Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Election 2016: Is Biden (Not) in it ... to Win it?

Vice president Joe Biden declined to enter the race for his party's 2016 presidential nomination. But, as WaPo's James Hohmann points out, he remains a "factor" in that race. He's subtly supporting Bernie Sanders and not-so-subtly slamming Hillary Clinton.

Could he be the 2016 Democratic nominee after all? I think he could. His path is narrow, but it's not non-existent.

My understanding is that he doesn't have to declare his candidacy in order to receive support in the Iowa caucus. And even if he did have to, there's also the "uncommitted" option for caucus participants.

Now suppose that Biden -- or "uncommitted" -- performs competitively in the caucus.

And suppose that, while Biden is too late to get on most (maybe even all) primary ballots, he consents, "under pressure" from a Draft Biden campaign, to be a write-in option.

The Democrats use a proportional delegate allocation system. Biden wouldn't have to WIN any states to rack up delegates.

Furthermore, at present, 371 of the Democratic Party's 713 "super-delegates" remain uncommitted, and the rest are free to change their minds any time.  If my math is right, and I think it is, the "super-delegates" constitute about 16% of the total delegate count. And my guess is that Biden says "OK, OK, Hillary is a train wreck and Bernie can't win the general election, quit twisting my arm, I'll do it," he'll have most of THOSE delegates in his pocket.

Which means there's every chance that Biden could come to the 2016 Democratic national convention "undeclared," but with delegates, and that that convention could in fact have no candidate with a first-ballot majority in her or his grasp.

If the party establishment has to do the brokered convention thing, Biden's the odds-on favorite to come out of that convention as the Democratic nominee.

You may not have read that here first, but you did read it here.

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