by Dick Morris | September 16, 2015 12:07 am
Some are born great. Others achieve greatness. And some have greatness thrust upon them. William Shakespeare might have been thinking of Joe Biden. While the Democratic world ruminates on whether the vice president has the emotional strength to run for president, the political realities are such that he may have to run. Ready or not.
Hillary Clinton is not merely sinking in the polls. She is imploding. Let’s look at the data.
National Dem Primary Polls:
Date: Clinton Sanders Biden
Sept. 11: 37 27 20 (CNN)
Aug. 2: 45 22 18 (Quin)
Aug. 2: 45 19 18 (Quin)
July 3: 55 17 13 (Quin)
And Clinton has fallen behind, by double digits in Iowa and by 22 points in New Hampshire. Even where she is running ads and campaigning in person, she continues to plunge.
As her crash accelerates, the prospect that Bernie Sander will be the party’s standard-bearer in November will loom larger in Democratic nightmares.
There can be little doubt that Clinton’s swift descent – free fall, really — will continue. She has yet to go through the Benghazi hearings and the monthly release of incriminating emails is now slated to continue well into 2016. In fact, some accounts have indicated that, because Clinton’s IT people didn’t write over her deleted emails with gibberish (easily confused with her campaign press releases) they can be recovered.
Sanders, on the other hand, impelled by an authenticity — a standout characteristic only by comparison — and a bold and imaginative liberal agenda not heard in recent years, will continue to surge.
Clinton’s standard playbook would call for negative ads against Sanders. But how can Clinton attack him? The more she does, the more she will drive a gulf between herself and Sanders’ liberal base — a base she will need for the general election. She can challenge his ability to win. But amid crashing poll numbers, she won’t look like much of a winner herself.
Even surrogates — Democratic senators and governors — will find attacking Sanders dangerous since they, too, will have to come back to the liberal voters when they run again.
In a week or two we can expect Sanders to pass Clinton in the national polls. Convincing Sanders leads in the big industrial states will soon follow.
These developments will drive Democratic leaders frantic. They will start begging Biden to run. Should he decline, they will try to run uncommitted slates in some states. When that fails, they will cast about to the likes of Al Gore, John Kerry and, of course, Elizabeth Warren to save the Party. And the entreaties will pile up outside Biden’s front door.
Biden will have to relent. Greatness will be thrust upon him.
Once he enters the race, after a period of mourning and grieving, how can Clinton attack him?
Biden, for his part, will face a lower bar as he seeks the nomination. His candidacy will be seen as a rescue mission for the good of the Party. That, combined with sympathy for his bereavement, will make it impossible for Clinton to run negative ads.
And the media will be gentle on him. They will realize he is a last-minute substitute and will not want to antagonize the public either by criticizing him.
In the meantime, Joe will find himself energized by the campaign trail. The crowds and the hoopla will stimulate him and begin to assuage his grief. For a politician, campaigning is therapeutic.
If Biden runs, look for Sanders to remain in first place, followed by Biden, with Clinton holding on in third. Increasingly a vote for Clinton will be seen by party pros as a vote for Sanders in their three-way struggle. Fearful of a Sanders victory, they will redouble the pressure to vote for Biden. Obama will come into the game and Biden, the reluctant candidate, might well be the nominee.
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