Biden’s struggles with Catholic voters, bishops creates drag on Democrats
The campaign trail for vice president of the United States has long been a grind – with the candidate traveling long distances, meeting with groups and voters, and doing a lot of fundraising. The candidate has also had to deal with a lot of negative press.
Vice President Joe Biden has had to do everything from deal with his own anti-Catholic history, to deal with the controversy over his relationship with Anita Hill and the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, to deal with Hillary Clinton’s criticism of his faith.
As it stands, Biden has the endorsements of almost every Catholic presidential candidate in the field, but his support is still on the low end, leaving the other Democratic candidates with questions about whether the vice president can make enough inroads with the Catholic community to carry the burden of the ticket.
The first test for Biden will come this week when he hosts a meeting in his home state of Delaware with prominent Catholic leaders. The vice president and his wife Jill Biden have been working hard to get that meeting and to build support for his candidacy in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, two critical states for Democratic candidates.
“I’m not looking forward to it at all, but I’m excited about what they’re going to bring to Delaware,” Biden told CBS News’ Charlie Rose this week in their first sit-down interview since the vice president launched his bid for the White House.
The Biden campaign has already begun spending money and organizing volunteers in the crucial early voting states – Biden’s campaign announced Tuesday that it has opened a New Hampshire office – but the challenge is that Catholics often aren’t interested in voting for a Catholic candidate. That’s where the vice president’s past comes into play, but it won’t slow him down.
“There have been more and more voters who are rejecting our candidate,” said Biden, who spoke with Rose in his kitchen in South Carolina Tuesday night. “The voters who are rejecting my Catholic faith are not the voters who are rejecting our candidate. They are the voters who don’t like me.”
To win in New Hampshire, Biden would have to get about 28 percent of the Catholic vote