You have Trump and Sanders tapping into, as the pundits say, the angry American demographic that hates prepared talking points and lack of spontaneity and likes a pinch of populism salting their candidates. And, in the background, you have the “normal, everyday guy” (i.e., Joe Biden) waiting in the wings. Biden is a true elder statesmen who many may disagree with politically, but everyone likes as a regular guy who commuted on the train to work when he was a U.S. senator from Delaware, a guy who has experienced the worst kinds of personal tragedies and survived them and succeeded in his career. He also has survived horrible political “scandal” (i.e., plagiarizing parts of a political speech years ago). And, he is quite spontaneous, his spontaneity often getting him in political hot water but you know where he stands.
Biden is everything Hillary is not: He is likable. And as President Obama said of Hillary two campaigns ago, “you’re likable enough.” But, maybe she isn’t. Have you run into many Democrats who are joyfully supporting Hillary? I haven’t. They’ll vote for her, because their arms will fall off if they vote for a Republican, but as they pull the lever with their right hand, they'll be holding their noses with their left.
Hillary also somehow has taken the joy out of being the odds-on favorite to be the first female president in history.
Will Biden get in to the race? I don’t think so. I think after he deals with the fact that every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president, and deals with giving up what was a lifelong aspiration of his (forgoing making money and other things to be just an Honest Joe), Biden likely will decide that he’s in his 70s, he’s seen his first wife and young daughter killed in a car crash and, recently, his son, Beau pass away young. So, why not join a couple of boards and even more fully enjoy the family he clearly loves and knows can be taken away from him in a blink. Still, if he gets into the race, he has the character traits that polls show people think Hillary lacks -- likability, trustworthiness.
Joe Biden is more than likable “enough.” I met him once. It was at a book party for a mutual friend in DC. Two things: 1) it was the same night that the President had nominated a chief justice to the Supreme Court. Biden, not one to avoid the cameras especially when the nominee would be before the Judiciary Committee that he chaired, was at the book party rather than in the Congress doing interviews. The author was a good friend, and he wouldn’t miss a good friend’s book party. 2) I was introduced to him that night as someone who’d recently suffered a stroke. Biden, who’d experienced brain trauma himself, spent about 15 minutes looking directly into my eyes as we discussed neurologists and brain issues. He clearly cared. He wasn't looking for the next hand to shake. I had his attention.
He is more than likable enough.
So, unless Biden surprises me and jumps in, Hillary has a pretty clear path to the nomination unless a legitimate alternative appears (i.e., Bernie isn’t it). And, my guess is, unless the Republicans nominate a Right Wing-nut -- and there are plenty in the field -- she will lose the general election (i.e., to someone who actually is likable).