Joe Biden 2020 presidential campaign

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Biden for President
Biden Harris logo.svg
Campaign2020 Democratic primaries
2020 U.S. presidential election
Candidate
AffiliationDemocratic Party
Status
  • Announced: April 25, 2019
  • Official launch: April 29, 2019
  • Presumptive nominee: April 8, 2020
  • Official nominee: August 18, 2020
  • Won election: November 7, 2020[1][2]
HeadquartersPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania[3]
Key people
ReceiptsUS$1,064,613,463.22[6] (November 23, 2020)
SloganBattle for the Soul of the Nation[7]
Our Best Days Still Lie Ahead[8]
No Malarkey![9]
Build Back Better[10]
Unite for a Better America[11]
Website
www.joebiden.com
Joe Biden 2013.jpg
This article is part of
a series about
Joe Biden
Incumbent




Vice President of the United States




Published works

Joe Biden's signature

The 2020 presidential campaign of Joe Biden began on April 25, 2019, when Biden released a video announcing his candidacy in the 2020 Democratic party presidential primaries, and concluded with him and his running mate Kamala Harris defeating incumbent president Donald Trump in the general election. Biden, the vice president of the United States from 2009 to 2017 and a former U.S. senator from Delaware, had been the subject of widespread speculation as a potential 2020 candidate after declining to be a candidate in the 2016 election.

Biden is generally described as a moderate, although he has recently described himself as progressive. His positions include codifying Roe v. Wade into statute, a public option for health insurance, decriminalization of recreational cannabis, passing the Equality Act, free community college, and a $1.7 trillion climate plan embracing the framework of the Green New Deal. He supports regulation, as opposed to a complete ban, on fracking.

As a former vice president, Biden entered the race with very high name recognition. From his campaign announcement up to the start of the elections, he was generally regarded as the Democratic front-runner. He led most national polls through 2019, but did not rank as one of the top three candidates in either the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary. At that point, some Democrats wondered if Biden's campaign was headed toward its demise. However, on February 29, 2020, he won a landslide victory in the 2020 South Carolina Democratic primary which reinvigorated his campaign. In March 2020, ten of his former competitors endorsed Biden, bringing the total number of such endorsements to 12. Biden earned enough delegates on Super Tuesday 2020 to pull ahead of Senator Bernie Sanders. On April 8, after Sanders suspended his campaign, Biden became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

In June, Biden reached the required number of delegates to become the nominee. On August 11, Biden announced that Senator Kamala Harris would be his vice presidential running mate. On August 18 and 19, Biden and Harris were officially nominated at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, making Harris the first Asian American and the first female African American to be nominated for vice president on a major party ticket.[12] National opinion polls conducted in 2020 generally showed Biden leading Trump in favorability. On November 7, four days after Election Day, Biden was projected to have defeated Trump, becoming president-elect of the United States.[13] Biden and Harris were sworn in on January 20, 2021.

Background[edit]

Previous presidential campaigns[edit]

Biden's 2020 presidential campaign was his third attempt to seek election for president of the United States.[14] His first campaign was made in the 1988 Democratic Party primaries where he was initially considered one of the potentially strongest candidates. However, newspapers revealed plagiarism by Biden in law school records and in speeches, a scandal which led to his withdrawal from the race in September 1987.[15]

He made the second attempt during the 2008 Democratic Party primaries, where he focused on his plan to achieve political success in the Iraq War through a system of federalization. Like his first presidential bid, Biden failed to garner endorsements and support. He withdrew from the race after his poor performance in the Iowa caucus on January 3, 2008. He was eventually chosen by Barack Obama as his running mate and won the general election as vice president of the United States, being sworn in on January 20, 2009.

