From 2009-2017 Joe Biden served as VP to former President Barack Obama. Prior to that he represented the state of Delaware in the US Senate.
Sputnik has spoken with Rogers Smith, President of the American Political Science Association and a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania about the chances Joe Biden has in becoming the Democratic Party's nominee.
Sputnik: Former US Vice President Biden has announced that he’s entering the 2020 Presidential Race. What’s your take on it?
Rogers Smith: Currently Biden is leading in the polls among Democratic contenders, but that is in part due to great name recognition. He is a very serious candidate but he faces major obstacles. Though he is held in high personal esteem, his age and some of his past positions on mass incarceration criminal justice policies, the Iraq War, and gun control, and his conduct during the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings, will work against him in the Democratic primaries. He also has not been an effective national campaigner in the past.
Sputnik: Biden’s views are considered to be liberal, whereas the Democrats are considered more centre-left. What reaction can we expect from the Democratic Party?
Rogers Smith: Biden is a moderate. He is not extremely liberal. He is probably close to where the bulk of Democratic general election voters are on most of his positions, which is a great strength of his candidacy. But he is more conservative than most Democratic activists and primary election voters, which is a liability.
Sputnik: What’s your prognosis regarding the future elections? What new can we expect in comparison to the 2016 presidential race?
Rogers Smith: President Trump’s base is rock solid, but it is a minority base. The economy is good but so far that has not enabled the president to expand his base. Everything depends on whether the Democrats nominate a compelling alternative candidate. The big question is whether a popular one will emerge during the primaries, as occurred with Barack Obama in 2008. Right now it is not clear who that might be; but it was far from clear that Barack Obama would be a serious candidate, much less the nominee, when he announced for the presidency.
Sputnik: One of Biden's main competitors in the Democratic Party is Bernie Sanders. In your opinion, who will lead in the race?
Rogers Smith: I believe Biden will do better than Sanders, but that is chiefly because Sanders’ support will be divided with other more liberal/progressive candidates, such as Elizabeth Warren. It is quite possible, however, that neither Sanders nor Biden will be the nominee, because many in the party are reluctant to nominate an elderly white man, instead of a younger candidate who represents the party’s diversity.
Sputnik: President Trump has previously welcomed Joe Biden as his competitor in the elections. If both Trump and Biden end up as the candidates from their respective parties, what could be the possible outcome?
Rogers Smith: If Biden had been the nominee in 2016, he would have beaten Trump decisively, carrying Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, the states that put Trump over the top, while getting an even larger share of the popular vote than Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote. This time a contest between the two men would probably be closer, since the economy is good and more Republicans have decided that while they may not approve of Trump’s personality, his policies are in their interests. But Biden would probably still win.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's positions.