With former Vice President Joe Biden boasting victories on Tuesday in Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, and Idaho, the impatience among Democrats is growing about when the man who put Biden on his ticket in 2008 will endorse the now-certain party nominee.
But far more valuable than the support of former President Barack Obama would be former first lady Michelle Obama on the ticket with Biden – a momentous maneuver that would electrify the country.
On Monday at a rally in Detroit, Biden declared, “I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else,” adding, “there’s an entire generation of leaders you saw stand behind me. They are the future of this country.” That’s obvious code for Biden conceding that he, as an 82-year-old president in 2024, would not seek a second term.
With him on stage were his former rivals, black U.S. senators Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey. But Michelle is a black member of the next generation of Democratic Party leaders who has topped Gallup’s list of the most admired women for the past two years. And she has far more name recognition than Harris, Booker or any of those who ran against Biden for the nomination, with the possible exception of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who arguably isn’t a Democrat at all.
Of course, Biden could ask Sanders to be his running mate and assure that Sanders’ young base of hard-left supporters would be motivated to bring about the unprecedented turnout that the socialist candidate has been insisting will be necessary to defeat President Donald Trump in November. But a Biden-Obama ticket (not to be confused with the O’Biden-Bama tickets of 2008 and 2012, to cite one of Joe’s latest gaffes) would, on the other hand, get out the black vote big time, which last month saved Biden’s near-dead campaign.
“If I’m the comeback kid, there’s only one reason that’s a fact: African American support all around the country,” Biden told the congregation at New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi, on Sunday. “You’re the reason I’m back. Nobody else.”
If black Americans really are the heart and soul of the Democratic Party, as Biden contends, getting them out to the polls in numbers rivaling their turnout in support of Barack Obama will likely mean more total votes than focusing on energizing Bernie’s largely youthful supporters.
And nothing would enthuse black Democrat voters like an Obama on the ticket. Still, don’t hold your breath.
Biden Steps Down, Michelle Becomes 47th President
Between now and the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee in mid-July, it should become fairly clear if age and verbal self-flaggelations are getting the better of Joe Biden, or if, instead, he has a serious chance of beating Trump. For Michelle Obama to agree to be on a ticket that ends up losing the election would further blemish the once-shiny Obama legacy.
But consider the effect if she did agree. Voters would not only understand that there would be no second Biden term, but the unspoken message of a Biden-Obama campaign might be that Biden wouldn’t even serve out his first term. This could be relayed to voters in any number of subtle ways, including Democratic Party surrogates suggesting the idea through various media.
If enough winks and nods could convince voters they were actually voting for Michelle Obama to be president – in effect a third Barack Obama term, with the still-popular ex-president undoubtedly at her side advising her throughout her presidency – it might be much easier for a great many of them to vote against Trump. At any rate, with a Biden-Obama ticket voters would feel they knew better what it was they were voting for.
How would the Trump campaign attack the former first lady? There’s the infamous 2008 clip of her saying she had never in her adult life been proud of her country before, of course. But depicting the likable, attractive Michelle as a dangerous extremist would be a formidable task. Plus, Mrs. Obama has been comparatively underexposed since leaving the White House; her return to the limelight would make for a stark contrast to the pageant of grotesques who ran for the Democratic nomination.
It’s a long shot that this mother of two college-attending daughters would accept Biden’s offer to join him, but it might be the only way to get voters to discount Biden’s never-ending faux pas. And for Trump it would be a crafty curve ball, an unexpected and unprecedented campaign challenge.
— Written by Thomas McArdle