Speculation[edit]

Vice President Joe Biden was seen as a potential candidate to succeed Barack Obama in the 2016 presidential election. On October 21, 2015, following the death of his son Beau, Biden announced that he would not seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.[16][17]

During a tour of the U.S. Senate with reporters on December 5, 2016, Biden refused to rule out a potential bid for the presidency in the 2020 presidential election.[18][19] He reasserted his ambivalence about running on an appearance of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on December 7, in which he stated "never say never" about running for president in 2020, while also admitting he did not see a scenario in which he would run for office again.[20][21] He seemingly announced on January 13, 2017, exactly one week prior to the expiration of his vice presidential term, that he would not run.[22] However, four days later, he seemed to backtrack, stating "I'll run if I can walk."[23] In September 2017, Biden's daughter Ashley indicated her belief that he was thinking about running in 2020.[24]

Time for Biden[edit]

Time for Biden.png

Time for Biden, a political action committee, was formed in January 2018, seeking Biden's entry into the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries.[25][26]

The PAC was created by Matthew Graf of Rock Island, Illinois, and Collin West of East Moline, Illinois.[27][25] Although it sought Biden's entry into the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries, it was not affiliated with or sponsored by Biden himself.[28] The founders also stated that if Biden announced, a run of the committee said resources would be merged with the campaign.[26]

The organization was criticized by some, who felt it was created too early and that Democratic effort should be spent on the 2018 midterm elections.[29]

Considering his options[edit]

In February 2018, Biden informed a group of longtime foreign policy aides that he was "keeping his 2020 options open".[30]

In March 2018, Politico reported that Biden's team was considering a number of options to distinguish their campaign, such as announcing at the outset a younger vice presidential candidate from outside of politics,[31] and also reported that Biden had rejected a proposition to commit to serving only one term as president.[31] On July 17, 2018, he told a forum held in Bogota, Colombia, that he would decide if he would formally declare as a candidate by January 2019.[32] On February 4, with no decision having been forthcoming from Biden, Edward-Isaac Dovere of The Atlantic wrote that Biden was "very close to saying yes" but that some close to him are worried he will have a last-minute change of heart, as he did in 2016.[33] Dovere reported that Biden was concerned about the effect another presidential run could have on his family and reputation, as well as fundraising struggles and perceptions about his age and relative centrism compared to other declared and potential candidates.[33] Conversely, his "sense of duty", offense at the Trump presidency, the lack of foreign policy experience among other Democratic hopefuls and his desire to foster "bridge-building progressivism" in the party were said to be factors prompting him to run.[33]

Campaign[edit]

Announcement[edit]

The campaign's original logo, used prior to Harris's selection as running mate.
Biden speaking at the campaign's kickoff event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

On March 12, 2019, he told a gathering of his supporters he may need their energy "in a few weeks".[34] Five days later, Biden accidentally revealed that he would be a candidate at a dinner in Dover, Delaware.[35]

On April 19, 2019, The Atlantic reported that Biden planned to officially announce his campaign five days later via a video announcement, followed by a launch rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or Charlottesville, Virginia.[36] In the days before his expected launch, several major Democratic donors received requests to donate to his campaign committee, to be named "Biden for President".[37] Subsequent reports indicated that Biden's plans remained uncertain, with no known launch date, locations for campaign rallies, or permits for an event in Philadelphia; associates continued to plan a fundraiser on April 25 in Philadelphia hosted by Comcast executive vice president David L. Cohen, but it was unclear whether the fundraiser would be held as planned,[38][39] though his associates had continued to solicit donations in the days leading up to his announcement.[40] On April 23, it was reported that Biden would formally enter the race two days later,[41] so as to avoid overshadowing a forum focusing on women of color held the day before.[42] The campaign reserved the Teamsters Local 249 union hall in Pittsburgh for April 29.[43]

Biden released a video formally announcing his campaign early on April 25, 2019.[44]

Team[edit]

On May 22, the magazine Ebony reported that Biden had begun assembling his 2020 presidential campaign team, to be headquartered in Philadelphia. His team included campaign manager Greg Schultz[45] and director of strategic communications Kamau Mandela Marshall, who both previously worked in the Obama administration,[46][47] as well as other senior advisors from the Obama administration.[48] Additionally, on May 31, the Biden campaign announced that Congressman Cedric Richmond would join the campaign as the national co-chairman.[4]

Key people[edit]

Economic policy[edit]

Fundraising and strategy[edit]

Campaigning in Marshalltown, Iowa

On April 26, 2019, Biden's campaign announced that they had raised $6.3 million in the first 24 hours, surpassing all other candidates' first 24-hour fundraising totals for the Democratic presidential nomination at that time.[52] Biden's fundraising came from 128,000 unique contributors, equivalent to that of Beto O'Rourke's campaign, but about 40% lower than that of Bernie Sanders, who had 223,000 unique contributors in the first 24 hours of his campaign.[53]

