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If Biden Runs, What Happens To Bernie?

biden-sanders-comp-ap-insley-wade.jpg
Brennan Linsley (left), Brandon Wade
/
AP
Vice president Joe Biden (left) may be considering a presidential run, leading to discussion about how his candidacy might affect Bernie Sanders.

This summer, Bernie Sanders has surprised a lot of people by emerging as the chief competitor to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. But the dynamics of the race could change if Vice President Joe Biden enters the race.

Last weekend, news broke that Biden is taking a serious look at entering the race. If he does jump into the contest, will it affect the prospects for the Sanders campaign?

Speaking on ABC News, Sanders said he doubted it, because Sanders thinks Biden is viewed as being "a conventional" politician.

"I think the American people, who are seeing the middle class of this country disappearing, massive levels of income and wealth inequality ... want to go beyond conventional establishment politics," Sanders said.

Retired Middlebury College political science professor Eric Davis thinks Sanders might be right.

"If Biden jumps in then I think he and Clinton are basically contending for the voters in the center of the Democratic Party... and Bernie Sanders continues to win the more progressive Democratic voters who are committed to the issues that Sanders has been talking about," Davis said.

"I think the American people, who are seeing the middle class of this country disappearing, massive levels of income and wealth inequality... want to go beyond conventional establishment politics." - Bernie Sanders

Davis says Sanders' strong early support is an indication that some Democrats aren't enthusiastic about Clinton's candidacy. If Biden does decide to run, Davis thinks the parallels to the 1968 Democratic race are very strong.

That's when Minnesota senator Gene McCarthy had a strong showing in the New Hampshire primary against incumbent president Lyndon Johnson. Soon after the primary, Robert F. Kennedy jumped into the race.

"If Joe Biden were to enter the race as one consequence of Bernie Sanders polling well in some early states and perhaps doing better than expected in those early states it would be the same sort of phenomenon," Davis says.

Norwich University political science professor Megan Remmel says Biden's candidacy might not be good news for the Sanders campaign. She thinks Biden's positions on a number of issues are more conservative than Clinton's and Remmel says this could change how some voters view Clinton.

"If you throw Biden into the mix Hillary now starts to look more appealing to those people who were fence sitting between the Sanders campaign and the Clinton campaign where they go, 'Well look at Joe Biden. He's way too far to the right of where we'd like, to be so let's go with Clinton instead,'" Remmel says.

"If you throw Biden into the mix Hillary now starts to look more appealing to those people who were fence sitting between the Sanders campaign and the Clinton campaign." - Megan Remmel, Norwich University professor

  Remmel says a Biden candidacy could also result in no candidate winning a majority of delegates to the Democratic convention.

"If this happens... I think this gives Sanders yet another opportunity to be a kind of king-maker to help determine who the president is going to be, who the vice presidential candidate would be, who the cabinet members are going to be," Remmel says.

Vice President Biden is expected to make a decision about a possible presidential run in the next six weeks.

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