Yesterday, Ring of Fire joined other members of the Progressive media in speculation over whether Vice President Joe Biden will throw his hat into the ring in a bid for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Aside from rising panic over Hillary Clinton’s falling poll numbers and Bernie Sanders’ increasing appeal to voters across the political spectrum, what are the implications for 2016? Would Biden be a game-changer, should he decide to run?

Like an increasing number of Democrats, Biden questions Hillary’s relationship with big corporate money. According to a Biden family friend, who spoke to Howard Fineman of Huffington Post, the Clintons represent “everything he hates about politics today.” Polls indicate that Biden commands more personal respect than Hillary, despite the fact that his ratings as a potential candidate are lower.  Furthermore, Biden – by all reports, an affable, easy-going sort – enjoys a much better relationship with the mainstream media than Hillary.

One of the issues that might sway Biden to run is the recent death of his son, who desired his father seek the presidency. Joseph “Beau” Biden III died of brain cancer at the end of May, aged 46. However, according to several media sources, Beau Biden’s last wish was for his father to seek the Democratic Presidential nomination. Many of his personal friends and acquaintances are urging him to run as well.

Assuming Joe Biden does decide to run in the Democratic primaries, it could cause even more problems for Hillary’s campaign. Based on comments left by readers at Huffington Post, CBS News and other media sites, Biden is very highly-regarded for his honesty and integrity – qualities shared by few politicians other than Bernie Sanders. Biden’s entry into the primaries could split the Democratic vote and work in Sanders’ favor…or not.

If Hillary’s numbers remain constant and Bernie is unable to close the gap, Biden entering the race could actually help Bernie as Biden is more likely to take votes from Hillary than Bernie, which means Hillary’s edge over Bernie would diminish. On the other hand, if Hillary’s numbers continue to slide and Sanders is able to overtake her, Biden is the one candidate who could seriously challenge Sanders. If this scenario came to pass and Biden was to defeat Sanders in the primaries, he may have to seriously consider taking Sanders on as a running mate. In fact, there are many who would like to see a Biden-Sanders ticket – described by some as a “dream team.” Between Biden’s strong commitment to restoring faith in government and Sander’s equally strong commitment to Progressive causes, such a ticket would be almost unbeatable.

As we at The Ring of Fire have pointed out before, this election is still in its very early stages. Anything can happen between now and next February, when the first primary is held in Iowa. Furthermore, the Biden family is still dealing with personal grief – and if Biden decides to run at this late date, he will have much work to do in the next several weeks.

Biden has yet to say whether or not he will seek the nomination – but neither has he ruled it out. Should Biden run, it will make for an interesting campaign all around.

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.