This Tuesday, Vice President Biden announced that he would not seek the Democratic Nomination for the Presidency. For some this was a surprising move: after his son Beau died from cancer, Biden seemed to reevaluate his position and begin moving towards running. Ultimately he found the political climate was not suited for him running, as it took him a great deal of time to decide if he was emotionally ready to run. After Hillary Clinton dominated the first Democrat debate, the answer must have seemed clearer. With Biden not running, I take a look at how his discussion affects certain people and the election itself.
What this means for Hillary Clinton:
This is a definite win for Clinton as she continues to seek the Democratic Nomination. She loses her potentially serious rival in the primary process. Instead now she will most likely gain the support of Vice President Biden’s followers, which means a significant bump in the Northeast and in monetary contributions. At this point, barring a meltdown of epic proportions, everything is falling Clinton’s way: Biden not running, an attack on Planned Parenthood to help mobilize women, the Bengahzi hearings admittedly having a level of farce, and a currently weak Republican Party.
However, perhaps the best outcome of this for Clinton is that she will not have to actively campaign against Biden. Biden was possibly the only person that could mount a serious challenge. He is a prolific money raiser, strong with women and minorities, and is viewed as a blatantly honest and trustworthy guy. Clinton will have to rely on the first two of those things in order to get the nomination. A campaign where she had to beat Biden would pity her low trustworthiness against Biden.
Ultimately, Clinton is now able to fully use her connection to President Obama as a strength. While she will certainly distance herself in some regards, like she already has on the Keystone Pipeline, she will try to tap into the strong base of supporters he has. Perhaps she will even get Obama and Biden to fully endorse her, which would all but win her the Democratic Nomination, but that is probably far off at this point.
What this means for Bernie Sanders:
While initially this could be seen as a beneficial thing for the Senator from Vermont, I think the goals of his campaign need to change. With Biden officially out of the race, Sanders is the only true hurdle for Clinton to overcome. Yet even though he is polling well and supports policies liberals enjoy, he will not win the Democratic Nomination.
The support that Sanders is getting will not challenge Clinton as we get closer to actual primary voting. Right now Sanders’ best option (and I would argue his goal should be) is to inch Clinton to the left. He has already had this effect to a certain degree, with Clinton embracing stronger policies than she has in the past. Hillary Clinton is a heavyweight, and Bernie Sanders will not be able to twelve rounds with her.
What this means for the Democrat Party:
Perhaps the group that benefits most from Biden not entering the race is the Democrat Party. Right now it does not appear that there will be a brutal primary fight (something akin to the Republic Primary in 2012). Biden staying out helped immensely, and ultimately strengthens the Democrat position in the General Election. Sanders and the other people running will still challenge Clinton, but she will not have to exert her full force to win. She will not get through unscathed, but she will be in the perfect position to fight during a General Election. Even if Clinton does not receive the nomination, which would take a collapse much worse than in 2008, the Democrat Party will still be in a good position to continue holding the White House.
What this means for the Republican Party:
Even though I just declared this a victory for the Democrat Party, it is also a victory of sorts for the Republican Party. They now can focus their anger and animosity towards one person, as opposed to splitting time attacking Clinton and Biden. They have made their strategy around attacking Clinton, with Fiorina being a prime example. I do not honestly believe that any of the candidates have gone one day without making some comment on Clinton. However the strategy may actually work. Now they can continue their attacks without reservation that someone else could win the nomination.
What this means for Joe Biden:
Vice President Biden made the right decision to not run. There are few instances that he would actually win the nomination and more in which he weakens the Democrat position while also bloodying himself in the process. If he wanted to run, he should have announced much earlier, and this could have been a very different discussion, but at this point the right decision was made. Barring some crazy West Wing-like situation where no one wins the nomination outright and he steps forward as the Democrat Party’s savior, Biden is done running for public office.
Vice President Biden said in his speech, “While I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent.” After well over 40 years of public service, his is a voice that is still needed in politics. Biden is not retiring, simply looking at the situation and deciding he is needed elsewhere.