Vice President Joe Biden is planning to attend an upcoming Democratic event in Iowa and is also scheduled to raise funds on Thursday for the Democratic Governor of New Hampshire. Iowa and New Hampshire? Most pundits know what the VP has in mind: a run for the White House in 2016, where those two states feature prominently as the first to hold meaningful votes towards a general election.
"Everyone involved in his world is engaged in taking all the steps that make sense to prepare for a run,” a Democratic official told the Wall Street Journal on Monday. Biden ran unsuccessfully for president in 1988 and 2008.
His major competition will likely be Hillary Clinton if the former Secretary of State decides to run. In fact, most political experts state that Clinton is so overwhelmingly popular with Americans that any challenge to her would be quickly erased during the primaries. That is not stopping Biden and his allies from stoking the 2016 speculation.
"He's the vice president of the United States of America! When you're the sitting vice president and you're running against anybody, you still have a chance," one person close to Biden told the Journal.
There is some truth to that statement, but history isn’t on Biden’s side. The U.S. has elected only two sitting vice presidents since 1836: Martin Van Buren in that year and George H. W. Bush in 1988. That’s not to say that veeps haven’t seen success winning their party’s nomination; plenty have—including Richard Nixon in 1960 and Al Gore in 2000. However, neither of those candidates was up against a popularity powerhouse such as Clinton.
"There's definitely a path forward for him,” said Larry Rasky, who worked on Biden's two previous presidential campaigns. "My guess is it would be a legacy campaign, continuing to build on the success they've had in the administration,'' he added, referring to some of the accomplishments that Biden could point to during President Barack Obama’s Oval Office tenure.
Biden will be 73 in 2016, and that would make him the oldest president to be elected to a first term. However, age is not a factor. The towering presence of Clinton would be almost insurmountable according to most analysts.
Ultimately, Biden should take public opinion into consideration before spending his money on a 2016 run. A recent poll in New Hampshire showed Clinton leading him and other likely Democratic candidates by a whopping 50 percentage points.