Biden won’t enter race for Democratic nomination
With the announcement Wednesday that Vice President Joe Biden will not seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, LGBT voters are now spared a tough choice: Support the man who is credited with playing a pivotal role in putting the Obama administration’s weight behind marriage equality or support a long-standing friend of the community who has a chance to make history as the first woman president.
“Biden would have had a lot of LGBT support,” said long-time Democratic lesbian activist Hilary Rosen. “He has had real friendships and offered support over the years.”
Three polls conducted October 15-18 and released this week indicate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a 20-point lead over progressive U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and a 30-point lead over Biden.
Biden’s announcement is likely to solidify more support behind Clinton, particularly in the LGBT community.
The nation’s largest LGBT political group, the Human Rights Campaign, has not devoted much attention to Sanders, but it invited both Clinton and Biden to its national showcase events in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. During the event with Clinton, HRC President Chad Griffin made prominent mention of his long-time personal association with Clinton. Griffin volunteered on the first presidential campaign of Bill Clinton and, after Clinton was elected, Griffin landed a position in the White House press office.
Openly gay MSNBC political talk show host Rachel Maddow said she thinks Biden’s decision will mean Clinton can “steamroll her way to this Democratic nomination and she expressed doubt Biden could have won the nomination.
In his remarks in the Rose Garden of the White House, Biden said he would have liked to have been the president to end cancer in this country. Biden’s son Beau died of brain cancer died earlier this year, an event that many believe was the reason Biden has decided not to run for president.
“I also believe we need to keep moving forward in the arc toward justice –the rights of the LGBT community, immigration reform, equal pay for women and the protection of their safety from violence, rooting out institutional racism,” said Biden. “Everyone of these things is about the same thing: It’s about equality, about fairness, about respect.”
The Democratic field now stands at only four candidates: Clinton, Sanders, and former governors Lincoln Chafee and Martin O’Malley. Democratic hopeful Jim Webb announced Tuesday that he was dropping out of the race for the nomination and hinted he may consider an independent campaign. Webb had been polling at only one percent in surveys of Democratic voters.
Rosen said she thinks Sanders is “great on the issues but has never really engaged.”
“My sense is that, while Hillary hasn’t always been perfect,” said Rosen, “she has been a friend through the wars. Many have felt her real and personal support and connection.”