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Hello, Mr President: Joe Biden

Personal Background:

via Joe Biden’s Campaign; A Biden campaign poster

Joe Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania on November 20th, 1942. Biden was born to Catherine Biden, and Joe Biden Sr, an oil salesman and later, a used car salesman. Biden grew up in the middle class for most of his early life, double majoring in history and political science at the University of Delaware, and earning his BA. Biden continued on into law school at the Syracuse University College of Law. After clerking for a Wilmington Law firm, Biden opened his own firm, Biden and Walsh. His need to supplement poor lawyer pay came in the form of property management.

Thus, Biden entered the political field in 1969 as a democrat for the New Castle County Council. In 1972, Biden ran for the US Senate in Delaware. Although projected to majorly lose, Biden pulled off an astonishing win, kickstarting his career as a prominent political figure, holding the senate all the way up to 2009.

At the same time, his wife and daughter were killed in a severe accident. Biden tried running for president in 1988, but failed after having poor campaign organization, and tried again in 2008, fumbling yet again as he made off-handed comments about Obama. However, Biden was appointed Vice President in 2009, serving under President Obama for the remainder of his two terms. Biden announced his 2020 bid for the presidency on April 5th, 2019. He will not be taking any money from Super PACs during his campaign.

Time in Senate:

Biden Primarily Sponsored Bills in These Areas:

  • Government Operations and Politics (19%)
  • Crime and Law Enforcement (18%)
  • International Affairs (17%)
  • Armed Forces and National Security (11%)
  • Economics and Public Finance (10%)
  • Civil Rights and Liberties, Minority Issues (9%)
  • Science, Technology, Communications (8%)
  • Health (8%)

Accomplishments/Main Events as Senator

  • Violence Against Women Ban
  • Assault Weapon Bans and Brady Bill
  • Votes for Iraq War (later admits regret)

Accomplishments as Vice President

  • Played a major role in the passing of the Affordable Care Act
  • Pulling out of the great recession
  • DACA
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom
via Govtrack; Joe Biden ideology score

Biden is basically right in the middle of the democratic party, with his views as left, but not far left as other members of his party. This is likely because he has taken a fair stance on most issues throughout his time in the Senate. He has consistently voted with his party, and has remained on the left for many issues, without approaching extremist territory. His fair democratic stance on issues like healthcare, the economy, and the middle class are likely all reasons why he falls in the middle of the democratic pack.

A good way to show Biden’s fair central position is by using the issue of Free Education. Biden is not as radical as Sen. Sanders or Sen. Warren, who support four years of free public college, but is not as moderate Sen. Klobuchar, who does not support free college at all. Instead, Biden has proposed that only community college should be tuition free, taking middle ground on the issue of free education.

Main Goals and Platforms:

The main issue that has remained consistent in Biden’s campaign is his concern for the middle class. Biden has been a firm supporter in raising the minimum wage and creating a “pro-growth” tax code. This is the part of Biden’s platform that has remained constant since his first bid for the senate, and continues to make a presence in the 2020 elections. Biden has also remained actively supportive of healthcare, choosing to take the route of the “public” option, where everyone has the ability to buy into medicare. This again reaffirms Biden’s more middle ground democratic stance when it comes to the health care issue, choosing to stray from single pay.

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Where Biden has become surprisingly radical would be around the issue of Climate Change. After being repeatedly bashed for his “middle of the road” approach, Biden released the “Clean Energy Revolution” Bill, which, going against all his other ideologies, would raise tax, damage jobs, and would be almost useless to the climate because it would hit net emissions by 2050 (most climate experts call for net emissions by 2030). His current bill has been ranked second to last amongst candidates, with a score of D- from Greenpeace.

Biden has held a more fluctuating position on his views of gun control, where he voted for and supported the Brady Bill, his own Assault Weapons Bans bill, and was adamant on helping Sandy Hook survivors. But, on the flip side, also voted for the Firearms Owners Protection Acts which allowed firearms to be sold directly through dealers (1983).

In terms of immigration, Biden championed DACA under Obama and has been vocal in calling out Trump for his anti-immigration stance. Biden has also fluctuated on other issues, but is currently supportive of abortion, women’s rights, and interactive foreign policy.

Criticisms

via The Cut; Flores and Biden together in 2014 right before the inappropriate events during the speech they gave

Biden has constantly been accused of harassing women. Several women have spoken out against the former Senator and Vice President, accusing him of violating a basic code of conduct. Biden has violated women by touching them inappropriately, kissing them, wrapping his arms around their waists, and whispering strange things to many of them. This inappropriate behavior has been largely brushed over by the media, but recent allegations coming from women such as Lucy Flores have sent the media pouring over the years of previously ignored misconduct.

Biden has loosely addressed these allegations, trying to downplay the overall situation. He’s joked about harassing women, calling it a part of his “campaigning style”. During his campaign trail, whenever he’s touched anyone, Biden has constantly remarked that he “has permission”. This hurts Biden’s popularity amongst Democratic women, most notably those who have been previously harassed, assaulted, or raped.

As seen in “Main Platforms & Goals”, Biden’s profile has fluctuated constantly throughout the years. His decades of experience in the Democratic field might come back to haunt him. Apart from his fluctuation on Gun Control, Biden notably voted against gay rights, voted for the Iraq War, and has created several other quick changes throughout the years. None of this looks good on his record in a newer, more progressive society, where the field is becoming crowded with newer, more radical, or more inclusive candidates.

Although Biden has shifted himself with his party, there’s no doubt that some of his choices in earlier years may come back to bite. In fact, Biden’s pro-Iraq War stance has already caught the attention of many people. In a recent Politico poll, 40% of young voters (18-29) said they would likely not support Biden due to this issue alone. Sen. Sanders has also used this issue to boost his own popularity. Biden’s fluctuation with his party is not a bad thing, but in a different, newer field, it causes voters to question his dedication to his ideals.

via Syracuse University College of Law; Biden’s law school

Another notable criticism would be Joe Biden’s academic record, which surfaced during the 1998 elections. Biden lied about being in the “top half of his graduating law school class”, when in truth, he is in the bottom ten, graduating 76th out of 85th. Biden also admitted to plagiarizing a law review journal paper during his time in the school. But the plagiarism didn’t stop there. In 1998, Biden “mimicked entire portions” of Neil Kinnock’s (ran against M. Thatcher in the UK) speech in his own speeches on the campaign trail. This obvious use of plagiarism forced Biden to drop early from the race, and mirrored the dishonesty he’d displayed from earlier.

via CBS; Iowa poll results

Popularity & Electability: 

Biden has remained the most popular of all Democratic candidates. In CBS’s most recent poll, Biden is leading the Iowa primary at 30%, with Sanders trailing behind at 22%. In New Hampshire, Biden has an even bigger lead, standing at 33%, with Sanders trailing at 20%. Biden fares better with older voters and African American voters. He has been projected to remain a frontrunner for the majority of the Democratic race, and a recent poll shows Biden winning over Trump and Sanders in Florida, where Biden has amassed 50% of the votes, compared to Trump’s 41%. Biden has constantly been on top, with most voters trusting that his experience in the field will allow him to handle Trump the best.

Despite all accusations, Biden is definitely the current frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic Field, and has a strong chance of clenching the title of “46th US President”.

Photo: Joe Biden 

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Joanna Hou
Written By

Joanna Hou is a 15 year old high school student based in San Diego, California. She is passionate about current events, law, and politics. She is an avid writer, journalist, and musician (euphonium and flute). In her spare time, she enjoys reading and boba. Instagram: joannah_11

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