According to a Politico article, the Biden campaign was operating on the premise that the Democratic base is not nearly as liberal or youthful as perceived. Privately, several Biden advisers acknowledged that their theory was based on polling data and voting trends, contending that the media is pushing the idea of a hyper-progressive Democratic electorate being propagated by a Twitter bubble and being out of touch with the average rank-and-file Democrat. In April 2019, Biden told reporters, "The fact of the matter is the vast majority of the members of the Democratic Party are still basically liberal to moderate Democrats in the traditional sense." Biden also described himself as an "Obama-Biden Democrat". An unspecified Biden adviser said, "There's a big disconnect between the media narrative and what the primary electorate looks like and thinks, versus the media narrative and the Twitter narrative [and] the Democratic primary universe is far less liberal. It's older than you think it is." From April 25 to May 25, 2019, Biden's campaign spent 83% of his total $1.2 million Facebook ad funding on targeting voters 45 years and older. No other top 2020 Democratic candidate has pursued a similar strategy in the primary.[54]

Biden, along with Bernie Sanders, was often perceived as the candidate with the best chance of defeating Donald Trump in the general election.[55] According to The Washington Post, this may be because of his more moderate policies, or it may be because voters or party leaders believe a white male candidate is more "electable".[56] Joe Biden said that his late son Beau should be running instead of him if he were alive.[57][58][59] Biden led most national polls through 2019.[60][61]

The campaign raised $70 million during the 2020 Democratic National Convention.[62] The campaign and DNC combined raised a record $365 million in August 2020, compared to $154 million by Trump and the RNC.[63] Biden raised another $383 million in September 2020, breaking his own record from the previous month.[64]

Early primary election results[edit]

Biden speaking at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa

During the Iowa caucuses held on February 3, 2020, Biden came in fourth place, earning six pledged delegates.[65] In the New Hampshire primary held on February 11, Biden came in fifth place and did not earn any delegates due to his failure to meet the required 15% eligibility threshold.[66] After poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, some media outlets questioned whether Biden's status as the most electable candidate was accurate.[67]

Biden speaking to voters in Iowa

Biden won the South Carolina primary election held on February 29. Biden won all 46 counties in the state, winning 48.7% of the popular vote and earning 39 delegates.[68] The win was largely attributed to his support from 61% of African-American voters (African-American voters make up approximately 60% of the Democratic electorate in South Carolina).[69] Before the primary on February 26, Jim Clyburn endorsed Biden.[70] Many cited Clyburn's endorsement as a reason for Biden's wide margin of victory, as Clyburn's endorsement is a deciding factor for many African American voters in South Carolina. Thirty-six percent of all primary voters said that they made their decision after Clyburn's endorsement; of that total, 70% voted for Biden.[71][72] According to FiveThirtyEight, the outcome significantly boosted Biden's chance of winning multiple Super Tuesday states (especially southern states like North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia).[73]

On the Super Tuesday primary elections on March 3, Biden won Alabama, Arkansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, earning a total of 458 delegates,[74] and pulling ahead of Bernie Sanders in the race.[75] According to an exit poll, Biden received a substantial amount of support from voters who made up their minds in the last few days before the election. Late voters also preferred a candidate who they believed could defeat Trump more than one who agreed with them on issues.[76]

In early March, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Michael Bloomberg dropped out of the race and endorsed Biden.[77][78][79] Beto O'Rourke, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, who both suspended their campaign months before, also endorsed him.[80] On March 9, CNN reported that Biden had a double-digit lead over Sanders in a nationwide poll.[81] On March 12, with the coronavirus pandemic looming, Biden changed campaign managers, replacing Greg Schultz with Jen O'Malley Dillon.[82] In mid-March, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the scheduled primaries were postponed. Aides to both Biden's and Sanders's campaigns were in contact regarding the pandemic and its effects.[83]

Nomination[edit]

Leading up to the 11th Democratic presidential debate, Biden announced two new progressive policies: making public colleges and universities tuition-free for students of families whose income is less than $125,000, and allowing for student loan debts to default during bankruptcy.[84] The debate was held on March 15, 2020, and was the first to feature only the race's two lead finalists. Biden announced that if he secured the nomination, he would choose a female running mate, having previously hinted as much by naming several contenders.[85][a] On April 3, Biden announced that his campaign would unveil a committee to vet prospective vice presidential candidates later in the month.[86]

