Joe Biden Tiptoeing Toward 2020 Presidential Run

He's tan. He's rested. He's old.

Joe Biden is still kicking the tires. (“Joe Biden, in public and private, tiptoes toward a 2020 run“):

Former Vice President Joe Biden is tiptoeing toward a potential run in 2020, even broaching the possibility during a recent gathering of longtime foreign policy aides.

Huddled in his newly opened office steps from the U.S. Capitol, Biden began a planning meeting for his new diplomacy center by addressing the elephant in the room. He said he was keeping his 2020 options open, considering it a real possibility. He insisted he had made no decision, and didn’t need to yet, according to five people who either attended the meeting or were briefed on it by those who did.

Biden also expressed interest in bringing those in the room onto his team if he decides to launch a campaign. At the same time, he gave them an out: There would be no hard feelings if they decided they were content in their current roles outside of government, said the people, who demanded anonymity to discuss a private meeting.

Let’s acknowledge that “tiptoeing,” “broaching,” and “the possibility” is a hell of a lot of qualifiers for the lead sentence. But it’s obvious that he wishes he’d run in 2016—or at least that he was President right now instead of Donald Trump.

While my politics and Biden’s aren’t the same, I’ve liked him a long time. He’s a genuinely decent man and he’s certainly well qualified for the presidency. But Trump is the oldest president we’ve ever had and Biden is almost four years older than Trump. He’d be 78 at his inauguration–older than Ronald Reagan, previously the oldest President at first inauguration, when he finished his second term. It’s time for some new blood.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, The Presidency, US Politics, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. As you said, Biden will be 77 years old by the time of the 2020 election, which is only about three weeks before what would be his 78th birthday. In 2024, he’d be 81, and he’d be 86 by the end of a hypothetical second term.

    Similarly, Bernie Sanders will be 79 in November 2020, and 83 in 2024 and Elizabeth Warren will be 71 in 2020 and 75 in 2024.

    Yes, Trump will be 74 in 2020 and would be 78 at the end of a hypothetical second term. But it seems to me that all this reliance on people born in 1946 and earlier (or, in 1949 in Warren’s case) is a bit much.

    I disagree with Biden on many policy issues, but I agree that he would have made a good candidate (notwithstanding the many mistakes in made in 1988 and 2008) against Trump in 2016. But I’m not sure he’s the right candidate to run against Trump (or Pence or some other GOP nominee should Trump choose not to run for some reason) in 2020.

    Also, Democrats need to figure out what their message is going to be going forward. Being “anti-Trump” is likely to prove very beneficial to them in 2018, just as being anti-Obama was helpful to Republicans in 2010, but it might not enough to pull them over the line if they’re running against an incumbent. Something Republicans learned in 2012.

  2. Kathy says:

    Why didn’t he run in 2016?

  3. Moosebreath says:


    “Why didn’t he run in 2016?”

    Because his son had died in May 2015, and he did not want to start a Presidential campaign just after that. Also, he had run for President twice before (in 1988 and 2008) and flamed out pretty badly both times. And he is a human gaffe machine who would have had a long history of bad quotes used against him.

    As for the substance of the post, I agree it is time for Biden (and all other people in their 70’s) to give up the idea of running for the Presidency. It is just too difficult a job for anyone of that age.

  4. Stormy Dragon says:

    I would have voted for Biden is he’d run in 2016, but I wonder if someone like Warren or Booker would not be a better choice for 2020. Given the recent #metoo movement, Biden’s history of being rather… handsy… may end up being an issue.

  5. Gustopher says:

    Joe Biden is more Vice-Presidential than Presidential. I think he is uniquely suited for the role of Vice President, being something in between a lovable, amusing mascot and a man perfectly capable of taking on the responsibilities of a caretaker president should the worst happen.

    People like him. I think a Clinton-Biden ticket would have eked out a win in 2016.

    I am holding out for a Clooney-Biden ticket in 2020, but would happily vote for nearly any ticket with him in the VP slot. If Biden has to run for President to keep himself visible enough that this happens, then so be it.

  6. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Sure he’s handsy, but he gropes in an entirely nonsexual way!

  7. Kylopod says:

    The age issue is important, but it’s not the only problem. Even if he were 20 or 30 years younger, I’d hesitate to want him as the candidate. I happen to like him a lot, and I think he’d make a capable president, but as a candidate he’s always struck me as having some of the same traits as Dukakis, Gore, or Kerry–seeming to walk around with a big “kick me” sign on his back, a quality Dems have a habit of embracing.

  8. al-Ameda says:

    Just ‘no’ …. Sorry, Joe. Stay at home, relax.
    Seriously, we just came off of running 2 flawed boomers and a Republican-approved Socialist alternative to Hillary. I’m sick of these people.
    Can’t we get Trump impeached and convicted, and just move on to the Gen Xers (who by the way are shaping up to be even more hated than Boomers.)

  9. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    Can’t we get Trump impeached and convicted, and just move on to the Gen Xers (who by the way are shaping up to be even more hated than Boomers.)

    No, to paraphrase the NRA bumper sticker: you can have the power when you pry it from our cold dead fingers.