It's Joe Biden's 2020 Presidential Nomination To Lose

We may be several months from the first ballots being cast for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, but former Vice President Joe Biden is running away with the race. Yes, anything conceivably could happen between now and when the Democrats officially select their nominee next summer, but Biden is firmly entrenched in the catbird seat and will likely stay there barring a major turn of events.

According to the most recent RealClearPolitics average of national surveys, Biden is leading the 20-plus candidate field by more than 16 points. Biden is also leading in the Democrats’ first four February 2020 nominating contests: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

Now, contrarians, on both the left and the right, have and will continue to argue a litany of reasons why Biden won’t win the nomination. They claim that not only is Biden a white male, but he’s also too old to be the nominee. They contend that history is against Biden given that this is his third quest for the Democrats’ highest nomination. They assert Biden is gaffe-prone and the energy and future of the party lies with the progressive wing, not with a swamp creature with a 36-year-long Senate career of appeasement to corporate interests. Or they will say that Biden is simply just the beneficiary of high name identification. They also insist it is way too early to make such a proclamation because there are still 12 sanctioned primary debates on the calendar. All of these rebuttals are wishful thinking.

Biden is the undisputed Democratic frontrunner, period.

One could even argue that Biden is in a stronger position than President Trump was late in 2015; Trump himself has suggested as much. As Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo rightly points out, “[w]e’re past the point where Biden’s strength can be chalked up to name recognition.” Let’s remember, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) “has near universal name recognition too,” and his poll numbers are steadily dropping. Yes, Biden certainly faces some perils in his quest to be the blue team’s standard barrier, but his position is a lot stronger than most seasoned political observers realize.

It won’t be easy and may even require a tag-team effort on the debate stage, in the media and on the campaign trail. To pierce the Biden veil of inevitability, a successful candidate will have to do two things. First, he or she will have to peel off minority voters, specifically black voters, by prodding Biden without hitting Obama or his cherished liberal legacy; certainly a tall task. Finally, he or she will also have to convince older Democrats that despite the current national polls — some of which show Biden up by double-digits on Trump nationally, Biden is in fact the Democrats’ “worst foot forward in the general election” when it comes to beating President Trump.

Failing this, we are all-but-guaranteed a Trump/Biden 2020 showdown.

Read more from Ford O'Connell at The Hill

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Analysis & Political Strategy