On March 15, Jen O'Malley Dillon was announced as the new campaign manager.[87]

On March 25, when asked whether he would debate Sanders again, Biden said, "My focus is just dealing with this crisis right now. I haven't thought about any more debates. I think we've had enough debates. I think we should get on with this."[88] On April 8, after Sanders suspended his campaign, Biden became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. The next day, a former Senate staffer made a sexual assault allegation against Biden, which his campaign denied.[89][90] On May 1, Biden stated that the allegation was false and requested that the secretary of the Senate work with the National Archives and Records Administration to identify and release any relevant documents.[91] The Senate denied this request, saying personnel files are "strictly confidential".[92] Two weeks later, Biden stated that he does not remember his accuser at all.[93]

On April 13, Bernie Sanders endorsed Joe Biden, and the two announced the formation of several task forces to work out shared policy solutions. On May 13, Biden and Sanders announced that the six task forces would be co-chaired by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, former Secretary of State John Kerry, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, NILC director Marielena Hincapié, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, AFA president Sara Nelson, Rep. Karen Bass, civil rights attorney Chiraag Bains, Rep. Bobby Scott, Dr. Heather Gautney, and Rep. Marcia Fudge.[94]

By June 9, Biden had enough delegates to secure his nomination as the Democratic candidate.[95] On July 4, musician and entrepreneur Kanye West announced his campaign for the presidency. The Los Angeles Times wrote that this "might be part of an effort to draw Black supporters away from Biden to help Trump."[96] On July 8, Biden's campaign released a set of policy recommendations adopted by the Unity Task Forces appointed by him and Bernie Sanders. The recommendations focus on climate change, criminal justice, the economy, education, health care, and immigration.[97]

Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris at the first campaign event of the ticket, on August 12, 2020

On August 5, it was reported that Biden would accept the Democratic nomination from his home state of Delaware due to the pandemic.[98] On August 11, he announced that Kamala Harris would be his running mate.[99][a] The next day, the two made their first public appearance together promoting their mutual campaigns.[100] On August 18, the second night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, the party officially nominated Biden,[101] making him the first non-incumbent vice president to be nominated for president since Walter Mondale in 1984.[102][103] Biden accepted the nomination two nights later. Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday called Biden's acceptance speech "enormously effective" and said he "blew a big hole" in Trump's characterization of the candidate as being "mentally shot."[104] During the convention, delegates adopted the party platform, which was drafted by a committee of many of the same people from the unity task forces and based on the recommendations issued by those task forces.[105][106]

Presidential debates[edit]

Since Biden's successful nomination in the Democratic primaries Trump attempted to cast doubt over Biden's abilities, claiming that he was suffering from dementia and that he was taking performance-enhancing drugs in the primaries. Trump called for Biden to be drug tested before the presidential debate; Biden declined. Trump also claimed that Biden would use a hidden electronic earpiece for the debate, demanding that Biden's ears be searched. Again, Biden declined.[107][108]

The first debate took place at Cleveland Clinic on September 29. It was moderated by Chris Wallace. Debate topics included Trump's and Biden's records, the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic, race relations, and the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. Each speaker was to have two minutes to state their positions followed with a period of discussion. The debate quickly devolved into cross talk and interruptions and was widely criticized as being a low point in U.S. presidential politics. Although Wallace pleaded multiple times with Trump to follow the agreed-upon debate rules, Trump frequently interrupted and spoke over Biden and at times with Wallace as well.[109][110] Following the debate Wallace stated that while his own family and the Biden family wore masks as had been required for those in attendance, the Trump family did not and refused the masks offered to them by Cleveland Clinic staffers.[111]

The vice presidential debate between Harris and Pence took place as scheduled on October 7 with Susan Page serving as moderator. The debate was generally seen as civil although there were frequent instances of both candidates interrupting while the other was speaking, with Harris interrupting only about half as often as Pence. Pence also repeatedly spoke beyond his allotted time, ignoring Page's attempts of asking him to mind the two-minute time limits. A CNN poll of registered voters found that 59% felt Harris had won, while 38% felt Pence to be the winner.[112]

