Joe Biden was the most visceral voice of the Government of Barack Obama, a passionate politician who today launched into the race against Donald Trump with a double-edged sword: the legacy of an Administration that many Democrats miss, but others want to park so that the party turn left.
The former vice-president of the United States, 76, has a long political career behind him whose goal was always the presidency, a position he unsuccessfully pursued in 1988 and 2008, which he decided not to present in 2016 and for which now he launches a last hurdle that will confront 19 other Democratic candidates.
“The fundamental values of this nation … our position in the world … our democracy … everything that America has done – America – is at stake, that is why today I announce my candidacy for the United States Presidency. “Biden said on his Twitter account.
His entry into the campaign had the pleasant certainty of being the leader in almost all the polls on the Democratic primaries, but also with the bitter prelude to the denunciations of four women, who accused him of having touched them inappropriately and threatened one of the biggest tricks of Biden: his affable and close image.
The episode did not seem to affect him in the polls, but forced him to promise that from now on he will take into account the “personal space” of the people.
“I’ve always tried to establish a human connection (with people), because I think that’s my responsibility, I hold hands, I hug people, I grab men and women by the shoulders and say, ‘You can get this.'” Biden said in a video this month.
For many Americans, Biden is an atypical politician in the good sense of the word: someone with a genuine interest in people’s problems, who speaks openly and is not afraid to challenge political orthodoxy.
However, its popularity is not absolute, and just as the complaints of the four women can subtract support in a party marked by the #MeToo movement, they can also hurt some positions adopted during his three decades as a senator.
Biden chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, when Anita Hill accused sexual harassment of the then-nominee Supreme Court judge, Clarence Thomas, who was confirmed for the position without the then-Democratic senator allowing the appearance of other witnesses.
With the controversial confirmation of another Supreme Court nominee – Brett Kavanaugh – still fresh, Biden apologized in March for his handling of Hill’s case, and regretted “not having found a way to give him the hearing he deserved” on his committee.
In addition, the former senator has been accused of contributing, through his support for laws against violent crime and drug possession, to the problem of mass incarceration in the United States. and the racial disparities that it entails; and criticized for backing a 1986 measure that opened the door to the sale of weapons by mail and the Internet.
But Biden has also spurred changes that now make his party proud: in 2012, he said he was “absolutely comfortable” with gay marriage, which led Obama to later express his support for those unions and contributed to their legalization in 2015.
And although he voted in favor of the Iraq war, Biden has been unfriendly to interventionism throughout his career. In 2011, already in the White House, he recommended that Obama not intervene in Libya and advocated withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan.
Joseph Robinette Biden was born in 1942 in a humble family – his father was a car salesman – in Scranton (Pennsylvania), in the heart of the industrial belt that in 2016 bet on Trump.
His pull among working-class white voters was what led Obama to elect him as vice president in 2008 and Biden believes it is the same thing that will allow him to convince those who pushed Trump in 2016 to change his vote in 2020.
Biden’s personal history is deeply marked by the car accident in which his wife and daughter died when he was 30 years old and savored his election as senator in 1972.
Biden turned to his other two children and in 1977 he married again with his current wife, Jill, with whom he had another girl.
The tragedy hit Biden again in 2015, when his eldest son, Beau, died at age 46 due to brain cancer.
Before dying, Beau fervently urged him to run for president, but in 2016, Biden decided not to enter the race for the White House and alleged that the mourning would not allow him to be 100%.
“Grief does not respect agendas or calendars,” the former vice president wrote in his book “Promise Me, Dad” in 2017.
Having overcome that trance, Biden has finally decided to follow Beau’s advice and become the standard-bearer of the Obama era of the Democratic race, divided between the nostalgia of the past and the demands of turning