After months of intense speculation, Vice President Joe Biden has announced that he will not be joining the race for president. With his wife, Jill, and President Obama at his side, he asked for an end to “divisive partisan politics” that rip the country apart.
However, the decision to launch a presidential campaign, if Biden had decide to run, would in no way have impelled dissension or division within the Democratic Party as some have reasoned. To suggest otherwise is to willfully ignore the essence of political campaigns.
The message of a campaign holds ideas that a candidate wants to relate to the people. The race for president is no trivial pursuit. It should not be based on some partisan agenda to regain political office regardless of a candidate’s substance. Ideally, the yearning for the presidency should stem from the aching eagerness for change and improvements that address the nation’s class division and speak to every facet of our country’s shortcomings.
Must we sacrifice a candidate’s shrewd political vision to ensure that a party poster child take office? At whose expense do we make these sacrifices? Those who justify these practices thread on the precept that the Constitution is founded on the principle that government is for the people and by the people.
Donald Trump’s campaign, unlike what Biden’s run would have been, unequivocally divides the Republican Party at its seams with his contemptible and stinging commentaries. His senseless and economically unfeasible policies “to make America great again” include plans to deport the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the country, build a fence along the border and to hold Mexico monetarily responsible. The sheer disdain for his own party’s politics to acclimate minority groups and buttress the party’s black and Latino votes is indicative of his poor governmental assessment.
These attitudes are divisive to a party that wanted to focus on improving relations with immigrants and minorities in the 2016 presidential race.
Staunch rhetoric like Trump’s is what forms cracks in a party’s unity, not a candidate’s astute decision to enter into a race for president — particularly when the goal is to foster the American essential.
Rhetoric aside, the worry for some critics regarding Biden’s potential presidential candidacy was predicated on the notion that the decision to run would have had damaging effects on democratic support for Hillary Clinton, the current party front-runner. The concern was that Clinton would have suffered substantial losses to her support constituencies since Biden’s predicted support base — mainstream Democrats — overlaps with Clinton’s constituency. Bernie Sanders, also popular and rising in polls among Democrats, would have maintained his natural constituency. Unlike other democratic candidates, Sanders’ support base — far left — seemed less likely to switch over to Biden if he had joined the race.
The supposed implication was a three-way race, in which Biden would serve as a divisive figure in the Democratic Party to help clear the way for a Republican victory.
Biden joining the race for president would not have affirmed a Republican victory. A disorganized Republican Party with double-digit candidates running for president on relatively similar political platforms lacking concreteness and substance will have a difficult time relating to constituents anyway.
The worry from the Democratic Party regarding the possibility that the vice president would enter into the race is indicative of a party that is afraid of competition and that only cares about ensuring that the White House is kept in Democratic hands. This fear of competition is despicable.
Biden, a seasoned politician with years of experience, offered promises of a competitive primary election that would have broadened and energized the electorate. He could have offered policy issues that were direct and would benefit the American people. For example, his position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership has not changed, unlike some candidates within the party. He has also managed to refrain from high-profile political scandals.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has not been so successful in that regard. The weary email scandal, Benghazi controversy, her ties to billionaire Jeffrey Epstein (who is a convicted sex offender) and the controversy surrounding the Clinton Foundation are unwarranted strains on a legitimate political campaign for president.
If the prognostications of Biden running had been sustained and he had not pulled himself from the race, he would have been a formidable candidate — an undeniably, legitimate candidate for president.