The second debate was scheduled to take place on October 15,[113][114] but was cancelled in light of the White House COVID-19 outbreak and Trump's declared intention not to participate in a virtual debate.[115] In response to Trump's refusal to debate Biden scheduled a town hall on ABC for October 15; Trump then scheduled a town hall as well, on the same date and at the same time, to be broadcast on NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC. According to Nielsen ratings, nearly 700,000 more viewers watched Biden's town hall than those who watched Trump's, even though Trump appeared on three outlets.[116][117]

The final debate took place on Thursday, October 22, 2020, from 9:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. EDT, at the Curb Event Center in Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, with Kristen Welker of NBC moderating.[118] While it was originally planned to be the third debate, it was the second due to the cancellation of the October 15th debate. The topics covered included: fighting the current COVID-19 pandemic, American families, racial issues, climate change, national security, and leadership. The debate rules were similar to the first, but due to President Trump's repeated interruptions in the prior debate, each candidates microphones would be muted when it was not their turn to talk. This debate was considered to be drastically less hostile and much more informative, but both candidates still made several false or misleading claims.[119][120] A post-debate CNN/SSRS poll found that 53% of debate-viewers thought that Biden had won and 39% thought Trump had won, with a margin of error of 5.7 points.[121]

Final month[edit]

On October 6, Biden made a campaign speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, called "the best of his campaign" by CNN's John Avlon.[122]

On October 15, both Biden and Trump held separate town hall speeches, replacing the cancelled second debate.[123]

On October 22, Biden and Trump participated in a second and final debate in Nashville, Tennessee. In contrast to the first debate, the microphones of both candidates were muted at select times.[124] Trump pressed Biden on renewed allegations that during his time as vice president, members of his family had personally profited from his position in Ukraine and China; Biden denied any misconduct and pointed out controversies involving Trump and those countries.[125] Trump repeatedly asked why Biden had not delivered on his 2020 campaign promises during his eight years in the White House, to which Biden responded, "we had a Republican Congress."[126]

Texas bus incident[edit]

On October 31, 2020 a Joe Biden campaign bus was harassed by several drivers while traveling from San Antonio to Austin, Texas along Interstate 35. The bus, which carried former State Senator Wendy Davis and several campaign staffers, was followed along the interstate by several cars, including many flying Donald Trump flags.[127][128] After the incident, the Biden campaign cancelled two planned events in Austin, Texas.[129][130]

On November 1, 2020, it was announced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation would launch an investigation into the incident.[128][131][132][133] Trump subsequently criticized the FBI's decision at a rally. He later tweeted, "In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong. Instead, the FBI & Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat run cities and hurting our people!"[134][135]

Election Day and beyond[edit]

People celebrate in the streets near the White House after the major networks project Biden the winner of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

On November 6, election-calling organization Decision Desk HQ forecast that Biden had won the election, once it forecast that Biden had won Pennsylvania, as this result coupled with Biden's other projected state wins would grant him over 270 electoral college votes.[136][137]

By November 7, news organizations ABC News, Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, NBC News, Reuters, and the New York Times all forecast that Biden had won the election.[138]

As of December 27, Joe Biden has received 81,283,098 votes to Donald Trump's 74,222,958 votes, or 51.3% to 46.8%. In addition, Biden has won 306 electoral college votes to Trump's 232,[139] exactly the same margins as the 2016 election, which Donald Trump had repeatedly called a "landslide victory".[140] Biden has broken the record for most votes cast during an election in the history of the United States, while Trump has received the most votes ever for a sitting president.[141]

On December 9, every state had certified their election results, with West Virginia being the last state to do so.[142] On Monday December 14, the Electoral College voted to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris President and Vice President-Elect, affirming what was projected to happen on November 6 and 7.[143] After a chaotic attack on the Capitol, lawmakers met on January 6 and counted the electoral votes submitted by the states, finally ensuring that Joe Biden will take office on January 20.[144][145]

During and after the election, Donald Trump and his allies have repeatedly claimed that there was significant fraud in this election, often with little or no evidence.[146] Because of this, the President and his lawyers have called for swing state officials to overturn the results, frequently drawing criticism for their inflammatory and violent remarks.[147][148] He has filed more than 50 lawsuits challenging the results in several different swing states, but almost all have been lost.[149] Notably, a major lawsuit challenging the vote in 6 different swing states was unanimously rejected by the conservative majority Supreme Court.[150] In a last ditch attempt at overturning the election, several Republican members of the House and Senate objected to the January 6 certification of the Electoral College, but after a long night of deliberation, Mike Pence certified the results for Joe Biden, much to the ire of Donald Trump.[151][152] That same day, a violent group of Trump supporters broke into the United States Capitol while Congress was counting the votes in an attempt to halt or slow the proceedings. They were not successful in stopping the count, though they did manage to delay the certification by a few hours.[153]

