Joe Biden: the man, the myth, and in retrospect, a better candidate for President?

We’ve all seen the memes.

Biden, America’s “Uncle-in-Chief,”–the jokester trying to prank the incoming President Donald Trump, his staff and his family–is pictured prodding the responsible and exasperated outgoing President Obama.

Where did this White House fantasy originate?

Joe Biden is famously the light-hearted feature of the executive branch–constantly sharing his love of ice cream and cracking jokes as he swears in Senators and Congresspeople of both parties.

These new jokes seem to be comic relief from an election season that is getting much of America down. This playful image of Joe Biden, however, may feed into something pundits and writers have been edging at for a while.

That Joe Biden may have been a better choice for president for democrats than Hillary Clinton.

According to Gallup, he has higher favorables than Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren. He’s about equal to Ivanka Trump (one of the most redeeming Trump children) and Tim Tebow (yes, the football player who takes a knee in prayer with every move).

Would he have done better than Hillary Clinton in the general election? Maybe. If nothing else, these memes prove that Biden has the “like-ability” that –for better or worse–eluded Secretary Clinton during the election cycle.

We all remember the anticipation of Joe Biden’s potential candidacy for president. He didn’t end up running in 2016 (he ran in 1998 and 2008). He blamed the decision that year, in part, to the passing of his son Beau.

It was said Obama discouraged this run for president, believing that Biden would be too moderate to win the presidency, and he was considering the move too late in the game–he didn’t want his legacy to dissipate due to a lack of preparation.

“Still, this wasn’t personal for the president; it was business. Protecting his vulnerable accomplishments from the GOP wrecking ball and safeguarding his legacy have always been top priorities for Obama, and he had told friends as early as late 2014 that Clinton, for all her flaws, was “the only one” fit to succeed him. If Biden had come to him six months earlier—who knows? But it was much too late, and time to push Biden toward a graceful exit.”

Damon Winter, Politico

Now, Biden says he regrets not entering the race. And he says he would have defeated Hillary in the primary.

“I regret it every day, but it was the right decision for my family and for me. And I plan on staying deeply involved,” Biden said in an interview with Connecticut NBC affiliate WVIT.

But, it’s hard to say whether Biden would have received the nomination should he sought it. And if he had, whether he would have been able to defeat Trump. Was Trump-fever too severe to dampen? Discontent with the Obama administration too rampant? Is Biden as like-able as internet memes and videos make him seem?

The argument for Biden’s superiority stems from his appeal to working folks — the folks who voted in droves for Donald Trump. Biden also has a scandal-free past. In the end, the scandals drove Clinton’s numbers down beyond repair.

But Trump-fever seems, especially in retrospect, too extreme for any Democratic candidate to have overcome, despite the lack of scandal and more general likeability.

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said he believed Joe Biden would not have won against Trump: not for his own fault.

“Donald Trump is every bit as unique, politically, as far as skills go, as Ronald Reagan or Barack Obama in his own way,” Scarborough said.




  1. On the basis of dank memes alone, I would have voted for Biden with full confidence. On a more serious note, It’s absolutely true that the vice president has a certain like-ability about him. Unlike Hillary, who for some reason just makes me feel like she’s hiding something or that she’s putting up a façade all the time. As you have discussed, his scandal-free past and his long history of work in the public sector are not at all to his detriment. His approval ratings are high up and I wouldn’t have been surprised had he been able to get the nomination if he did run in the first place. Joe, you would have had my vote!


  2. When it was rumored that Biden was going to run for election, I was excited. I think he is an extremely likable politician who has a solid head on his shoulders. Whether he would have beaten Trump, I am unsure. Trump was truly a unique candidate (now Presidential-elect) whose following seemed to be extremely passionate in his beliefs and for the sole reason that he isn’t a politician. However I do believe Biden’s clean record would have gained more voters who chose between the lesser of “two evils” than Hillary did. I think it would have been very interesting to see what would have happened if Biden ran.


  3. It occurred to me a couple days after the election ended, that Joe Biden would have been the ideal candidate for the Democratic party. I think besides his likability and popularity in the public, his experience in office would have enabled him to be more successful if he won the Presidency. I agree with Kate, I think it would have been very interesting to see him run.


  4. It would be hard to find a worse candidate than Hillary, especially considering the controversies she’s been involved with and her overall untrustworthy demeanor. Biden would have been a relatable candidate that people would laugh with and share opinions with, and would have been a more competent opponent against Trump in the reality show debates over the past couple weeks. 2020 maybe? We’ll see


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