It could have been much different.

Posted on July 28, 2016 By Paul Gleiser

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Photo: Paul L. Gleiser ©2016

Joe Biden’s speech Wednesday night here at the Democratic National Convention should remind Republicans to count their blessings.

When the history of the 2016 U.S. presidential election is written, the story may well turn on a decision made in early July by FBI Director James Comey. After months of investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server for State Department emails, he declined to recommend prosecution for Mrs. Clinton.

A criminal referral by the FBI would have effectively ended Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. The Democratic Party, fully committed to Mrs. Clinton (as we learned in no uncertain terms this week from yet more emails), would have been in a tight spot. July of an election year is very, very late in the cycle to learn that your candidate may be prosecuted and sent to jail.

If such had occurred with Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic National Committee would have been forced to find a suitable substitute nominee really, really quick.

In all likelihood, that stand-in would have been Vice President Joe Biden.

Bad news for the Republicans.

Joe Biden is, if nothing else, extremely likeable. He is free of scandal. His reputation does not include philandering, influence peddling or brazenly lying about events with which he is politically connected. He has no history of making multiple six-figure speeches and there is no evidence that he ever personally profited from a quid pro quo with a foreign government.

Joe Biden is the kind of Democrat that a staunch Republican could tolerate having as a next-door neighbor.

We were reminded of this Wednesday night here in Philadelphia. Joe Biden’s speech was the best of the evening – eclipsing that of orator-in-chief Barack Obama. Biden has a unique ability to say things with which you might vigorously disagree without causing you to hate him.

Joe Biden would have been very, very hard for Donald Trump to beat.

If Hillary Clinton had been taken out of the game by a criminal referral from the FBI, it is easy to imagine that Joe Biden would have been viewed sympathetically by Democrats and independents in sufficient numbers as to make his election unstoppable.

Republicans who, not without justification, were angry with James Comey for punting on a Hillary Clinton criminal case should nevertheless be grateful.

That pass kept Hillary’s presidential campaign alive.

Had she been charged, it is entirely possible that instead of speaking in the prime slot on Wednesday night at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Joe Biden would be speaking in the prime slot tonight.

As we know, every four years, one of the two presidential candidates who gives a speech on Thursday night goes to to give a speech at noon eastern time the following January 20th.

Republicans should consider dashing off a thank you note to Director James Comey.

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