Following his son’s death, Biden elected not to run for President in 2016 for understandable reasons. But he has made pointed remarks about the person who eventually did secure the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton.
“I never thought she was a great candidate. I thought I was a great candidate,” he said.
He still believes he is “the most qualified person in the country to be president.”
Biden might be spurred on by Wall Street financiers of previous candidates, who are wary of the hostility of the swath of declared and potential progressive candidates ranging from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) to former Obama cabinet member Julian Castro.
A number of candidates have made a point of eschewing Wall Street donations. Even Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California), who has a complicated history with Wall Street, managed to successfully execute the small donors strategy.
“Everybody likes him. I don’t know if you want him to be president at 78 in 2020, but it looks like he’s in great shape,” said one hedge fund manager and top Democratic donor. “If it’s Biden and Beto or Biden and Harris, that might make a difference. The good news for Biden is everyone likes him. The bad news is there is not a lot of passion.”
To be clear, Biden’s almost-announcement in Delaware wasn’t when he began running. Matt Longjohn, who lost the election to unseat Congressman Fred Upton (R-Michigan), attributed Biden’s de facto endorsement of Upton in 2018 to political calculus in an interview with Grit Post.
“Make no mistake about it, he was purely doing delegate math and playing his own brand of politics,” said Longjohn.
And Biden has for years been discussing his political ambitions with financiers. Unlike many current Democratic candidates who are following the small-donor model, Biden appears to be following the playbook of the president he served under — seed money from big, shadowy donors before ever really being concerned with the grassroots.
Whether or not that model will still work in the age of rising progressivism, though, remains to be seen.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.