In 2009, Joe Biden played the supporting role in Barack Obama’s Presidential Election victory. He became Vice President after over 35 years as a Democratic Congressman. The 2020 campaign is Biden’s third attempt to gain the Democratic candidacy, having tried and failed in both 1988 and 2008. His experience and knowledge of American politics should make him an ideal candidate to run against President Trump in 2020, so why is it going so wrong?
The answer to this is not a simple one, but it can be traced back to the start of Biden’s campaign. Most political experts in America and further afield knew that Biden was going to run for the Democratic candidacy. However, for one reason or another, the former Vice President is failing to capture the hearts or minds of the American people.
His policies have tended to follow a theme which you would expect of a Democratic candidate. Biden has said he would put an end to family separation at the border as well as lifting the travel ban on some Muslim countries put in place by President Trump. Furth more, Biden pledged for an end to the kind of ‘forever wars’ which the USA have been involved in such as the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
It is the stance on these issues which will put him in the good books of a lot of left voting Americans, yet the unpredictability of how Biden carries out his campaign will ultimately be his downfall when it comes to facing off with other Democrats for the opportunity to go head to head with Donald Trump next year.
Having a track record of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time is common for some politicians, but Biden has made gaffs which go beyond charming or comical. Before starting his last Presidential campaign in 2008, Biden spoke of Barack Obama in the following manner:
“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
He later claimed that the comment was taken out of context, it would be fantastic to know exactly what context Biden wished this comment to be taken in. It was a horrendous statement, but it would not be the last of its kind during Biden’s career.
Biden’s campaign platform is partly based on this idea that he will restore normality to the office of President. He has been compared to Warren Harding in 1920, tasked with attempting to bring the USA back down to earth. The difference being that one needed to deal with the aftermath of the Great War whilst a Joe Biden government, if there was such a thing, would be picking up the pieces from Donald Trump’s tenure. Two very different scenarios which could have damaging impacts on America. The lives of many Americans were irreparably damaged by the Great War, yet the situation Biden has himself in has a President himself being the inflictor of the suffering rather than an enemy on the battlefield.
The attempt to take the moral high ground over Donald Trump should be straightforward, yet Biden has struggled from the off to come across as the respectable candidate the Democrats need. Most recently, Biden put himself in hot water with more racist comments when talking about discrimination amongst low income students in a speech in Iowa last week.
“Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids,” Biden uttered before attempting to correct himself, adding: “Wealthy kids. Black kids. Asian kids.”
Understandably, the Trump administration was quick to take advantage of Biden’s troubling comments.
“This is not a gaffe. This is part of a pattern,” was one email which came out of the White House alongside a Washington Post article which criticised Biden for “stumbling through a discourse about race and education. Joe Biden’s career has been well documented for some time now, but his last big push to finally make it to the White House is falling apart before the eyes of a nation and the world.
Joe Biden has now shown himself to be the incorrect man for the USA on three separate occasions, with the most recent being arguably the most damaging. In this campaign, he has come from still being remembered as the right-hand man to relatively popular Barack Obama. for some democrats this would have been a solid start to any campaign. However, his inability to thrive within the Democratic sphere in a political climate which sees perhaps one of the most right-wing Presidents of modern times is concerning. He will not come out victorious against Trump, because he will not face off with the President. It will be a surprise on a personal note if he makes it anywhere near the final reckoning amongst the Democratic candidates.