Democratic Donors Not Eager For Biden To Get Into The Race

Top Democratic donors don't really seem very eager for Vice-President Biden to enter the race for President.


Democratic donors don’t seem to be thrilled about the idea of Vice-President Joe Biden running for President:

EDGARTOWN, Mass. – As Joe Biden considers a possible run for president, the donors he’d need to be viable appear to be ruling him out.

Not all 400 people who gathered at a waterfront estate here on Sunday have been die-hard supporters of Hillary Clinton. In fact, many of them recall a rough summer eight years ago when Martha’s Vineyard’s liberal elite split their loyalties between Clinton and Barack Obama. But on Sunday, they were reveling in party unity and had little appetite for Biden to complicate the field, despite their affection for him.

“I like Joe, but I’m hoping he doesn’t” run, said Kathryn Allen, who campaigned for Obama in the 2008 primary. “I really believe that there is no one more qualified at this point,” than Clinton


Even Democrats who preferred Obama in 2008 said they were giddy about the possibility of electing the first woman president. They were also especially proud of the limited Democratic field in contrast to the chaotic, 17-way Republican brawl.

That’s why, they said, Biden should reject the inclination to run as he looks for possible paths to the nomination during the next few weeks.


While there was some hand-wringing about Bernie Sanders’ rise on Sunday, there’s zero appetite to see the vice president offer himself as another alternative, said Rob Liberatore, who as a former aide to the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) has known Biden for more than 30 years.

At least for now, that is.

“I would be surprised if he decided to run, unless something happened to Hillary, something health-wise or who knows what,” said Liberatore. He described his own split household in 2007: He supported Clinton, while his wife attended a fundraiser for Obama.

This story mirrors a truth that has been apparent for quite some time now, namely that if Joe Biden did run it’s unclear exactly where his support would come from. For example, while Biden has his own inner circle of supporters that have always advised him and will remain loyal to him, such as his sister who has managed every one of his political campaigns from the beginning, many of the people who might be expected to work on a hypothetical Biden For President campaign have already declared their loyalty. For the most part, these are people who worked on the Obama/Biden campaign in 2008 and 2012 who have already signed up for the Clinton campaign either via an endorsement or, more typically, by working for the campaign itself or the pro-Clinton SuperPAC. Most of these people started choosing sides months ago, and the process only accelerated by the time Hillary entered the race in April and th campaign began in earnest. While it certainly in the case that the Clinton has sucked up all of the top-level Democratic campaign operatives in the country, they have hired away nearly all of this point, and especially those that might have been inclined to work for Vice-President Biden and that makes launching a truly competitive Presidential bid at this point in the race even more difficulties.

As this article indicates, the situation seems to be the same with big time Democratic donors. Absent a significant stumble on Clinton’s part, which notwithstanding the ongoing issues regarding her use of a private email server has not happened yet, or a serious health issues, it seems highly unlikely that this is going to change, and even less likely that people such as this are going to jump the Clinton ship and suddenly end up backing someone like Bernie Sanders. As I’ve said before, Biden’s last two Presidential campaigns were hardly the thing of legend. One ended abruptly when he was caught in a plagiarism scandal that unfortunately for him broke at a time when many in the media still remembered the controversies that helped bring down Gary Hart’s candidacy in 1984. His 2008 campaign suffered from low name recognition and the fact that his poll numbers never really made it out of the single digitis. With that kind of record, it’s hard to see why many Democratic donors would be all that eager for him to enter the race at this point. Most political donors like to back someone who has at least some chance of winning, and right now Joe Biden doesn’t look like a guy who has any real chance of winning. Given that, donors across the nation are likely to take the same position as the ones who gathered on Martha’s Vineyard this weekend. At the moment, and for the foreseeable future, they are going to remain loyal to Cliton because they see her as the most likely avenue to a Democratic victory in 2016 and, of course, because many of them like the idea of electing the first female President. How Biden gets around that roadblock is unclear.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Titus Greenwood says:

    If Old Uncle Joe, gets into the race, it will only cloudy the waters for Hitlary. He needs to stay the hell out and let Hitlary and Old Bernie slug it out. Once Hitlary cuts loose with the coming barrage of negative info on Old Bernie, she’ll rapidly come back in the polls. Everyone knows that all Republican women will vote for her and Republican many men will too, once she clear the deck and runs against Donald Trump. She’ll have plenty of dirt on Old Donald too. And, everyone loves Old Hitlary, even if the media won’t admit it!

  2. gVOR08 says:

    Everybody seems desperate for a horse race story. Haven’t seen any real evidence Biden wants to provide one. So we have a reporter interviewing people at what was apparently a Clinton fundraiser about her non-opponent.

  3. Gustopher says:

    I want a plausible alternative to Clinton, in case she is eaten by an alligator campaigning in Florida or something. Someone readymade and tested, capable of stepping in at a moment’s notice and saying “I’m not a socialist, and I’m not whatever-it-is that the Republicans nominated. I would make a perfectly adequate caretaker president.”

    Joe Biden is that person.

  4. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher: I personally think (and I’m not the only one to have floated this theory) that Biden is basically the Democratic establishment and Obama Administration’s “spare tire” or “pinch hitter” or emergency escape hatch in case something happens to Hillary and they don’t want a Sanders nomination, which they believe (rightly or wrongly) will be a disaster for the Dems.