Aiming for the moderate vote, Barack Obama’s former vice-president has been active behind the scenes and already has his team in place. Liberals are backing Elizabeth Warren.
As the new year dawns, the challenge to Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House is dominating the U.S. political scene. Preparations for elections that will see the current president battle hostile elements within his own party as well as a multifaceted Democratic offensive will last for at least a year. Potential candidates from within Democratic Party ranks include old and new faces ready to battle it out for the votes of those who feel alienated among the silent majority that propelled Trump to power.
One of those candidates could be Joe Biden. He left the White House in 2016 after the death of his first son, Beau. Early signs are that he has been laying the groundwork for an attempt to attract moderate Democrats, centrists and the middle class, a hypothesis advanced by The New York Times. The Times has reconstructed a “network of nonprofits and academic centers” where the former vice president has placed loyal advisers and trusted strategists. These include his sister and long-time campaign manager, Valerie Biden Owens, and Greg Shultz, his political guru who now runs American Possibilities, a political action committee established almost two years ago. The Times suggests that Biden could turn his network into a formidable electoral machine. Furthermore, the 76-year-old Biden has never ruled out running again in 2020, taking recent actions that lend weight to that possibility, such as not pocketing a $100,000 speaking fee him from the University of Utah, given that it would have involved accepting state funds.
Making money from taxpayer contributions would certainly not help his image in an election campaign. Biden could get his biggest endorsement from Obama, who, just yesterday, in his first post of 2019, tweeted, “In 2018 people stepped up and showed up like never before. Keep it up in 2019.”
The first to declare the intention to run in 2020 was Elizabeth Warren, the 69-year-old progressive senator from Massachusetts. After announcing the creation of an exploratory committee for the election, she decided to tour Iowa, the first state that holds a primary election. The numbers are not in her favor, according to a CNN and The Des Moines Register/Mediacom survey in December which put her in fourth place among likely Democratic candidates with an 8 percent approval rating. Topping the list was former Vice-President Biden with 32 percent, followed by 77-year-old Vermont Sen. Bernie Saunders with 19 percent and outgoing Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, considered the Democrats’ rising star and, for now, the only new face, with 11 percent.
In Republican circles, a familiar name is dominating the conversation – the senator and two-time presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has declared that “Trump’s character falls short.” His objective is to portray himself as the new critical voice of the GOP, a sort of heir to John McCain, ready to head up the dissident senators. His onslaught has so far raised only concern among members of the Republican National Committee who fear a duel within its ranks would hand the Democrats an advantage in the elections. They remain convinced, however, that Trump can defeat any Republican rival. Meanwhile, Trump’s response to Romney was brief and to the point: “I won big, and he didn’t.”