The 2020 presidential election seems like a far off event even though it cannot come soon enough. In politics, as we all know, it is never too late to speculate, especially when it comes to the Democratic candidate. Who should it be?
To answer that question we must first speculate who the Republican opponent will be. Yes, it is likely that it would be the current president, but, unlike most previous elections, incumbency is certainly no guarantee.
First, there is the possibility of an impeachment. This is not very likely to occur while the Republicans control both houses of Congress, but a Democrat takeover in 2018 would certainly lead to articles of impeachment.
Further, if Republicans fear that supporting Trump and his plummeting approval rating could jeopardize Congressional elections, they could very possibly jump ship even if the Democrats do not take control of Congress in 2018. Certainly there is more than enough basis for impeachment.
Consider Trump's violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution by profiting financially by being president at his many hotels and golf resorts. He chose not to divest himself of his investments, no matter how much he claims that he did by handing responsibility over to his sons.
Even Jimmy Carter fully divested himself of his peanut farm. Trump's hotels and golf resorts and all of his other investments and associated profits will be waiting for him the minute he moves out of the White House.
If violating the emoluments clause isn't enough, there is always obstruction of justice based on his continued efforts to stymie the investigations into his Russian connections. As well, there is his overall unfitness for office which he demonstrates every time he opens his mouth – “many sides, many sides.”
If, by chance, Trump avoids impeachment, there are still other possibilities to prevent him from being the Republican candidate for president in 2020.
Because of his aforementioned plummeting approval rating, he could be “primaried” by someone like a John Kasich or a Ben Sasse who only need to smell the slightest vulnerability before stepping in to challenge Trump. Also a possibility is Trump simply deciding not to seek a second term. He clearly did not expect to win in 2016 and was prepared to lose with the excuse that the election was rigged against him, thereby saving face.
He was so ready to use this face-saving excuse that he even used it after he won the election. Another possibility is that he simply implodes under all of the negative press he receives by having his own words thrown back at him. And last but not least it is possible that Vladimir Putin may choose to support some other candidate although this possibility is extremely unlikely.
Clearly, it is not a given that Donald J. Trump will be the Republican candidate for president in the 2020 election. For this exercise, however, let us assume that he is. If he is, who, then, should the Democrats run against him?
The answer is, yes, Joe Biden BUT with a caveat. Donald Trump will be 74 when he runs in 2020 and Joe Biden will be 78. Age is a very definite concern amid all of the cries to move away from the so-called old guard and move towards a newer and younger cadre of leaders. However, running against an incumbent, any incumbent, can be a challenge.
No one ever expected Trump to win in 2016, yet somehow he did. As for Biden, no one is in better position to go up against the Trump administration. Biden's experience in both working with Congress and his direct involvement in the Obama presidency makes him the most prepared to undo the Trump presidency. That has to be the number one priority: to undo Trump's undoing of the Obama presidency.
Biden's agenda will include returning the United States to the international community and bring us back into the fold with the other 197 nations to combat climate change.
He will have to address Trump's war on immigrants as evidenced by Trump's recent ending of DACA and the potential deportation of close to a million individuals who have only known the United States as their home and who have contributed to our society in the most positive of ways.
On Biden's plate, as well, will be reinstituting the many regulations eliminated by Trump, regulations that protect the safety of our water and air, and require standards to be in place regarding building in flood zones to protect against the kind of floods we see all too often.
Even more than re-instituting any of the enumerable reversals by Trump, Biden will have as his most important priority to restore our nation's prominence on the world stage and our place as the leader of the free world.
When his experience with the Obama programs is combined with his experience dealing with Congress, Biden becomes a better candidate to restore the Obama accomplishments than even Obama.
Yet, there is still the issue of age. A 78-year-old going up against a 74-year-old is not a major problem, but an 82-year-old running in 2024 is.
So, here is my proposal for Democrats: Joe Biden makes it clear that he is running for one term and one term only with the expressed purpose of digging our country out of the shambles left by Trump and restoring America's place as the leader of the free world.
Taking this approach, however, will require that his running mate in 2020 be someone who represents the next generation of leaders and possesses the attributes to energize the electorate.
Someone like Senator Kamala Harris of California who, during her questioning of Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing made Sessions feel, as he so stated, “nervous.” Another possibility is Montgomery County's own Congressman, Jamie Raskin.
No one knows the Constitution better than Congressman Raskin and no one uses that knowledge better than Congressman Raskin to expose Republican hypocrisy.
Placing a Kamala Harris or a Jamie Raskin or, for that matter, a Corey Booker, Adam Schiff or Joe Kennedy on the ticket with Joe Biden will allow the new vice president to learn from the master, Biden, and develop over the four years as he or she brings some new blood to the mix as they lead a younger generation of politicos who, it is hoped, will bring new ideas and approaches to addressing the many challenges this nation faces both now and in the future.