Polling[edit]

Opinion polls conducted in 2020 generally showed Biden leading Trump nationally in general election matchups, with the former vice president's advantage often extending beyond that of the survey's margin of sampling error.[154][155][156]

On July 4, Politico reported that Biden was leading Trump "by double digits in recent polls".[157] In late July, a Washington Post–ABC News poll showed Biden's double-digit lead holding.[158] A national poll conducted in early August showed Biden leading by three percent.[159] An Iowa poll showed Trump leading Biden by 48% to 45%, which is six percentage points less than Trump won the state with in 2016.[160]

Three national polls released August 13–17 show Biden polling ahead of Trump: Fox News has him leading Trump 49%–42%,[161] NBC/Wall Street Journal has him leading 50%–41%,[162] and Washington Post/ABC News has him 53%–41%.[163] A Pew Research Center showed similar results, but found that a majority of participants believed that Trump would win.[164] A Washington Post/ABC News poll taken in late September showed Biden and Harris's lead to be 53%–43%.[165]

A NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted September 30 – October 1 (after the presidential debate, but before Trump's announcement of his COVID-19 diagnosis) has Biden leading 53%–39%.[166][167] On October 7, a CNN poll showed Biden leading 57%–41%,[168] and a week later, Opinium Research/The Guardian showed him leading 57%–40%.[169] As of October 13, Biden consistently led in poll averages by several or more points for over 100 days, as compared to the last four presidential elections.[169] Biden led 54%–42% in a CNN poll of October 28; its polling director pointed out that:

Although the election will ultimately be decided by the statewide results, which drive the Electoral College, Biden's lead nationally is wider than any presidential candidate has held in more than two decades in the final days of the campaign.[170]

Odds of winning[edit]

In late September, FiveThirtyEight put Biden's odds of winning at nearly 77% and specifically predicted that he would win 352 electoral votes.[171] His popularity rose in early October and, by October 13, FiveThirtyEight had increased its odds of Biden winning the election to 87%. This calculation remained the same through October 26, when it began to rise again, reaching 90% on October 30.[172]

Endorsements[edit]

As tracked by FiveThirtyEight, Biden received the most support from prominent members of the Democratic Party out of all Democratic candidates in the 2020 presidential election.[173] Biden received endorsements from 12 former candidates in the 2020 race, including Bernie Sanders,[174] Pete Buttigieg, Michael Bloomberg, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Beto O'Rourke, Andrew Yang, and others.[175] On April 14, 2020, after Biden was the only remaining major candidate for the Democratic nomination, former president Barack Obama endorsed him.[176] On April 27, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi endorsed him.[177] On April 28, former 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton endorsed him.[178]

Biden increasingly attracted Republican support away from their party's incumbent leader, Donald Trump. On August 17, an ad from Republican Voters Against Trump aired featuring Miles Taylor, former chief of staff to former homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Taylor concludes in the ad, "Given what I experienced in the [Trump] administration, I have to support Joe Biden for president."[179] In late August, a movement called Republicans for Biden was launched with sponsorship by 25 former Republican congresspeople,[180] and Politico reported that "Several dozen former staffers from Sen. Mitt Romney's (R-Utah) presidential campaign, the George W. Bush administration and the campaign and Senate staff of former Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) have signed on to an effort to elect Joe Biden."[181] By early September, over 175 current and former law enforcement officials had endorsed Biden.[182]

In September 2020, Scientific American announced its endorsement of Biden for president. This was the first time the magazine had endorsed a presidential candidate in the almost 200 years that it has been in print. The magazine's endorsement read:

The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment. These and other proposals he has put forth can set the country back on course for a safer, more prosperous and more equitable future.[183]

In October, the New England Journal of Medicine, the oldest and considered to be the world's most prestigious medical journal, published an editorial which condemned the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic saying that "they have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy." This is the first time in the journal's history that they have supported or condemned a political candidate.[184] A week later, the science journal Nature also endorsed Biden.[185]

