If the reports around Joe Biden are true — coming out of the gate for the 2020 election with a vice presidential candidate already selected and ready to campaign — it’s a stroke of genius from both a political and media perspective.
The Hill reports:
Here’s why: We could ultimately be looking at the same scenario as we did in 2016 on the Republican side in terms of the number of candidates vying for a party nomination. We’re still 593 days out from the 2020 election. Voting in the Iowa caucus doesn’t commence for 318 days. There are already at least 13 major candidates declared, aside from Biden.
Cable news may be almost all-political these days, particularly on Democratic-friendlier outlets such as MSNBC and CNN, but there simply isn’t enough time in the day to devote to every candidate equally. There’s also an obvious consideration around ratings and which candidates pique the audience’s interest the most.
For Biden, that’s where the challenge lies. He isn’t young, at age 76. He’s white, which apparently is seen by some in the Democratic Party as a detriment, in terms of providing a stark contrast to the old white guy currently occupying the Oval Office. In terms of drawing more attention than others, Biden is a decent speaker at best but not electric, like his old boss or Trump. Biden may be the frontrunner in the polls right now, but that’s almost strictly due to name recognition, courtesy of being vice president for eight years in the not-so-distant past and a U.S. senator before that.
So in an effort to stand out while broadening the voter net, in terms of gender and race, Biden is reportedly seriously considering entering the race with Stacey Abrams, an African-American woman who is more than 30 years younger than him. Abrams, like Beto O’Rourke, narrowly lost a race in a deep-red state in the 2018 midterms. In the Georgia gubernatorial race against Republican Brian Kemp, Abrams lost by just 1.4 points.
Going with a younger, black, likable female will distinguish Biden from the other candidates from the outset. And double his reach on the media front. You could very well see a scenario where Biden is taking part in an MSNBC town hall event in Pennsylvania while Abrams is featured an hour later doing a town hall for CNN in Atlanta.
The Clintons were once called a two-for-the-price-of-one package during the 1992 campaign. Hillary Clinton was being pitched as a policy-active first lady, given her legal background, to compliment the Clinton-Gore ticket. And it worked.
“When Bill and Hillary Clinton were students at Yale Law School, they were moot court partners. Ever since, they have been a personal and professional team. If Hillary Clinton becomes first lady, you can expect she will reinvent the role and America will get two in the White House for the price of one,” said CBS reporter Ruth Ezell at the time.
Before dismissing a possible Biden-Abrams ticket with about 16 months to go before the Democratic convention, think again to what went down in 2016.
Candidate Trump jumped in relatively late in June 2015. He was given almost no shot to seriously challenge for the nomination, let alone win it. But then the ratings began coming in on Trump interviews on CNN, on MSNBC or on Fox News. Compared to “Low Energy Jeb” or “Lil Marco” or “Lyin’ Ted Cruz”or John Kasich, it was no contest. The loudest voice in the room, the candidate who was — agree or disagree with the policy proposals and rhetoric — as fearless as he was profoundly politically incorrect, and therefore was blotting out the sun, was Trump.
The other 16 GOP candidates were relegated to the sidelines, the political version of off-Broadway plays. All the major cable news networks even offered up live footage of empty podiums for Trump speeches while at the same time Hillary Clinton was actually on stage giving speeches. From a media perspective, it was Secretariat against the rest of the field.
All 3 major cable news networks currently airing footage of Trump’s podium while Clinton gives big Union speech pic.twitter.com/bJnJY09jyx
— Emily Atkin (@emorwee) May 26, 2016
But the pros easily outweigh the cons here. Getting the nomination as an establishment candidate has been tough sledding in the past two elections.
Candidate Barack Obama was seen as a fresh face who wasn’t a Washington insider. Trump fell under the same category as an outsider. The two men are viewed as polar opposites ideologically but were elected for the same reason: Shake up Washington — because it’s broken.
Biden is the essence of establishment. He’s relatively a centrist in a party moving swiftly to the left.
He may be the frontrunner now, but he’ll need all the help and media attention he can get.
Abrams being on the ticket right out of the box is the perfect way to solve that problem.
From The Hill