relationship with Hillary and was acutely aware of the historic potential for a first female President. Since Clinton’s loss to Trump in November last year, Biden has been frank in his assessment of her Presidential campaign. “You didn’t hear a word about that husband and wife working, making 100,000 bucks a year, two kids, struggling and scared to death. They used to be our constituency,” Biden told the LA Times. “I don’t think she ever really figured it out, and by the way, I think it was really hard for her to decide to run,” the former VP says.
Instead of launching his own Presidential run, Biden campaigned tirelessly for his friend, Hillary Clinton, appearing at no less than 83 campaign events, all while mourning the loss of Beau.
Last week, Biden announced he’s launching a Political Action Committee as a way to ‘stay involved’ in politics, but many are speculating the move will lead to a Presidential run in 2020. There is a scenario, which could see Biden in the White House two years earlier. The following is my opinion and is based solely on what is publicly known about the investigation of the Trump-Russia affair.
As I’ve previously explained, in my post on the seriousness of the investigation into Donald Trump’s involvement with Russia, impeachment would be the likely course of events in more ordinary times. These, however, are not ordinary times. Far from it.
Even after FBI Director James Comey lays out the case for obstruction of justice against Trump before senate committee on Thursday this week, Republicans are unlikely to launch impeachment proceedings. This is based on political expediency but also because it’s now suspected House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) both accepted Russian money for the their part’s 2016 election season. (I wrote about it in my post “What America Needs Now”.) They are not only beholden to Trump, but they may be owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin and very possibly complicit in the entire affair.
This could mean voters have to wait until the 2018 mid-term elections to exercise their vote in opposition to Donald J. Trump. In so doing, they will also have a chance to elect the next President of the US. If Democrats win the house (which would mean flipping 22 Republican house seats) and launch impeachment proceedings, they could put a new President in the White House before 2020.
Should Joe Biden run for one of those House seats and win, he could become the House Speaker. The House could then impeach President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Michael Pence, paving the way for Biden to become the 46th President of the United States. Biden will be 74 on mid-term Election Day in November 2018 and 75 when the new Congress takes office in January 2019. The next presidential election will still happen in November 2020.
Obvioulsy, this scenario holds for whomever is House Speaker in the event of a Democratic win. Hillary Clinton and even Barack Obama could run for the House (the U.S. Constitution doesn’t allow for a President to be elected for a third term, but it doesn’t prohibit a third term, through succession) but Clinton and Obama would both receive serious opposition from the Trump base, at a time of considerable division in the country. Biden’s white collar appeal, hopeful vision, impeccable credentials and no ties to a corruptable money machine will appeal across the board as the man to lead America out of the gloom in which we find ourselves. “Joe always says, ‘If you’re not on your way up, you’re on your way down,” the New York Times quoted someone close to Biden as saying in 2013. Sometimes, you’re down so much, the only way to go is back up.