Joe Biden, a senator and vice president for half a century, is attempting to finish a long journey to the political summit that includes two prior unsuccessful presidential attempts by defeating President Donald Trump on Tuesday. If Biden defeats Trump, another septuagenarian, the 77-year-old Democrat from Delaware will be the oldest person ever elected to the White House. Biden has pushed to present his political experience as a plus, portraying himself as a seasoned leader capable of healing a nation ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic and delivering stability during Trump’s presidency.
In accepting the Democratic presidential nomination in August, Biden emphasized compassion and decency as a contrast to Trump’s bravado. “I’ll be an ally of the light,” Biden declared, “not the darkness.” As the president’s friends worked to depict Biden as senile, Trump mocked him as “Sleepy Joe” and suggested his mental capacity was “shot.” If elected, Biden will be 78 years old when he takes office on January 20. Trump, 74, was the oldest person to be sworn in as president when he was 70 in 2017.
Biden ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nominee in 1988 and 2008 before eventually gaining his party’s endorsement this year, thanks to significant support from Black voters. He brings to his political career a blend of blue-collar credentials, foreign policy experience, and a fascinating life story defined by family tragedy, including the death of his first wife and a daughter in a car accident, as well as the death of his son to cancer.
As a young upstart, Biden came to Washington. He was elected to the United States Senate from Delaware at the age of 29 in 1972 and remained there for 36 years before serving as Vice President under Barack Obama, the country’s first Black president, from 2009 to 2017. Trump has attempted to portray Biden’s background as a weakness, branding him a professional politician. Trump has said that Biden will become a tool of the Democratic Party’s “radical left.” The coronavirus pandemic has dominated the presidential campaign. Biden accuses Trump of capitulating in the face of the public health crisis, claiming that the president panicked and attempted to wish the illness away rather than do the hard work required to get it under control, leaving the economy in shambles and millions out of work.
Trump, who was hospitalized for three days after getting COVID-19, has criticized Biden for wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of the infection. Biden chose not to run for president after serving as vice president in 2016, only to see Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. Biden took aim at Trump when he declared his 2020 candidacy in April 2019. “We are in a battle for the soul of this nation,” Biden said, adding that if Trump is re-elected, he will “forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation – who we are,” and he “cannot stand by and watch that happen.”
Senator Kamala Harris, whose father is a Jamaican immigrant and whose mother is an Indian immigrant, was chosen as Biden’s running mate, making her the first Black woman and the first person of Asian heritage on a major-party U.S. ticket. Harris, at 56, is a generation younger than Biden. Trump’s endeavor to gather dirt on Biden resulted in the president’s impeachment in the Democratic-controlled United States House of Representatives in December 2019. Trump’s request that Ukraine probe Biden and his son Hunter on unfounded corruption claims prompted the two articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The Senate, which is controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, cleared him of the charges in February after refusing to summon any witnesses. This year, US intelligence agencies and the FBI director decided that Russia, after interfering in the 2016 election to undermine Trump’s opponent Clinton, was waging a campaign to disparage Biden and help Trump’s re-election chances while sowing dissension in the US.
Biden’s past two presidential bids were unsuccessful. He dropped out of the 1988 presidential run over charges that he stole some of his speech lines from British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock. In 2008, Biden had little support and withdrew, only to be chosen as Obama’s running mate later that year. To connect with regular Americans, the folksy Biden, known for forthright language and occasional verbal gaffes, has frequently mentioned his working-class upbringing. Biden was also the first Roman Catholic vice president of the United States.
Biden worked as a go-between for Obama on subjects of war and foreign affairs, as well as domestic concerns such as gun control and fiscal policy. Obama did not always take Biden’s suggestions to heart. Despite Biden’s caution that it was extremely risky, Obama authorized the 2011 strike in Pakistan that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Biden is candid about his family’s misfortunes, including the 1972 car accident that killed his first wife, Neilia, and their 13-month-old daughter, Naomi, just weeks after he was elected to the Senate.
He nearly gave up his political career to care for his two young sons, who survived the tragedy but remained in Washington, commuting by rail from Delaware to Washington to avoid uprooting them. In 2015, his son, Iraq war veteran and former Delaware Attorney General Joseph “Beau” Biden III, died of brain cancer at the age of 46. Hunter Biden, Biden’s son, struggled with drug addiction as an adult.
Biden had a health scare in 1988 when he got two brain aneurysms. Biden was born the eldest of four siblings in the blue-collar community of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Later, his family relocated to Delaware. As a child, Biden conquered stuttering by reciting poetry to a mirror. He was essentially a political rookie, having served two years on a Delaware county board, when he became the fifth-youngest senator in US history in 1972. Despite years of partisanship in Washington, Biden was a firm believer in bipartisanship.
Biden was recognized in the Senate for his close working connections with some of his Republican colleagues. Furthermore, a number of disillusioned Republicans, including former government officials and congressmen, who are concerned about Trump’s leadership, have embraced Biden. Biden also argued for America’s role as a world leader at a time when Trump was abandoning international treaties and alienating long-standing foreign partners. As a senator, Biden was instrumental in getting the Violence Against Women Act passed in 1994, which protected victims of domestic violence.
Biden specialized on foreign policy while in the Senate, and he once chaired the Foreign Relations Committee. He supported approving the 2003 invasion of Iraq before becoming a critic of Republican President George W. Bush’s handling of the conflict. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, Biden was chastised for his treatment of sexual harassment allegations made by former staffer Anita Hill against Republican President George H.W. Bush’s conservative Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Liberals chastised him for not doing enough to defend Hill’s charges, which Thomas denied.
Prior to Thomas’ eventual Senate confirmation, the committee held tense televised hearings. Thomas charged Biden’s committee with carrying out “a high-tech lynching for uppity Blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, do for themselves, or have different ideas.”In May of this year, Biden refuted a former Senate aide’s claim that he sexually assaulted her in 1993, calling the accusations “not true” and stating that “unequivocally it never, never happened.” Tara Reade, a California woman who worked as a staff assistant in Biden’s Senate office for nearly ten months, made the claim. Reade was one among eight women who came forward in 2019 to allege Biden had hugged, kissed, or caressed them in inappropriate ways, though none accused him of sexual assault. Months later, Reade publicly accused him of the assault.