Hillary Clinton, the former First Lady and Secretary of State, has endorsed Joe Biden for president. Clinton was the Democratic nominee for president in 2016, where she lost a hotly contested election against Donald Trump. She won the popular vote by roughly three million, but failed to gather the Electoral College votes she needed to win.
Her endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden comes after other prominent Democrats did the same. Notably, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren have thrown their support behind Biden. The presumptive nominee is a tricky one to endorse, however, as credible rape allegations from Tara Reade have dogged the candidate.
Clinton Throws in with Biden
Hillary Clinton won some 65 million votes in 2016’s election. As such, she is presumed to have a deep well of Democratic voters behind her by some pundits. Others are more cautious, warning that connecting Clinton to Biden will dredge up all of Republicans’ 2016 attacks and tactics all over again.
Clinton’s reputation has been soured to the public by intense, repeated attacks by the Trump campaign. Connection to Benghazi, deleted emails and other controversies, manufactured or otherwise, stigmatize Clinton for many voters. Additionally, her shocking defeat in 2016 left many voters sore of her brand of politics.
Many fear the same will happen for Biden. A centrist candidate with “take it slow” politics and disdain for popular social policies lost to Trump in 2016. What makes anyone think that such a candidate could win in 2020? By attaching Clinton to his campaign, Biden invites these very concerns.
Biden Is a Troublesome Candidate
Joe Biden is a tough sell for many would-be Democratic voters. The reasons are numerous, but Tara Reade’s allegations sum them up well. An apparent attempt by the Biden campaign to keep Reade’s allegations from becoming major news have also unsettled many would-be voters. This also makes Biden a tough candidate for both the DNC and progressives.
On the one hand, the Democratic establishment knows Biden needs a progressive running mate to win over supporters of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. On the other hand, progressives are almost exclusively feminist, and have spent their entire careers fighting for women. Coming to the defense of a man who is credibly accused of rape and other sexual harassment is hardly the position such a politician wants to be in.
In short, Clinton’s endorsement is a mixed blessing. Biden’s gaffe-riddled campaign likely has his staffers searching the term “reputation online reputation” on repeat in a coffee-induced stupor. In politics, optics are everything. The optics of this endorsement are complex at best.