Joe Biden is yet again on the verge of announcing a presidential run. Despite twice falling far short of the Democratic nomination, in 1988 and 2008, the 76-year-old Biden is convinced not only that he can win it, but that he’s the best candidate to beat the president. On Sunday, The New York Times reported that the former vice president “has told allies he is skeptical the other Democrats eyeing the White House can defeat President Trump” and that he may make a formal announcement in a matter of weeks. “If you can persuade me there is somebody better who can win, I’m happy not to do it,” Biden reportedly told a Democratic supporter in private. “But I don’t see the candidate who can clearly do what has to be done to win.”
It’s easy to glean what he believes needs to be done to win: appeal to working-class whites, particularly in states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. “We can’t possibly in my view win the presidency unless we can begin to reclaim those white working-class voters that used to vote for us,” he said while campaigning in the lead-up to November’s midterm elections. Some in the party, including Biden himself, believe that the brash son of Scranton who famously rode the train to work is the kind of Democrat who can connect with disaffected voters, return the Midwest to the Democrats, and topple Trump.
But these Democrats are exaggerating Biden’s appeal, underestimating the strength of his potential primary opponents, and promoting a dangerously myopic view of the electoral landscape. By fixating on the Rust Belt states that narrowly cost Hillary Clinton the presidency, they’re neglecting the much broader swath