Who has influence now?

If Vice President Joe Biden actually ran for President he would be 74 when he took office making him the oldest first term president ever. Despite his advanced age though Biden hasn’t shut the door on a possible run. In fact, he has taken several steps to hold this option open.

For example, Biden paid special attention to early primary states during inauguration events. He attended the Iowa Democrats’ pre-inauguration party and invited the New Hampshire governor to the private swearing in ceremony on Sunday.

While speculation about Biden’s plans four years from now might seem silly, if Biden is at least exploring the possibility there are real implications for activists right now. Since President Obama will never run again, grassroots groups have lost a huge amount of potential influence over this administration. During his first term Obama needed to keep his potential voters relatively engaged so that gave different groups electoral leverage to push him to take actions, such as delaying the Keystone XL pipeline decision or creating a system for DREAM kids.

Obama is no longer personally susceptible to that kind of raw electoral pressure, but if Biden is seriously considering running it means activists at least retain a tiny measure of this leverage with the administration. At least it means Biden could probably be pursued to lobby Obama against some action if it is seen as too damaging with the base.

If you want to try to influence policy you need to know every potential point of leverage that might be exploitable, regardless how small.

Ed Note: Case in Point

Photo by afagen under Creative Commons license