In October, 780 retired generals, admirals, senior noncommissioned officers, ambassadors and senior national security officials signed a letter endorsing Biden.[186]

On October 25, the conservative-leaning New Hampshire Union Leader endorsed Biden, the first Democratic presidential candidate the paper had endorsed in over 100 years.[187]

Political positions[edit]

Although generally referred to as a moderate, Biden has declared himself as the candidate with the most progressive record.[188]

Abortion[edit]

On May 21, 2019, a Biden campaign aide told the Associated Press that Biden would support immediate federal legislation codifying Roe v. Wade into statute.[189] On June 5, 2019, the Biden campaign confirmed to NBC News that Biden still supports the Hyde Amendment, something no other Democratic presidential candidate came out in support of. Biden's campaign also told NBC News that Biden would be open to repealing the Hyde Amendment if abortion access protections currently under Roe v. Wade were threatened.[190] On June 6, 2019, Biden, at the Democratic National Committee's African American Leadership Council Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, said he now supports repealing the Hyde Amendment, crediting his change in position, in part, to recent efforts by Republicans passing anti-abortion state laws, which he called "extreme laws". Also at the summit, he focused on economic inequality for African Americans, education access, criminal justice reform, healthcare, and voter suppression in the south.[191][192]

Cannabis[edit]

Biden supports the decriminalization, but not legalization, of recreational cannabis usage. Biden said he believes no one should be in jail because of cannabis use. As president, he would decriminalize cannabis use and automatically expunge prior convictions.[193][194][195] He supports the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes, leaving decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states, and recategorizing cannabis as a Schedule II drug so researchers can study its impacts. Every other Democratic presidential candidate supported the full federal legalization of cannabis, with the exception of Michael Bloomberg, Steve Bullock and Joe Sestak.[196][197]

Capital punishment[edit]

On June 20, 2019, following the first federal death sentence since 2003, Biden came out against capital punishment, supporting the repeal of both federal- and state-level death sentence statutes. He argued that with the death penalty, there is a risk of executing a wrongfully convicted person. Biden had previously supported capital punishment.[198][199]

Education[edit]

In 2018, Biden said he supported a universal pre-kindergarten program.[200] He unveiled a higher education plan in October 2019, which includes two years of guaranteed free community college or other training, and cuts to student loan obligations. Unlike some of his rivals, he initially did not support four years of free college tuition,[201] but later reversed this for students of families whose income is less than $125,000, as well as allowing student loan debts to default during bankruptcy.[84]

Although the Obama administration promoted charter schools, Biden criticized some charter schools for funneling money away from public schools in a May 2019 speech, and said that he opposes federal funds for-profit charter schools.[202]

Environment[edit]

On June 4, 2019, the Biden campaign released a $1.7 trillion climate plan that embraced the framework of the Green New Deal.[203] The plan called for the US to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier, and help coal workers to transition into jobs created from a clean-energy economy. Biden supports the development of carbon capture and storage and small modular reactors to reduce emissions.[204] On September 4, 2019, during a CNN climate change town hall, Biden said he does not support banning fracking for natural gas, distancing himself from some of his Democratic presidential rivals, but said he would ban new fracking permits and evaluate existing ones to determine their safety.[205]

Health[edit]

On July 16, 2019, Biden called for additional funding to construct rural hospitals, increase telehealth services in rural communities, and provide incentives for doctors to practice in rural areas, also known as medical deserts in the United States.[206]

On April 29, 2019, Biden came out in favor of a public option for health insurance and outlawing non-compete clauses for low-wage workers.[207]

Immigration[edit]

On July 5, 2019, Biden told CNN he did not support decriminalizing illegal entry into the United States, a position that puts him at odds with many of his 2020 Democratic rivals.[208] He released a plan to reform the immigration system in December 2019, which includes a reversal of the Trump administration's deportation policies, a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and expansions in work visas and refugee admissions.[209]

Infrastructure[edit]

Biden released his infrastructure plan on November 14, 2019, calling for investments of $1.3 trillion on infrastructure overhaul. The plan involves investments in the restoration of roads, bridges and highways, encouraging greater adoption of rail transport and electric vehicles. It also includes water pipe replacements, increases in broadband coverage, and updates to schools.[210]

