2020 Election: Could Joe Biden Successfully Challenge Trump For Presidency?

Niriti Pahadi, Staff Writer

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Donald Trump is one of the most controversial presidents in United States history.  His policy goals have created a deep rift amongst the American citizens, and our political arena has become an extremely polarized stage used to attack members of the opposite party. This rift is sure to become even wider as the 2020 election season approaches.

Every four years, both the Democratic and Republican parties hold a National Party Convention where they narrow all the potential candidates down to a single candidate that will rival the nominee of the other party during the general elections. Even before the 2020 primaries are held, it is safe to conclude that the Republican nomination belongs to Trump, who will be campaigning for his second term. So, the more important questions are: What will it take to secure the Democratic nomination? And why is this candidate so important?

Jennifer Hall, an AP Government teacher at Paint Branch High School might have some answers, “[the candidate] has to have a positive campaign that runs on the heart issues of everyday Americans. They can’t just run against Trump as an Anti- Trump candidate.”

According to Mrs. Hall, the democrats need a nominee who resonates with the public and will serve as a  beacon of hope to Americans. The candidate has to be someone who can challenge the status quo set up by the Trump Administration.

For the democrats (and the American citizens who do not support  Trump), selecting a capable nominee to run against him means a potential shot at snatching away the Trump administration’s control over the White House, and a Democratic majority in Washington. So undoubtedly, the candidates that do decide to seek  the nomination at the Democratic National Convention will be thoroughly scrutinized by both the American populace and the media.

Right now that gaze lingers over one person:  former Vice-President Joe Biden.

Much can be said about Biden as a hypothetical candidate. He was a US senator from Delaware for six terms, a former state attorney general, the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian award of the United States- and, of course, the 47th vice president of United States. Biden has built an impressive resume for himself which could make any American think that he is hands down the best candidate to run against Trump.

According to an early poll conducted by CNN regarding who they would support for the Democratic nomination, Biden received the support of 33% of Americans, which is more than the support received by the other top three candidates:  Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, California Senator Kamala Harris, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren combined. An article written in The Atlantic quoted a woman saying, “I am 89 years old and we need [Joe Biden]. If [he] promise[s] to run, I’ll promise to stay alive long enough to vote for [him].” The staggering amount of support that Biden has before he has even announced his candidacy is truly astonishing.

But, before we move too quickly to the Biden ticket, let’s take a step back and remember Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party candidate during the 2016 election.

Clinton, just like Biden had loads of political experience, had been a fixture in the political arena far longer than Trump had been, and had all of the credentials necessary to be considered a legitimate president, so why wasn’t she elected? According to Mrs. Hall, it is because the Americans wanted someone new, someone who wasn’t a politician.

Politician. The Webster Dictionary defines it as a noun characterizing, “a person experienced in the art or science of government specially one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government.” However, it seems that in today’s political climate when an American thinks about this word, what flashes in their mind is not someone who conducts business on behalf of the nation, but someone who is nothing more than a liar or a cheater.

So maybe being well known and familiar in the political arena isn’t necessarily always a good thing. The longer the candidates have been involved in politics, the longer their actions have been monitored by the media and more of their mistakes and blunders have been brought to the public’s eye. Issues such as the FBI investigation into her email and the Benghazi attack fallout that dogged Clinton during the 2016 election also smeared her image too much for her to survive another run. Of course, while Biden was a popular vice-president, it would not be a surprise in today’s climate to find material that painted his service in a negative light. On the immediate surface for Biden are examples of some  failed campaigns, and his name being attached to controversial issues such as the Anita Hill Hearings of 1991.

He ran for presidency and failed both in 1998 and 2008. In fact,  in the 2008 primaries, he only placed 5th in the Iowa caucuses, a pretty low standing point for any serious candidate. People might overlook his unsuccessful presidential bids and focus on his work as vice-president, but a closer look at the  Anita Hill hearings, which Biden chaired, reveal a strikingly familiar tone to the way the Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh hearings were conducted.

Both times, a member of the judiciary committee was accused of sexual misconduct, and both times, the accused preparatory was judged by the judicial court of being innocent. Both times, the Americans received this news with an uproar, groups of people organizing outside the Supreme Court to protest this decision. In the hearts of many Americans, the wounds inflicted by the Kavanaugh hearing are still fresh. How would they react to having the man who handed the Anita Hill Hearings in the 1991 so harshly as a potential future president?

However, as Mrs. Hall sees it,  many Americans don’t regularly follow politics, and as such they don’t know about this information about Biden’s past; they only remember him as the vice president of the first African American President of United States.

If people stick to that version of Joe Biden and not look at much, if any, of his past work outside of that office, he could do well. In fact, Mrs. Hall predicts, “Those people who voted for Obama could flock to Biden’s side.”

As for  who the Americans would vote for if it comes down to Trump or Biden, Ms. Hall says, “well I assume that if it comes down to that, many Americans would probably vote for Biden.”  

So putting aside some facts that could tarnish Biden’s, it seems as if he’s got it all. However, on a parting note, Mrs. Hall forecasts that although Biden is possibly the Democratic party’s best shot, if he takes on Trump in the 2020 elections, he is probably still not going to win. The reason for this, she says, is because Biden will be up against an incumbent, a political persona who already holds a governmental office. Incumbents have a record of winning reelections, and Trump will probably uphold this record as well which would secure him another four years in the White House.

“At this point, I don’t think there is anything that [Trump] could do to make people turn against him because of all the things that have already occured, and none of them seemed to mind.” says Mrs. Hall. “Evangelical leaders support him even though he sleeps with a porn star, he supports Russia, and that doesn’t seem to be a problem. People that support him are going to support him regardless.”

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2020 Election: Could Joe Biden Successfully Challenge Trump For Presidency?