The Joe Biden-Paul Ryan Vice Presidential Debate this Thursday could be a forerunner of 2016!
If Joe Biden performs well, and seals a Barack Obama victory in November, he will be the frontrunner for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016.
If Paul Ryan does a reputable performance, and is not harmed by Biden, even if Biden is declared the winner on points, he becomes the front runner for 2016 as the Republican Presidential nominee, presuming a Mitt Romney defeat in 2012.
In theory, both Biden and Ryan could be running against each other–74 year old Biden with 44 years of government experience, the most of any Presidential nominee or winner of the White House in history—and 46 year old Paul Ryan, who will have had 18 years in the House of Representatives by then, assuming he wins his House seat while being on the losing Presidential team!
Certainly, one or the other could very well be on the Presidential ballot in 2016, as Walter Mondale was in 1984, after the Mondale-Bush debate of 1980; as George H. W. Bush was after the debate with Geraldine Ferraro in 1984; and as Al Gore was after the debate with Jack Kemp in 1996.
CORRECTION: I discovered after writing the above that there was no VP debate between Bush and Mondale in 1980, so I stand corrected, and that means twice in VP debate history, one of the candidates was on the Presidential ballot in the following election, not three times!