How Joe Biden’s candidacy will be different from his runs in 1988 and 2008 – Washington Examiner
After months of speculation, former Vice President Joe Biden has finally entered the 2020 presidential race.
In a campaign announcement video he released Thursday morning, Biden said, “The core values of this nation, our standing in the world, our very democracy, everything that has made America — America — is at stake. That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.”
This is Biden’s third presidential run. So, how will his candidacy differ this time from his runs in 1988 and 2008?
When Biden announced he was running for president the first time in June 1987, he was only 44 years old and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was widely regarded as one of the strongest candidates in the race. But Biden’s campaign started to go off the rails when he was accused of plagiarizing the speech of British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock.
On Sept. 12, 1987, Biden was reported saying in a speech, “I started thinking as I was coming over here, why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university?”
Kinnock delivered an address earlier that year in May when he said, “Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university?”
Shortly thereafter, the media caught wind of Biden’s plagiarism incident when he was a student at Syracuse University College of Law. It was later discovered that he exaggerated his academic record. He withdrew from the campaign on Sept. 23, 1987.
Biden sought the Democratic nomination again in 2008 seeking to dethrone the front-runner at the time, Hillary Clinton.
Biden announced his candidacy in January 2007, and concentrated heavily on attacking Republicans for the war in Iraq. But in 2003, Biden had voted in favor of the authorization of the use of military force in Iraq, but later said the war was a mistake.
Throughout his run, Biden was plagued by his own cultural insensitivities and that he didn’t know when to shut his mouth.
Speaking to a reporter from the New York Observer, Biden said of Barack Obama, his colleague in the Senate and opponent in the 2008 Democratic primary, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
He was criticized later for comments he made on-camera in 2006 about Indian Americans, saying, “I’ve had a great relationship. In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian Americans moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.”
While Biden withdrew from the 2008 race after placing fifth in the Iowa caucuses, Barack Obama picked him as his running mate.
For the 2020 election cycle, Biden faces entirely new hurdles.
As the Democratic Party moves further to the left to embrace socialist ideas such as “Medicare for all” and the “Green New Deal,” Biden is seen as almost too moderate for the Democratic field.
During the #MeToo era, Biden has faced criticism for his handling of Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegation against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. And in early 2019, Biden himself was accused by several women of unwanted physical contact.
And with respect to race relations, Biden has come under scrutiny for writing and supporting the 1994 crime bill, which many argue disproportionately harmed black communities. In the mid-1970s, Biden was even a vocal opponent of desegregating schools.
The question that Democrats need to ask themselves is: Are they willing to overlook these parts of Biden’s past in order to defeat President Trump in 2020? If Trump was able to win over much of the Republican Party after intense scrutiny over his past, perhaps there’s some hope for Biden.