Tuesday, November 8, 1960 – over 68 million Americans went to the polls to decide who would succeed President Dwight D. Eisenhower as the President of the United States due to the recent Constitutional amendment limiting the President to two consecutive terms. On one side, you had the Republican nominee, Richard Nixon. As young as he may have seemed compared to Eisenhower, he was overshadowed by Democrat nominee John F. Kennedy.
Kennedy rallied crowds like no candidate had done before him. His youth and charisma captured the nation in a dynamic new step towards a unique time period – the 1960’s. Compared to Kennedy’s charm, Nixon seemed stiff, un-relatable and distant from the American people. Although he lacked the experience of his opponent, Senator Kennedy walked away that year with 112,827 more votes and the Presidency. During the following years the American people’s rejuvenated spirit under JFK was crushed by his assassination, his brother’s assassination, and the assassination of activist Martin Luther Kind Jr. With Arizonan Governor Barry Goldwater being demolished in the 1964 election, losing to Lyndon Johnson in a landslide, Democrats seemed to have a firm grip on the White House and the hearts of the American people.
That all changed in 1968. A very familiar figure reappeared to the American people with a powerful new message of hope and opportunity. A transformed Richard Nixon had entered the stage once more with new message and a new hope to secure peace in America. The candidate who once seemed so distant to the American citizens had successfully rebranded himself into a Republican powerhouse destined to succeed – and that, he did.
The Democrat party faces a serious problem going into 2016. The hype of “Hope and Change” vanished long ago amidst a world in constant conflicts, a White House in repeated scandals, and American families in economic chaos. With an Obama administration that has long lost the luster of American popularity, the Democrats are in hot water, and their best chance at coming back may be hiding in plain site.
After decades of political experience and an unsuccessful 2008 Presidential bid, this well known Democrat grasps a unique opportunity to keep the party in office for four more years. President Obama’s right-hand-man may just be the answer to the Democrat’s “Hillary Clinton problem”. Since her Presidential announcement on April 12th, Hillary’s campaign has been anything but successful. She may lead in a few polls, but Democrats are realizing the harsh reality that their 2016 claim-to-fame may not be everything she’s cracked up to be.
Others such as Bernie Sanders (Independent Senator from Vermont), Martin O’Malley (former Maryland Governor and Mayor of Baltimore), and Lincoln Chafee (former Rhode Island Governor) have all indicated their likelihood to challenge Hillary. Sanders announced his campaign in an effort to gain the support of the far left, a group often isolated by candidates unwilling to lose their Independent support. Only one person has the name recognition, the likability (a surprising key factor), and the experience to challenge the former First Lady-turned Senator-turned Secretary of State, and his name is Joe Biden.
Joe Biden has the valuable opportunity to channel his inner-Richard Nixon as a viable 21st-century candidate. His 2008 Presidential bid is often forgotten due to the intense rivalry between then-candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but Biden’s campaign impressed Senator Obama. The long-term Senator of Delaware had a keen gift of connecting with voters, but pulled out of the race soon after the first caucuses.
Just as the old school Republican did in 1968, the current Vice-President holds the ability to create a fresh image for his party – a friendly, welcoming image. Washington insiders, including former George W. Bush press secretary Dana Parino, have referred to Biden as one of the friendliest politicians in Washington. Sure, he has had some awkward moments in front of the American people, but he comes off as being relatable – a stark contrast to Hillary Clinton. With a powerful message and strong campaign team, Joe Biden can turn his grandpa-image into a charismatic change in the current Democrat 2016 field.
“I think I would do a pretty good job,” he said in regards to running in 2016. In the past, he has boldly stated that he doesn’t see why he shouldn’t run, but the Vice-President has been mysteriously silent as-of-late. Recent trips to key swing states like Iowa have reassured us that he has definitely not dismissed the option.
According to The Atlantic, those in Biden’s “inner circle” were asked not to spread the word about a possible White House bid, and his office has not budged when repeatedly asked about it by reporters. Could this be his biggest hint at a run? When the big news stories encircle the never ending scandals revolving around Clinton, staying quiet and letting her long-time Presidential aspirations dissolve may be his best campaign move. And he has taken it.
Before being brought down by the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon served several successful years as a popular President. His Presidency launched the rebirth of his party – with the GOP winning all but 3 Presidential elections to finish out the 20th Century. If the Republicans want to gain control of the White House in 2016, I would keep a steady eye on Joe Biden. He could be the biggest game-changer.