Joe Biden: Battle for the White House


After months of speculation as to “will he…won’t he”, former Vice President Joe Biden has officially joined the race for the White House.  He becomes an instant front-runner in the race to take on President Donald Trump at the 2020 elections in a crowded field of candidates.

Mr Biden, VP under Barack Obama and Senator from Delaware between 1973 and 2009, announced his candidacy on Twitter with a heartfelt yet striking video regarding 2017 Unite the Right rally.  The riots in question saw Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists protesting an attempt to remove a statue of former Confederate General Robert E.Lee from a park in Charlottesville.  Former Vice President Biden, a long-time critic of President Trump, lambasted the President for saying that there were ‘fine people’ on the side of the White Supremacists placing what Biden calls a moral equivalency on their actions compared to those standing up to them.  Mr Biden claimed, as he has several times since announcing his candidacy, that America is in a ‘battle for the soul of the nation’.  This statement originally penned by Mr Biden at the time of the riots outlines his perception of modern-day US Politics and therefore can largely be attributed for his reasons for running against President Trump.

Mr Biden kicked off his campaign in Pennsylvania, a key swing-state due to its industry with many of its employees having a distrust of the political elite represented by Hilary Clinton in the last election.  Both Pennsylvania and Michigan went “red” in 2016 for the first time since 1988, proving to be a major gain for President Trump in his Triumph over Mrs Clinton.  It was of no surprise that Mr Biden, therefore, took to appealing for the working class and the unions that have lost faith in the President.  In a rousing address, Mr Biden made clear how key Pennsylvania was to his hopes, referencing the ‘little bit of trouble that the party had at the last election.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons [Public domain].
Credit: Wikimedia Commons [Public domain].
His ‘reward work, not wealth’ message was also the basis for him to highlight President Trump’s current economic plan was a loophole for corporate greed.  The pair also exchanged hostile words regarding Mr Biden’s speech in Pennsylvania, with the President noting how 2019 has seen unemployment in the state fall to its lowest figure in 40 years.  Mr Biden replied by evoking his frustration at the President’s inability to respect the Unions that he claims have helped build the American middle class.

Mr Biden’s run for the White House is by no means straightforward.  Despite many seeing his decision to run as inevitable, questions have arisen as to whether Mr Biden would be able to handle his duties due to his advancing age.  At age 78 on Inauguration Day 2021, he would become the oldest elected President in US history.  There is also the question of Mr Biden’s past conduct with women.  In the past few months, several allegations have risen that accuse him of inappropriate touching.  These allegations do not accuse the former VP of sexual misconduct, but they serve as a reminder as to what is acceptable in politics in the current climate.

A New York Times article written by Lucy Flores, one of Mr Biden’s accusers believes he should endeavour to atone for his past behaviour in the incidents reported as well as his actions regarding the appointment of Clarence Thomas to the US Supreme Court. Mr Thomas, when appointed faced sexual harassment claims by Anita Hill.  Mr Biden at the time was a strong supporter of Mr Thomas in the subsequent Senate hearing.  There may be no drastic changes necessary, but it is vital that Mr Biden recognises the change of culture in American politics if he is to defeat both his fellow Democratic candidates and President Trump.

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Joe Biden still, however, represents the greatest challenge to President Trump in next year’s election.  A career politician he may be, but his links with the working class in the mid-west combined with his refusal to engage in the radical socialist politics of his Democratic colleague Bernie Sanders could appeal to the disenfranchised American who may have voted for Trump in 2016. However, the doubts surrounding his age and his past involving women will certainly become major attack points for the Republicans as they look to ensure that President Trump remains in the White House for another four years.


MA History Student

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