So, what if Joe Biden bows out of the race?
“ ‘One particular, truly out-of-the-box combination stops the discussion in its tracks: Hillary Clinton as the nominee and Barack Obama as her running mate.’ ”
That’s former White House and Pentagon official Douglas MacKinnon, a longtime Republican, getting creative in an op-ed in The Hill about a potential replacement ticket for the 2020 election.
“Desperate times do indeed call for desperate measures. For the Democrats, a truly desperate time could come if Joe Biden is forced to withdraw from the presidential race. ” MacKinnon wrote. “While the former vice president is the presumptive Democratic nominee to face off against President Trump in November, his nomination is still far from official.”
He cited three hurdles that could ultimately get in the way of his run: Biden’s age, the allegation from Tara Reade and more noise from his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings.
“For those reasons, and a few more, might we envision Biden being privately talked into retiring from the race or voluntarily doing so himself?” MacKinnon asked. “Let’s assume that happens just before or just after the party’s convention, in whatever form it is held. What would happen then?”
He explained that, if Biden quits before the convention, delegates name the new nominee. If after, members of the DNC would select their replacement candidate.
Enter Clinton and Obama?
“Now, before everyone rolls their eyes, let that sink in for a moment and do some fairly simple calculations about voters and swing states in your heads,” he said. “No matter how you add it, subtract it or divide it, that math would spell trouble for the Trump campaign.”
Then there’s the issue of ambiguous language in the Constitution that would allow for Obama’s selection as a vice presidential running mate, despite his already having reached the presidential term limit. MacKinnon pointed to this piece from one constitutional expert in the Washington Post saying that there is nothing to get in the way of such a seemingly far-fetched scenario.
But if it still sounds too ridiculous to contemplate, that’s because, according to George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, it is. As MacKinnon’s piece racked up clicks over the weekend, Turley said there’s very little chance such an idea would ever be seriously considered.
“However, it is the fantasy element that is most striking in the current discussion,” Turley wrote in a blog post on Sunday. “There is a bottomless cavity in coverage for such theories that allow either the removal (or incarceration) of Trump or the return of figures like Obama.”