Joe Biden’s Checkmate Move – Endorse Hillary

By Peter Daou and Tom Watson

One of the most rewarding aspects of our role as Democratic participants in the 2016 campaign process is that we have a small but exceptional field of candidates. We are especially excited that Bernie Sanders, who we’ve admired for years, has gained traction and found a national voice for issues that matter to us as progressives.

And we confess that it’s particularly amusing to see the pincer effect of having Hillary’s detractors struggle to get at her by praising and promoting Sanders, someone whose candidacy and ideas they’d never otherwise endorse.

All that said, we are enthusiastic and unabashed #HillaryMen who have been in the trenches fighting since the day Hillary’s campaign launched, and we will be there till the very last day – hopefully at the inauguration of America’s first woman president.

In the aftermath, or should we say afterglow of the first Democratic debate, the media and pundits have rushed to concede what we’ve been saying all along: Hillary is a singularly qualified presidential candidate, with a unique combination of skills, accomplishments and personal attributes.

As we wrote immediately after the debate:

What happens when the anti-Hillary media filter is lifted and she isn't hijacked by email server questions? 

The public sees a brilliant, powerful, experienced leader. Someone who is on track to demolish the ultimate gender barrier in American politics. 

The first Democratic debate was a major inflection point, where America got to see why Hillary is the best candidate to succeed President Obama. And it was a wake-up call to the media and commentariat, whose incessant focus on arcane server questions has been a national embarrassment. 

In addition to their sudden appreciation of Hillary, the pundits, typically late to the game, are now pointing out something we said a month ago: that the window for a Joe Biden candidacy has closed. Here’s what we wrote back in September:

In politics, as in life, timing is everything. 

For a moment this summer, the gatekeepers of our national conversation believed they had achieved their singular mission: to derail Hillary Clinton’s campaign. 

In the midst of that fierce summertime attack, some Democrats lost their nerve and succumbed to the seductive sirens of the anti-Hillary commentariat who floated a series of male saviors for the Democratic Party, shining knights who could salvage them from the supposed "dream-turned-nightmare" of the first woman president. 

As we approached that nadir, according to the pundits, our Vice President would step in and save the day, rescuing America from the “weak woman.” 

Here’s the problem for Joe Biden, a good and decent man whom we admire and respect tremendously: that moment has passed. 

Hillary has survived one of the fiercest assaults ever launched against a political leader.

We agree with Hillary that Joe Biden should be given the time and space to make his own decision, but we don’t feel it is out of order to suggest that Biden could cement his legacy forever by endorsing Hillary. He would be seen as a hero by women and girls across the world who are fully invested in Hillary’s candidacy and who are within reach of a goal that has eluded them for nearly a quarter millennium.

Biden’s endorsement of Hillary would roil the GOP field, who are already terrified of facing Hillary in a general election. It would be a brilliant move, a political checkmate.

Let’s hope he does it.


Peter Daou and Tom Watson founded #HillaryMen to provide actionable analysis of the 2016 campaign focusing on the gender barrier in U.S. politics. Peter is a former senior digital adviser to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative. He is a veteran of two presidential campaigns (Kerry '04 and Clinton '08). Tom is an author and Columbia University lecturer who advises companies and non-profits on social activism.