There is a real possibility that, this coming week, Joe Biden will be selecting the 47th president of the United States.
For the woman Biden picks – he has promised to exclude from consideration all men, black, brown, white or Asian – has a better chance of succeeding to the presidency than any vice presidential nominee in U.S. history, other than perhaps Harry Truman.
In 1944, the Democratic establishment engineered the dumping of radical Henry Wallace from Roosevelt’s ticket. They could see from FDR’s physical deterioration that he would not last through a full fourth term.
There are other reasons the woman Biden chooses in August may become our 47th president.
If Biden wins, he will be 78 when he takes the oath, older than our eldest president, Ronald Reagan, was when he left office after two terms. Biden would turn 80 even before he reached the midpoint of his first term.
Moreover, Biden has suffered a transparent deterioration of his mental capacities that was nowhere evident when he debated Mitt Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan in 2012.
What are the odds that Biden would serve a full term?
Of our 45 presidents, nine failed to complete the term to which they had been elected. One resigned; four died in office; and four were assassinated. All nine were succeeded by their vice president.
John Tyler became president in 1841 when William Henry Harrison died a month into office of pneumonia, following an inaugural address of nearly two hours in the cold without an overcoat.