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Posted at: Apr 26, 2019, 8:15 AM; last updated: Apr 26, 2019, 8:15 AM (IST)

Biden launches bid for 2020 presidency

Biden launches bid for 2020 presidency
A file photo of Former US Vice-President Joe Biden after a rally in Dorchester, Massachusetts. AFP

Washington, April 25

Former Vice-President Joe Biden formally joined the crowded Democratic presidential contest on Thursday, betting that his working-class appeal and ties to Barack Obama’s presidency will help him overcome questions about his place in today’s increasingly liberal Democratic Party.

He made his announcement in a video posted on Twitter.  Thursday’s announcement marks the unofficial end of the chaotic early phase of the 2020 presidential season. The field now features at least 20 Democrats jockeying for the chance to take on President Donald Trump next year. Several lesser-known candidates may still join the race. Biden, a 76-year-old lifelong politician, becomes an instant front-runner alongside Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is leading many polls and has proved to be a successful fundraiser. Among Democrats, Biden has unmatched international and legislative experience, and he is among the best-known faces in US politics.

But the anti-establishment wave that swept Trump into office has not been kind to either party’s statesmen. Biden’s team worries about his fundraising ability and his tendency to commit gaffes. His centrist approach in a party moving left on major policy debates raises questions about his appeal.

Four years Trump’s senior, Biden will be the oldest person ever elected president should he win. Yet his allies believe the skeptics will ultimately warm to his strong connections to the Obama years.

Biden has said he would campaign as an “Obama-Biden Democrat,” who is as pragmatic as he is progressive. He’s aiming to be a conduit between working-class white voters and the younger, more diverse voters who backed Obama in historic numbers. The Republican Party wasted no time seeking to undercut Biden’s record, releasing a video on Wednesday questioning economic growth under Obama and Biden while resurrecting conservative arguments against Obama’s health are law and a failed investment in green energy company Solyndra. The video ends with the words, “Joe Biden: Backwards, not forwards.” Yet privately, Trump allies have warned that Biden might be the biggest re-election threat given the former vice-president’s potential appeal among the white working class in the Midwest, the region that gave Trump a path to the presidency. The Republican video notably does not argue a Biden candidacy would lead to socialism, as Trump and his backers have said would happen with many in the large 2020 Democratic presidential field.

Biden is paying special attention to Pennsylvania, a state that swung to Trump in 2016 after voting for Democratic presidential candidates for decades. The former Vice-President will be in the state three times within the opening weeks of his campaign. He’ll be in Philadelphia on Thursday evening headlining a fundraiser at the home of David L. Cohen, executive senior vice president of Comcast. — AP 

Former Vice-Prez

  • In 1972, Biden was elected to the US Senate at the age of 29, and took office a few weeks later when he turned 30 
  • Biden first ran for the presidency in the 1988 election, but he withdrew after admitting that he had plagiarised a speech by Neil Kinnock, the leader of the Labour Party in the UK at the time 
  • After that attempt, Biden spent time rising through the Senate ranks
  • Eventually becoming chairman of the judiciary and foreign relations committees
  • In 2008 he ran for president again, but failed to gain the political traction he needed and dropped out again. He then  joined Obama and became a candidate for Vice-President

Strengths

Biden, a 76-year-old lifelong politician, becomes an instant front-runner alongside Vermont Sen, Bernie Sanders, who is leading many polls,has proved to be a successful fundraiser. Among Democrats, Biden has unmatched international and legislative experience, and he is among the best-known faces in US politics

Weaknesses

Biden’s team worries about his fundraising ability and his tendency to commit gaffes. His centrist approach in a party moving left on major policy debates raises questions about his appeal

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