Former Vice President Joe Biden is considering naming a young running mate early and pledging to serve only one term to allay voter concerns about his age, The New York Times reports.
Biden, who will turn 78 shortly after the 2020 election, is considering naming Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia House minority leader who narrowly lost her race for governor last year, as a running mate. Aides have also discussed the possibility of California Sen. Kamala Harris or former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke on the ticket if they campaigns falter early on.
Biden dined with Abrams last week and reportedly told aides he found her “incredibly impressive.”
Party officials also told The Times that Biden’s campaign is considering pledging to only serve one term “as a one-time rescue mission for a beleaguered country.”
The Times noted that Biden is “not sold on either approach, and both carry significant risks, chiefly that they could call further attention to the age of a candidate who would turn 80 in the White House.”
Biden believes a one-term pledge would “make him a lame-duck president before he even takes office and cripple his ability to get anything done,” aides told the outlet.
Biden faces uphill climb despite frontrunner status:
Biden currently leads virtually every poll with about a third of the vote, though his base tends to skew older, a trend likely to continue with more than a dozen candidates who are younger and appeal to different parts of the Democratic base.
Age is clearly a concern that Biden has tried to address. Biden said at a speech last year that it is “totally appropriate for people to look at me and say, if I were to run for office again, ‘Well God darn you’re old.’ Well chronologically I am old.”
Race is another key issue in a Democratic field featuring candidates who are black, Hispanic and Asian.
It’s possible that a running mate like Abrams could help Biden win over certain voters, but it’s questionable that anyone swayed by the choice of Abrams would not otherwise simply vote for a younger candidate of color to begin with.
Fundraising could be Biden’s main concern:
While much of the talk about Biden’s run has been focused on his age, The Times notes that his lack of a digital fundraising machine could hamper his chances against powerhouse candidates like Bernie Sanders and O’Rourke.
“Unlike a number of other candidates, such as Mr. O’Rourke and Senators Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, Mr. Biden has not spent years building a muscular digital operation aimed at stimulating online supporters to give money,” The Times reported. “So his team is mulling a host of unconventional steps, including several related to fund-raising, transparency and the mechanics of a campaign.”
“Both Mr. Biden and his top aides question whether he will be able to make deep inroads with millennial voters in a primary, and also whether he will be able to raise large sums of money online,” the report added.