Is America Ready for a Cup of Joe?
Democracy Or Bust

Winkler Headshot_sketchWhile the Republican field has grown to a sizable 17 candidates, the Democratic field has remained relatively small. According to recent polls, Hillary Clinton continues to hold a lead over Bernie Sanders, while Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chafee, and Jim Webb have successfully made themselves barely detectable as candidates for president. So while Donald Trump spices up the race for the Republican nomination, Democrats are left with the Clinton email drama and calculated moves. The “inevitability factor,” as predicted, has made the Democrat race a snoozeville.

Enter Joe Biden.

Well, not quite, but a recent The New York Times exclusive references his active exploration into a presidential bid. In large part, this can be attributed to his late son’s desire for him to run. A beloved public servant as well, Beau Biden reportedly tried to persuade his father to run for president while lying on his deathbed.

Although the media might have exaggerated this story, Biden is nothing if not a family man, so the opinion of his son means more than any political advisor or adoring supporter. Which is why, if Biden does decide to run, it will be a decision that the whole family agrees upon.

So, for argument’s sake, let’s say Biden does decide to run.

Opponents argue that his recent accomplishments during the Obama administration and his tenure in the Senate could be tarnished in a tough campaign against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

But Joe’s done this before. He knows better than any candidate the type of work a presidential campaign demands, as well as the type of scrutiny he and his family would be put under. Joe Biden knows because he’s run for president twice before — in 1988 and 2008.

Furthermore, the legacy that Biden has made for himself is solid, whether or not he adds another failed bid for president to his resume. No one can dispute Biden’s hand in the passage of the 2010 job creation bill or Biden’s leadership in putting same-sex marriage at the forefront of the political agenda. Furthermore, Biden served as the senator of Delaware from 1973 until 2009. During his 36 years in the upper house, he served as chairman of the prestigious Foreign Relations Committee and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, presiding over the contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.

Needless to say, I think his record will stay intact — no matter how many gaffes he makes. What’s interesting about these gaffes that Biden is infamous for making is that they may come in handy now.

As Hillary continues to look more robotic and premeditated, Biden serves as a strict contrast. Biden could have exactly that quality that the Democratic voters have been looking for: authenticity.

It’s an underappreciated but important characteristic for a politician to have in order to maintain the credibility that the words he is saying will actually mean something when he gets elected. We see authenticity already playing a role on the Republican side with the rising star of Donald “Tell It Like It Is” Trump.

Not only will Biden be open with the media and voters, but he will also be a candidate who runs with joy and excitement, something missing from the current presidential campaigns. Although I’m not saying that Biden will be able to spark the kind of enthusiasm that President Obama garnered in 2008, I do believe that there might be one last ride left in the old engine.


Sydney Winkler is a rising senior in the College. Democracy or Bust appears every other Saturday.

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