LGBTQ issues[edit]

On June 1, 2019, Biden gave a keynote address to hundreds of activists and donors at the Human Rights Campaign's annual Ohio gala. He declared his top legislative priority was passing the Equality Act. He attacked Donald Trump for banning transgender troops in the U.S. military, allowing individuals in the medical field to deny treating LGBTQ individuals, and allowing homeless shelters to deny transgender occupants.[211]

Race relations[edit]

While at a fundraiser on June 18, 2019, Biden said one of his greatest strengths was "bringing people together" and pointed to his relationships with senators James Eastland and Herman Talmadge, two segregationists, as examples. While imitating a Southern drawl, Biden remarked "I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland. He never called me 'boy,' he always called me 'son.'"[212][213] Biden's Democratic opponents criticized the remarks, specifically the use of the word "boy".[213] In response, Biden said that he was not meaning to use the term "boy" in its derogatory racial context.[214]

During the first Democratic presidential debate, Kamala Harris criticized Biden for his comments regarding his past work with segregationist senators and his past opposition to desegregation busing, which had allowed black children like her to attend integrated schools.[215] Biden was widely criticized for his debate performance and support for him dropped 10 points.[216][217][218] President Trump defended Biden, saying Harris was given "too much credit" for her debate with Biden.[219]

In May 2020, during an interview on The Breakfast Club radio show that CBS News described as "contentious", Biden remarked "If you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black".[220][221][222][223] He later apologized for his remarks.[224]

Welfare[edit]

On June 17, 2019, Biden appeared at the "Poor People's Campaign Presidential Forum" in Washington, D.C., to discuss proposals for the funding of poverty alleviation programs. At a fundraiser in New York the next day, While on the topic of raising wealthy donor's taxes to get his legislative goals passed, he reassured wealthy donors that he would not "demonize" the rich and said, "no one's standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change."[225]

Trump–Ukraine scandal[edit]

In 2019, Trump allegedly attempted to coerce Ukraine and other foreign countries to investigate Joe Biden's son Hunter. Trump enlisted surrogates within and outside his official administration, including his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr, to pressure Ukraine and other foreign governments to cooperate in supporting conspiracy theories concerning American politics.[226][227][228] Trump blocked but later released payment of a congressionally mandated $391 million military aid package to allegedly obtain quid pro quo cooperation from Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine. A number of contacts were established between the White House and the government of Ukraine, culminating in a phone call between Trump and Zelensky on July 25, 2019.[226][229]

The scandal resulted in Trump's impeachment on charges of abusing the power of his office and obstructing Congress,[230] and his ultimate acquittal by the Senate.[231] To date, there has been no evidence produced of any wrongdoing by the Bidens.[232]

In October 2019, CNN refused to run an ad for the Donald Trump 2020 presidential campaign, saying it includes false claims against Biden.[233] Fox News refused to stop airing a Trump campaign ad that allegedly lies about Biden after his campaign asked them to stop running the ad.[234]

On October 14, 2020, the New York Post ran a story showing a screenshot of an alleged email from a top adviser to Ukrainian energy company Burisma to Biden's son Hunter, thanking him for the supposed opportunity to meet his father. The article alleges that this supports claims that Biden used his political power to benefit his son Hunter in business dealings with Ukraine.[235] The Post's source was Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who says he got the data from the hard drive of a laptop allegedly dropped off at a repair shop in April 2019.[235] The shop owner, John MacIsaac, said he initially turned the laptop over to the FBI and later shared a copy of the data with Giuliani. CBS reported that they held a lengthy interview with MacIsaac in which he frequently contradicted himself, "raising questions about [his] truthfulness."[236][237] Social media platforms swiftly responded by controlling how the article could be shared—Facebook by including a fact-checking statement and Twitter by preventing links to the story on the basis of its containing hacked material. Republican politicians accused these platforms of censorship, renewing calls for reform of Section 230. Trump suggested that disclosures in the emails should disqualify Biden from the presidency. Biden's campaign and those associated with him portrayed the article's allegations as false, saying that no such meeting ever happened.[235][238] Former U.S. intelligence officials warned the White House last year that Giuliani could be the target of a Russian intelligence operation.[239]

References[edit]

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b Previously nominated women vice-presidential candidates were Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Sarah Palin in 2008.[85]

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External links[edit]