DRISCOLL: Joe Biden is the undisputed choice for Democrats in 2020

The former Vice President and Senator from Delaware is Democrats’ best hope for retaking the White House and regaining the trust of the American electorate

op-joebiden-courtesywikimediacommons

Altogether, Biden’s personal struggles and tragedies have imbued him with a certain sense of compassion and empathy that is rare amongst today’s politicians.

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) formally declared his candidacy for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination on Feb. 19, becoming the 10th major candidate to enter into the race. And while the Iowa caucuses are still almost year away, now is a good time for Democrats to begin asking themselves what exactly it is that they will need to find in a nominee in order to successfully retake the White House.

The notion that the American electorate will simply choose to not re-elect Trump by virtue of his actions and rhetoric alone is outlandish, to say the least. If nothing else, both the midterms in 2018 and Hillary Clinton’s failed Presidential campaign in 2016 have demonstrated that Democrats will need to a nominee whose message and style appeals to a broad and inclusive segment of the American electorate. Instead of nominating someone who is merely idealistic, Democrats will need to find a candidate capable of regaining the trust of the American electorate and whose message will serve to provide a renewed sense of hope and optimism in contrast to the current political climate.

In short, what Democrats will need the most in whoever they choose to nominate for president is someone like Joe Biden. What Biden lacks for in both youth and diversity he easily makes up in terms of his vast experience, charisma, candor and appeal. The son of working-class Irish-Catholics from Scranton, Pa., Biden’s greatest strength has always been his ability to relate with “middle America,” a segment of the electorate which overwhelmingly favored Trump in 2016 and ultimately cost Clinton the election. 

If Democrats are serious about retaking the White House in 2020, they will need a candidate whose story and resilience is inspiring. Biden, who lost his wife and daughter in a car crash in 1972, six weeks after being elected to the Senate, would go on to have a fruitful career in public service, using this personal tragedy to become an impactful legislator. Likewise, in 2015, Biden lost his son, Beau Biden, to a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. Again, Biden used this personal misfortune to help benefit others, sponsoring several cancer research initiatives as well as providing support to other families, most notably Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Altogether, Biden’s personal struggles and tragedies have imbued him with a certain sense of compassion and empathy that is rare amongst today’s politicians, especially within the already crowded 2020 Democratic field. 

Furthermore, Democrats will need to find a candidate who voters will see as being trustworthy. This single attribute is what derailed Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions more than anything else as the American electorate by in large saw her as being dishonest, manipulative and deceitful. In contrast to this, Biden, who is often lampooned by his opponents as being a “gaffe machine,” is someone who is open and candid almost to a fault. While critics regularly characterize Biden’s demeanor as being a liability, this attribute at times has actually proven itself to be a major asset, garnering him a largely favorable perception amongst the electorate for both his honesty and candor. 

Ultimately, the one quality of Biden’s that especially resonates with the American electorate is his sense of authenticity. In 2018, a Quinnipiac University poll found that Biden had, by a significant margin, the highest favorability rating of any prospective 2020 Democratic candidate. Likewise, this appeal is only further amplified by the fact that in 2017, at the end of his second term as vice president, Biden left public office with an approval rating higher than that of almost any other president or vice president in the past 20 years.

While many other candidates have struggled so far to define where exactly they stand on key issues, Biden — who has been in the public spotlight for well over forty years — is someone whose record speaks for itself. He was instrumental in blocking the appointment of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, advancing the development of public transit and alternative energies, securing the passage of the Violence Against Women Act as well as numerous bipartisan agreements throughout the Obama administration, ending the War in Iraq and served as the longtime chairman of both the Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees. In short, Biden has proven himself throughout his career to be both a bold leader within the Democratic Party as well as someone uniquely situated to govern effectively as a bipartisan and unifying figure.

Altogether, it is for these reasons and more that Biden is, without a doubt, the Democratic Party’s best hope in 2020. Instead of nominating a candidate who will only serve to further exacerbate and exploit existing racial, religious, socio-economic, gender and regional differences, Democrats should strive to find a candidate who is capable of reconciling the divisions which have increasingly plagued our country’s political and social discourse. While it will still be several weeks before Biden formally announces whether he will, in fact, seek the nomination, as a Democrat and American who is dismayed with the direction in which the party and nation itself are headed, all I can say is: “Run, Joe, Run!”

Thomas Driscoll is a Viewpoint Writer for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at opinion@cavalierdaily.com

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