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Biden in 2020? Is the Democrats' Bench That Shallow?

On Monday, Vice President Joe Biden threw his hat in for the 2020 presidential race. Well, not really — he said he wouldn't rule it out — but before he walked it back, it sounded pretty definite.

"I'm going to run in 2020. For president. So, uh, what the hell, man," Biden told reporters Monday, the Associated Press reported.

The vice president walked it back, but not entirely. "I'm not committing not to run," Biden said when asked whether he was joking. "I'm not committing to anything. I learned a long time ago, fate has a strange way of intervening."

Biden turned 74 last month, and will turn 78 just after the 2020 election. By comparison, Ronald Reagan — America's oldest president — was just a few days short of turning 78 when he left office in January 1989. If Donald Trump is re-elected in 2020, he will be 78 when when he leaves the White House in 2025.

The vice president ran for president twice before, in 1988 and 2008 — losing the primary each year. Although it was highly anticipated, Biden did not enter the primary race in 2016. In October, he told CNN: "I didn't run for one simple overarching reason. My son was dying and he died. I didn't not run because Hillary's running. I didn't run because my son's not here." His son Beau passed in May 2015, and reportedly his last wish was for his father to run for president once again.

The very thought that Biden — the butt of a thousand Internet memes — would be considered for the Democrat presidential primary in 2016 or 2020 underscores the liberal party's central problem: it has a remarkably shallow bench. While Republicans fielded 17 candidates — including 5 senators, 9 governors, a female former CEO, a neurosurgeon, and a billionaire household name — the Democrats had 6, three of whom withdrew before the primaries even started.

The Republican candidates were also much younger, on average, than the Democrats. They were also more racially diverse — including one black man, two Cubans, and one Indian.

Unlike Obama, Biden is an old white man, and he is actually one of the more likable faces in the Democratic Party. When news broke, he actually received some support on Twitter.

Next Page: Stranger than fiction — people excited for Biden to run in 4 years.