by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The paucity of Democratic establishment figures mobilizing for Joe Biden underlines widespread party doubts that the former vice president will survive the primary.
Biden has endorsements from five senators, eight House members, two governors, and other major party figures. That’s more prominent establishment support than any of his competitors in the Democratic field, but underwhelming for a fixture of the party establishment going on half a century.
Biden was elected to the Senate in 1972, and some presidential historians and Democratic insiders believe a figure with his deep relationships in the party over decades in Congress, and then eight years as President Barack Obama’s No. 2 overseeing White House negotiations with Capitol Hill, might have secured more institutional backing out of the gate.
“Biden has come out with a lot of high-profile party endorsements, but his lead doesn’t look like the leads that most nominees have had in the past,” said Hans Noel, a political scientist at Georgetown University who has studied the impact of endorsements on presidential primaries and co-authored the book, The Party Decides. “It’s not enough to have the most endorsements. You need the lion’s share. Biden doesn’t have that yet.”