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The Biden Bet: How Could Hillary Clinton Claw Her Way to the Presidency?

© AP Photo / Evan VucciVice President Joe Biden, left, laughs with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a ceremony to unveil a portrait of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Capitol Hill, 8 December 2016, in Washington.
Vice President Joe Biden, left, laughs with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a ceremony to unveil a portrait of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Capitol Hill, 8 December 2016, in Washington. - Sputnik International
The 2020 election cycle in the United States has been rife with partisan infighting and power plays, and produced speculation galore. One of the biggest rumours thus far is whether the Democratic heavyweight Hillary Clinton will enter the fray again.

Joe Biden’s once-moribund presidential bid came back from the dead in the past week, but there has also been an increasingly growing flow of questions regarding his mental health from his detractors.

A three-page medical report, which did not include a cognitive functioning test, stated that he is fit for office despite having suffered two life-threatening brain aneurysms. His critics, however, including President Trump, have cited several awkward gaffes he has made on the campaign trail as evidence of his perceived cognitive decline.

The former vice president has recently claimed that almost half of the US population was killed by gun violence since 2007 and apparently forgotten the words of the Declaration of Independence – apart from saying that he is running for US Senate.

A senior adviser for Biden’s rival, Bernie Sanders, has added to the controversy by questioning the DNC-approved format for the next Democratic presidential debate. According to it, the candidates will be seated, rather than standing, for the first time in this race and will field questions from the audience and not from professional moderators, as was the case previously.

The Biden campaign has dismissed allegations of his mental issues, but a theory has emerged that he might prop up his prospective presidency with none other than Hillary Clinton.

Biden resigns, Clinton steps in

“It’ll be #Biden and #Hillary as his vice presidential candidate,” actor James Woods, a frequent critic of Hillary Clinton, said in a now-viral tweet this week. “He will eventually ‘gracefully’ resign as his dementia worsens and... Voila! #MadamePresident at last!”

Clinton has long been the subject of idle talk surrounding the 2020 race: she has been rumoured for months to be planning to announce her own bid, and then to be plotting a joint ballot with Michael Bloomberg.

Clinton herself has been coy about her White House prospects, fully immersed for the time being in her book tour and her docuseries on Hulu. If she still decided to run or had already taken such a decision in secret, the window of opportunity is closing.

With the primary contest at the meridian and Bloomberg out of the race, she may run either as Biden’s vice president or, in a much more unlikely scenario, as a candidate in a brokered convention.

And while a brokered-convention appearance would probably be seen as a nuclear option, a joint Joe/Hillary bid is still realistic, given that both served in the Obama administration and represent the same “moderate” (i.e. “establishment”) party wing.

Not so neutral

Despite her pledge to stay neutral in the 2020 contest, Clinton sharply criticised her 2016 rival Sanders (“Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done”) and heaped praise on Biden (“He has the experience, he knows what needs to be done”) without actually endorsing anyone.

“She has been blatant in attacking Bernie, even though he, unlike Biden, is mentally competent and has an agenda,” says Jim Fetzer, a philosophy professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and former Marine Corps officer.

He predicts that, “Should Biden make it through the primaries to become the Democratic nominee and were Hillary to be his running mate… it’s a virtual certainty that… Biden would resign the Presidency to enable Hillary to assume it.”

“He appears to be suffering from brain damage, which is obvious to anyone who pays attention to his major gaffes. While Biden flags, Bernie remains sharp – and will expose him during their debates – anticipate his complete mental collapse.”

David E. Kenney, an attorney and political commentator, believes that Biden picking Clinton as his running mate would be “disastrous” because she would “promote the disintegration of traditional family values, lose focus on the importance of faith and family in exchange for personal gain… and destroy the commonly accepted principle of teaching morals with justice.”

“Biden may have no other choice but to select Hillary,” he concludes. “Bill selected Monica. Who am I to judge?”

Obama strikes back?

Mitchell Feierstein, a hedge-fund manager and CEO of the Glacier Environmental Fund, believes that a Biden/Clinton ballot is less likely than the return of their common ally – Barack Obama.

Having served two presidential terms, Obama is not allowed to run again, but he could send in his wife Michelle, who was named the most admired woman in America (with a big lead over Clinton) not long ago.

Despite Biden frequently invoking Obama’s name in his talking points, the former president has stopped short of endorsing him – reportedly out of concern that such a move has ”a very real chance it backfires” and divides a party that needs unity to defeat Donald Trump in November.

However, Feierstein suggests, “perhaps the DNC and Obama’s real objective is for Michelle Obama to enter the 2020 race so Obama may once again gain control.”

He says: “The establishment wants a return to the Pay-To-Play status quo and will attempt its ‘TREXIT power grab’ next.”

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