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    Biden for Time

    By Andrea Shorter–

    Alright, Joe: time to pony up. The utter lack of suspense leading up to the eventual entry of former Vice President Joe Biden into the Democratic field of presidential hopefuls is becoming much less an anticipatory event than it is just plain, well, annoying.

    Although he has been scrambling to stem the crisis after politician Lucy Flores’ allegation, poll after poll still shows Biden at the top of the list of most favorable and best bet to run Trump out of the White House and packing back to Trump Tower in Manhattan. 

    With various poll results released seemingly every other day for the past several months, on average, Biden steadily tops off at around 30% of the favored Democrats to win, at least 10 points ahead of second place runner up Senator Bernie Sanders at 20%. With Texas’ Beto O’Rourke having wandered into the field, the Quinnipiac University poll lands him at 12%, and California’s own Senator Kamala Harris is holding sturdy in the top four at 8%.

    I know, timing is everything in politics. There’s much to be done to build a winning strategy, a top-notch campaign team and lining up buckets of dough to make it to the nomination in one piece before calibrating for the general election showdown. After all, this will not be a rinse and repeat strategy as it might’ve been for twice wins on the Obama-Biden tickets of old. As the top of the ticket contender in this particular fight, he would need a retool, if not overhaul, of that old-time coalition-driven machinery.

    In Biden’s very particular case, we certainly respect that he has needed time to sort out the presidential race’s impact on his family and, more recently, the Flores allegation. In terms of the former, the Biden family suffered the tragic loss of son Beau to brain cancer in 2015, and for the last year, tabloid headline grabbers involving son Hunter’s exploits, which of late seem to be quieting down.

    The Biden personal story is one of devastating family loss, beginning with the loss of his wife and infant daughter in a car accident in 1972 during his nascent political career. Even under much less taxing circumstances, it’s hard to imagine the considerations it must take before running for president again. Before climbing into the ring with no-holds bar serial insulter Trump, Biden’s brace for perhaps the toughest political fight of his life is crucial.

    Trump’s lack of decency prevents him from delivering below the belt sucker punches to even these most vulnerable, personal pressure points of another’s familial troubles. Against a less than honorable Trump, protecting these familial concerns is understandably very real.

    Of course, after 50 decades in political office, there are plenty of real political foibles and folly in the book of Biden to pick at from the left and the right. For many, at the top would be his terrible handling as chair of the Senate Judiciary committee during Anita Hill’s testimony of sexual harassment against then nominee Clarence Thomas’ hearing for Supreme Court. Biden handled it poorly.

    While he somewhat redeemed himself by introducing the Violence Against Women Act, few women of a certain age have forgotten the disrespectful, dismissive and suspect treatment Professor Hill received before an all-male panel of hostile Senators. Biden obviously was forgiven just enough to eventually succeed as Vice President to Obama’s historic election as president, but it’s not forgotten. He still owes Ms. Hill an apology.

    Even more recent gaffes—such as publicly palling around with the idea that his ultra-conservative, homophobic veep replacement Mike Pence is a “a decent guy” to the righteous ire of the LGBT community, and his weird alleged courting of rising star Stacey Abrams of Alabama to be his running mate before the primaries—are reminders of some of either the off the cuff or hit and missed deeds to which Mr. Biden is prone.

    Biden’s prevalence is no forgone conclusion. There’s plenty of time for more gaffes and missteps along the road to victory that could prove dismal. Still, he remains the top choice.

    With the most racially, gender, and sexual orientation diverse democratic field ever, it’s still sad that it might take an old white guy from Scranton, Pennsylvania, to take down an old white guy from Queens, New York. If only two women could run together on the general ticket, or a Latino and a gay Mayor from Indiana, or any other combination of not ever represented Americans in the White House, and win.

    Are such alternatives possible to win back the White House? Too much, too soon? While the single digit polling numbers of candidates don’t bare out now for such a winning combo, within time, we might be as ready for another historic election as Obama proved. One can only hope.

    We need to win. A big win. Biden might be polled as the best bet for that triumph over Trump now, but as candidates take to the stage for the first series of debates in June, perhaps next generation rising stars will begin to shine more brightly than the promise of a Biden plus one ticket. Meantime, Biden: come on, man, get in there already.

    Andrea Shorter is a Commissioner and the former President of the historic San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women. She is a longtime advocate for criminal and juvenile justice reform, voter rights and marriage equality. A Co-founder of the Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition, she was a 2009 David Bohnett LGBT Leadership Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.