Joe Biden’s path to the Presidency


Compiled by Jack Almoro (Credit: White House, Library of Congress)

On January 20, 2021, Joe Biden took the oath of office to become the 46th President of the United States.

Jack Almoro, Staff Writer

President Joseph R Biden’s path to the Presidency has been a long and challenging one, overcoming personal hardship and pain to find his way to the highest office in the land.
Biden registered as a Democrat in 1969 after his first job in law was at a firm headed by a Democrat. His political career began when he ran and won a seat on the New Castle County Council in Delaware, beating Republican incumbent Henry R. Folsom.
Biden then ran for the junior U.S. Senate seat of Delaware in 1971, facing Republican incumbent J. Caleb Boggs. With facing a popular opponent and having very little campaign funding, Biden had a small chance at victory. Through a grassroots campaign, Biden was able to unseat Boggs.
Following the election, tragedy struck as Biden’s wife Nellia and daughter Naomi were killed in a car crash. Biden’s sons Hunter and Beau survived with severe injuries. Biden was sworn in as a senator at the hospital with Hunter and Beau present.
Biden later met his current wife Jill in 1975, and they married two years later. He has credited his renewal of love in politics and in life to Jill.
In his time as a senator, Biden tackled environmental issues, international arms control and consumer protection. He also became a minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and was key in passing bills such as the Federal Assault Weapons Ban and the Violence Against Women Act, which he has called his most important achievements.
However, he was not without his faults. As a senator, he passed a provision in 1993 which prevented the LGBTQ+ community from entering the armed forces; he also helped pass the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented the government from recognizing same-sex marriages. Biden was also an opponent of racial integration busing, which was popular among his constituency in Delaware in the 1970s.
Biden first ran for President in 1988; he was considered a strong candidate for his moderate views and strong speaking abilities. However, his campaign was quickly derailed as he was found guilty of plagiarism by copying speech passages from numerous past leaders such as John F. Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey and British Labour Party Leader Neil Kinnock.
Following these allegations and numerous occasions during his campaign where he lied about his early life, Biden withdrew his campaign before it ever really began.
After his failed campaign, Biden suffered a brain aneurysm in February 1988. While recovering, he had a pulmonary embolism. These health setbacks kept Biden from the Senate.
Later, Biden was at first integral to the support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, his stance shifted considerably, and he became a strong opponent of the war. He later went on record stating it was “dead, flat wrong” about the troop surge in 2007.
He then sought the presidency once again in 2008; however, he failed to gain traction against the more popular Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Biden and Obama’s relationship grew during the campaigns, and Biden found Obama to be extremely talented politically and as Obama appreciated Biden’s way with working class voters. After Biden withdrew from the campaign, Obama wanted to find a position for Biden in his administration.
Obama won the Democratic Nomination, and selected Biden as his running mate. During his vice presidential campaign, Biden gained little attention compared to more “popular” Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, John McCain’s running mate. Come election day, Obama and Biden won the White House.
As vice president, Biden became Obama’s most trusted adviser; he oversaw the spending of the Obama Stimulus Package as well as the gun violence task force.
His previous positions on LGBTQ+ rights and abortion largely switched, as he became “comfortable” with same-sex marriage, and thought the government had no right to deal with abortion.
In May 2015, tragedy struck once again as Biden’s son Beau died following a battle with brain cancer.
The death of his son and many other factors led to Biden’s decision to not run for president in 2016, paving the way for Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic nomination. Both Obama and Biden endorsed Clinton in June 2016.
Following Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump, Biden remained in the public eye, endorsing Democratic candidates in the 2018 midterm elections and providing commentary on numerous subjects and Trump’s presidency.
In 2019, it was speculated that he would run for president once again, and he did. He officially launched his campaign on April 25, 2019.
Biden was an early favorite. Despite this, he got off to a slow start in the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary.
Along with this, President Trump had accused Biden and his son Hunter of wrongdoing with Ukraine with things such as alleged corruption. Trump even pressured the Ukranian President to investigate them. Nothing ever came of the allegations.
As the primaries rolled on, Biden began to close the gap on the other early favorite, Senator Bernie Sanders. He took the lead during Super Tuesday, winning 18 of 26 contests. From that point on, he never looked back, becoming the presumptive nominee in April, after Sanders dropped out of the race.
At the Democratic National Convention, Biden chose California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, making her the first African American and South Asian American Vice Presidential candidate.
In the general election, Biden continued his message of unity against Trump that he ran on in the primaries, while Trump raised concerns of Biden’s ability to run and his allegations in Ukraine.
On November 7, 2020, Joe Biden won the Presidency. Despite many attempts by Trump to overturn his victory, Biden was inaugurated on January 20, 2021, along with Harris, who became the first female Vice President, in addition to being African American and South Asian American.
Biden ran his campaign, and his entire political career, on the message of hope. After dealing with a few lifetimes’ worth of pain, his political experience puts him in position to take on the highest office in the land and continue that same message of hope and unity.