On Jan. 22, Vice President Joe Biden began laying the groundwork for a potential 2016 presidential campaign to succeed President Barack Obama by meeting with numerous high-profile Democratic Party delegates at a private conference held in a Washington D.C. hotel, according to CNN.
Biden’s attendance at the private gathering of the Democratic National Committee at their annual winter meeting is seen as one of a series of calculated moves by the vice president to begin solidifying his base of support among party activists and cementing traditional powerful coalitions within the party to gain a strategic advantage over any potential challengers for the party’s nomination in 2016.
The Democratic National Committee plays an enormously critical role in the party’s nominating process through so-called “superdelegates” that can often tip the balance to a candidate preferred by the Democrat Establishment. Biden's Jan. 22 visit indicates he is placing great importance on the institutional power of the Democrat Establishment's powerbrokers in the DNC to help clear his path to the 2016 nomination.
Superdelegates are individual Democrat activists and elected officials whose votes at the nominating convention are worth much more than a normal party voter and the same as a state delegate that is pledged to a candidate based on the results of primaries and caucuses. Unlike state delegates, the superdelegates are free to support any candidate they want, as well as switch their allegiance on a whim at any moment.
The prime example of the tremendous influence superdelegates can wield in selecting the Democrat presidential candidate was in the 2008 primaries when Barack Obama won the nomination over Hillary Clinton based on the support of superdelegates - some of whom held out until state primaries were over to determine the pulse of voters - that began switching their votes late in the primary season to back his candidacy.
In its purest form, superdelegates are a reflection of the institutional muscle of the Democrat Party Establishment to exert its power over the nominating process.
Superdelegates consist of state governors, elected members of Congress, members of the Democratic National Committee, and party elders like former presidents, vice presidents, esteemed former cabinet secretaries and congressional leaders.
For Democrats in Los Angeles, superdelegates would include such party powerbrokers as U.S. representatives Maxine Waters, Henry Waxman, Xavier Becerra, California Gov. Jerry Brown, and U.S. senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.
Biden’s Jan. 22 meeting was designed to attract the support of Democratic National Committee members by thanking them for their work in the 2012 election. The DNC gathering confirms Biden's engagement with party activists and follows a reception hosted by the vice president on Jan. 20 at the Naval Observatory that was attended by a large number of party activists, in particular superdelegates from the states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
Former Vice President Al Gore’s 2000 campaign manager Donna Brazille told the Associated Press after the event at the vice president’s Naval Observatory residence:
”We can always start the political calculations in terms of the number of delegates needed to secure a nomination. But let's just say I see a number of superdelegates here as well.”
Biden also had New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan in attendance at the ceremony when he took his official oath of office for the vice presidency earlier on Jan. 20, according to the AP report.
The night before, on Jan. 19, Biden attended the Iowa State Society’s Inaugural Ball, which was packed full of enthusiastic Democrat activists and donors from the nation’s first caucuses in the 2016 election. Biden made headlines by claiming – allegedly by making a verbal gaffe, before correcting himself – that he was proud to be the president, telling the crowd of cheering Iowa Democrat activists:
“I am proud to be president of the United States, but I am prouder to be Barack - I mean, excuse me, I am proud to be vice president of the United States, but I am prouder to be President Barack Obama's vice president.”
In order for Vice President Joe Biden to have any realistic chance of ever becoming president of the United States, the country will have to be in much better shape in early-2016 than it is after the first four years of President Obama’s leadership. Biden will be forced to carry the torch of the Obama legacy - however brightly its popularity glows at that time – against opponents in the 2015 Democratic primary debates.
In January 2013, as President Obama and Vice President Biden embark on their second term, the nation’s economic condition is in a terminal state. As this Examiner reports in a series of informative and powerfully insightful articles captured through the lens of life in Los Angeles:
‘Obama’s America: Crime, corruption, and law enforcement in the Obama era’ - reveals the surprising statistics about how crime is affecting the country:
“Even more shocking than the riveting statistic that 47.5 million Americans are dependent on federal government food stamps is the appalling figure of 65 million people in the United States with criminal records.”
‘Obama’s America: Poverty epidemic spreading in the Obama era’ - captures the struggle of so many people in the economic climate that persists as President Obama enters his fifth year of the presidency:
“After four years of President Barack Obama’s economic policies, the Census Bureau reports 49.7 million people are living in poverty with another 30 million Americans living only one paycheck away from the poverty line.”
For Vice President Biden, the 2016 campaign is already underway, which gives him an enormous advantage over other potential Democrat presidential candidates who are not in the position of power and influence that the vice president currently commands. The burden for Biden will be found in the daily struggles of millions of Americans who must deem the condition of the nation to be much better in 2016 than it is in 2013.