At some point we're going to have to all agree to acknowledge the fairly obvious reality that though he may currently be wearing the label "presumptive Democrat presidential nominee," former Vice President Joe Biden is not going to make it to November.
With two new additional witnesses coming forward to corroborate the claims of former Biden staffer Tara Reade who says the then-Senator raped her, the path forward for him is anything but smooth. Even though leading Democrats, including key progressive women like Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and Elizabeth Warren, have all offered him a stone wall of support, it wouldn't be surprising to see a few holes develop in that dam before long.
But even beyond the rape scandal, everyone knows Biden is not well. His inability to think clearly has been on display throughout the entire campaign to the point where it almost feels like elder abuse to watch him be paraded in front of cameras and marched dutifully to his next appearance. Back during the debates, Biden would often stop short on his answers, clearly at a loss for words. Quipping that he was just "following the rules" by sticking to his time limit fooled precisely no one.
Suffice it to say that even if Tara Reade announced tomorrow that she was recanting her accusation, the likelihood that a man whose attempted "shadow briefings" during the coronavirus shutdown ended with a colossal thud largely because of his own inability to form logical sentences is going to be the Democrat nominee is razor thin.
So since we're all thinking it, we might as well be talking about it openly: who will actually be President Trump's challenger in November? At this point I'm comfortable acknowledging two different pools of candidates. The first represents the left's dream options – individuals who, should they agree to run, would likely win in a landslide over Trump.
Michelle Obama has to be the top choice. While many have speculated about her potentially being a vice presidential pick for Biden, there is little doubt that should the former first lady signal her willingness to accept the nomination, Democrat operatives would move heaven and earth to make it happen. Yes, she is a radical ideologue – perhaps more so than her husband. But that isn't her persona. She is articulate and exceedingly popular among the general population. The Obama mystique, the media adoration, the historic nature of "shattering two glass ceilings" would all produce an almost certain electoral win. But all indications are that it's the last thing she's interested in.
Oprah Winfrey is also a pipe dream for the left, but a really enticing one. To millions of Americans she is a comfortable and well-known entity. She's trusted by a multitude, wealthier than King Solomon, overly at ease behind a microphone, and checks off all the ideological boxes for the left. The problem? She appears less interested in the gig than even Michelle Obama.
So if those two are not options, where do the Democrats turn? Let's start by acknowledging where they will not turn. Sorry Bernie Bros, it isn't going to happen. It doesn't matter that Sanders was runner-up for the last two nominating contests of 2016 and 2020. The power brokers on the left rigged the first campaign for Hillary and demonstrated nothing but contempt for him in the most recent one. Likely understanding how radical and unsound much of what Bernie says is to a rational listener, don't expect Democrat party bosses to hand him the nomination simply for "paying his dues."
Along those lines, however, I'm of the belief that those same bosses understand the kind of revolution they would engender if they chose any of the 2020 candidates who finished behind Sanders – whether it's Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, or Cory Booker. If it's not going to be Sanders (and it's not), look for them to go outside the litter of competitors he vanquished.
So who does that leave? The most plausible options at this point come down to these four: former candidate Hillary Clinton, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Governor Gavin Newsom, or the woman Biden chooses to be his running mate (even if it is a previous candidate like Warren or Harris).
To be sure, each has significant flaws. Clinton's drawbacks hardly need to be mentioned at this point. Cuomo's recent surge of popularity during his handling of the coronavirus outbreak in New York has now given way to profound skepticism and legitimate critique of his bungling response. Chances are he is going to be less than enticed by the thought of having that record exposed under the lights of a presidential campaign. Ditto that on Newsom. The guy pushed sand into skateparks, pulled paddle boarders off the ocean, and managed to spark a "Don't Tread on Me" riot in the People's Republic of California of all places.
All this leaves me believing we should keep our eyes on Biden's choice of running mate. For my money, whoever it is will likely be choosing their own #2 by November of this year.