It’s official. Joe Biden isn’t running for president.
After months of speculation, Biden finally closed the window on the possibility of another presidential run. No doubt that many are disappointed – the vice president is extremely well liked and trusted – but it’s quite clear that he looked at the field, the current state of polling and ultimately made the right decision.
The truth is that Biden couldn’t win this election. While I do not in any way wish to degrade the importance of his family considerations in his decision, we cannot – and should not – deny the realities of the Democrat field right now. His ultimate choice to not run was a smart political calculation.
Hillary Clinton is on top. And she’s on top by a lot.
The truth is that Biden couldn’t win this election. While I do not in any way wish to degrade the importance of his family considerations in his decision, we cannot – and should not – deny the realities of the Democrat field right now.
As I argued last week after the first Democrat debate, Clinton and Sanders showed that there wasn’t really a place for Biden on that stage. He will never be the progressive champion that Sanders is and the establishment – as well as a growing number of progressives – are happy with what Hillary Clinton is offering.
Clinton has molded her platform to meet the needs of today’s Democrat party and the polls reflect that reality. We need to look no further than yesterday’s ABC/Washington Post poll to see this: Clinton holds a 20-point lead over Sanders at 49-29. And Biden, in the midst of an enormous storm of media attention and encouragement to get in the race, still only polled at 16.
Furthermore, Clinton has made up tremendous ground in New Hampshire since the debate and is now within the margin of error against Sanders, a large reversal from just a few weeks ago when she was 10+ behind.
It follows that Joe Biden knew full well that this wasn’t a race he could win. There was simply too much to contend with including a 25+ deficit, building all the campaign infrastructure and matching Clinton in fundraising.
To be sure, he would have chipped away at her support. And his entrance into the race would’ve benefitted Sanders most of all, a reality that probably also factored into his decision to ultimately not run.
All in all, this was a good decision for Biden and for the country. He made it clear in his speech that “while [he] will not be a candidate, [he] will not be silent.” And I’m sure that’s true. Biden is a brilliant advocate for Democrat policies and he’s right to tout the many successes of the Obama presidency, which he played a critical role in solidifying.
Biden encouraged Democrats to run on the Obama record and we will surely see more of that from both Sanders and Clinton.
We just won’t be seeing it from Biden himself.
Douglas E. Schoen has served as a pollster for President Bill Clinton. He has more than 30 years experience as a pollster and political consultant. He is also a Fox News contributor and co-host of "Fox News Insiders" Sundays on Fox News Channel at 7 pm ET. He is the author of 13 books. His latest is "Putin's Master Plan" (Encounter Books, September 27, 2016). Follow Doug on Twitter @DouglasESchoen.