CNN | 5/25/2019 | Listen

Joe Biden's very odd endorsement strategy

Updated 7:32 PM ET, Thu April 25, 2019

Washington (CNN) - In the hours after Joe Biden made his 2020 presidential bid official Thursday morning, a steady stream of current and former elected officials announced they were endorsing his campaign.

There were Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper, D-Delaware. And Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Pennsylvania. And former Gov. John Lynch, D-New Hampshire. And Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama. 

A bunch of current and former elected officials. Mostly dudes. (Biden did secure an endorsement from Delaware Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester.)

That seems like an odd way to tout a candidate who, even his biggest admirers acknowledge, has a struggle to prove that a 76-year-old white man who has spent virtually his entire life in politics is the right messenger for the Democratic Party in 2020. 

It also feels somewhat antiquated; the whole endorsement game is very much a 2008 (and earlier) construct.  Endorsements don't tend to mean much of anything -- with very, very few exceptions -- and most candidates eschew touting them for fear of looking like too much of an establishment stoolie. 

It's possible, of course, that Biden -- and his team -- have made the calculation that he is going to be the establishment guy no matter what. And that he is an older white guy -- and that ain't changing either. So, given that they can't change it, they decided to embrace who Biden is and get what they can from these sorts of endorsements -- even if that value is very, very limited.

If so, I get it. Genuinely. Because it makes no sense otherwise.

The Point: Biden is a top-tier candidate based on his name recognition and favorability. Those two factors were accrued over decades (and decades) in politics. Therein lies the rub for Biden.


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