Republicans are betting on former Vice President Biden losing the Democratic primary because they worry he would be the strongest candidate against President Trump in a general election.
Biden is expected by many to enter the 2020 race this week, with several reports suggesting he will make an announcement Wednesday.
The former Vice President’s advocates say his blue-collar roots, his cultural familiarity with voters in crucial Midwest states, his experience, and his comparatively centrist positions would make him a formidable Trump opponent.
Supporters of Trump don’t exactly disagree. They just don’t think he will get that far.
“I think Joe Biden is probably more dangerous than any of the others,” said Brad Blakeman, a fervent Trump supporter and a veteran of former President George W. Bush’s White House. “He would be a danger in a general election — and I just don’t see him getting there. He is way too moderate.”
GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak said of Biden, “I really believe he is their strongest candidate, with the possible exception of [Sen.] Kamala Harris [D-Calif.], in the general election.”
Within the Democratic Party, Mackowiak said, “I don’t see what his constituency is. He really seems like the wrong fit for that party at this time.”
The GOP are aiming to mark any Democratic candidate, including Biden, with the “socialist” brush that might be more easily applied to rivals such as Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
A Trump campaign official said that it “doesn’t matter” whom the Democrats pick because the party’s choice will be “saddled with all of the socialist policies they will have adopted in order to win the nomination.”
Some anti-Trump Republicans acknowledge that Biden’s long track record makes it tough to cast him as a radical outside the American mainstream.
“He is not going to be vulnerable to the ‘he wants to turn America into Venezuela’ thing,” said John “Mac” Stipanovich, a longtime GOP consultant and lawyer in Florida. “That’s a dumb thing to say, but about 30 percent of Americans will believe that about many of the Democrats running for president.”