Election 2020

Joe Biden Officially Enters the Presidential Race

The former vice president has a long legacy of expanding federal power.

|

Joe Biden officially announced his presidential bid this morning, promising that he could save the country from Donald Trump and the forces of white supremacy.

"We are in a battle for the soul of this nation," the former vice president says in a video released today, which focuses heavily on 2017's deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation. Who we are. I cannot stand by and watch that happen," says Biden.

Biden's entry into the already crowded Democratic primary field is hardly a surprise. Now that he's in, the former vice president has a lot of things going for him. First and foremost are his poll numbers. Biden consistently leads the pack nationally, and he's doing very well in the early-voting states of New Hampshire and Iowa.

The latest University of New Hampshire poll has Biden as the second most preferred Democratic candidate in that state, garnering support from 18 percent of likely Democratic primary voters. That places him second only to progressive darling Bernie Sanders of neighboring Vermont (who sits at 30 percent). And Biden is cleaning up in Iowa, where the latest Monmouth University poll shows him winning support of 27 percent of likely caucusgoers. Sanders is pulling 16 percent in Iowa, while South Bend Mayor Peter Buttigieg is trailing in third place, with 9 percent.

That said, we're a long way off from any actual voting. As Reason's resident poll expert, Stephanie Slade, likes to remind people, polls at this stage are hardly predictive.

Indeed, that aforementioned University of New Hampshire poll found that only 9 percent of respondents had "definitely decided" on a candidate, while another 14 percent were only "leaning toward someone." A full 77 percent were "still trying to decide."

In short, a lot can happen between now and the Democratic National Convention in July 2020.

The New York Times notes that Biden is entering the race with little money and no ready base of small dollar donors.

Then there's his record. Biden has taken any number of stances that are anathema to today's more progressive Democratic Party.

The former vice president is the only candidate in the race to have voted in favor of the Iraq war. When he was a senator from Delaware, Biden supported most every tough-on-crime policy you can imagine, from mandatory minimums to civil asset forfeiture to an expanded death penalty. He was one of the chief architects of the 1994 crime bill that helped usher in an era of mass incarceration.

More recently, Biden has raised progressive eyebrows for praising the wealthy ("just as patriotic as poor folks") and current Vice President Mike Pence("a decent guy"). He's also been known to invade the personal space of women at public events.

He has so far declined to endorse several policies beloved by progressives, including Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. Such positions make Biden vulnerable to attack from other primary candidates running to his left.

That said, it's fair to ask how much his less-than-progressive record will matter to most primary voters. Another Times article from early April found a wide gulf between the majority of Democratic voters and the party's smaller progressive base. The former was much less active online—and much less concerned about the kind of social-justice issues that get a lot of attention on Twitter.

Biden's announcement video from earlier today shows one way he might try to split the difference between these two camps, focusing like a laser on Trump and white supremacists while declining to mention many policy specifics.

Should he win the nomination, Biden would pull his party back from the left, but not necessarily bring it much closer to supporting individual liberty. He has little interest in running on a platform of expanded, budget-busting entitlements, but—his recent criticism of occupational licensing notwithstanding—he is in no way a small-government guy. His legacy is almost uniformly one of expanding the power of the federal government, whether to prosecute the drug war or go after sexual assault on campus.

Check out his whole announcement video here:

Advertisement

NEXT: When Earth Day Predictions Go Predictably Wrong

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Biden is currently near the bottom on my list of 2020 Democrats. In order to move up my rankings, he’ll need to endorse impeachment, reparations for slavery, and #AbolishICE.

    “The former vice president is the only candidate in the race to have voted in favor of the Iraq war.”

    OK, now this is unfair. Like with Hillary Clinton, Biden’s Iraq vote isn’t his fault. The Bush Administration tricked him into it.

    1. LOL!!!! Do we really want a Prez who got tricked by Shrub #2????

    2. “In order to move up my rankings, he’ll need to endorse impeachment, reparations for slavery, and #AbolishICE.”

      But if Biden goes that route, he won’t be able to use his best tag line during the Democratic Primaries – “Joe Biden: At least he’s not batcrap crazy.”

  2. Biden is a glad handing mediocrity who at best is an amiable court fool, except where he has said something bizarrely vicious such as Mitt Romney was going to put black people back in chains. That he looks good compared to the rest of the Democrat field says more about the overall lack of quality there.

    1. LOL “glad handing”…I see what you did there.

      1. Well Biden is a ‘fingertip politician’.

        1. He has a feel for the electorate!!

    2. You slander Biden with the “bizarrely vicious” claim. Didn’t we just learn that the whole McCain family is going to back Biden because he is such a wonderful uniter?

      1. Biden might be more of a uniter than McCain was, but that is a low bar.

        1. Hey now… before he died everyone hated McCain. Unity in action.

      2. Biden says:

        “We are in a battle for the soul of this nation,”
        “If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation. Who we are. I cannot stand by and watch that happen,” says Biden.

        I think Biden missed his calling! With statements like this, he should be doing Stand-Up Comedy!

    3. I think “mediocrity” is giving him way too much credit. Biden is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to politicians.

  3. Bah. The “character” of the nation, if such a thing even exists, is not decided by the president or any other politician.

    As Josey Wales said, governments don’t live together; people live together.

    1. The “character of this nation” was that we actually respected creeps like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton and elected them to important positions.

      It wasn’t Trump that changed that, it was the Internet. Trump only entered the picture because about half of the US decided that he was slightly less creepy than Hillary.

      1. And Trump only got the GOP nod because enough GOP voters were tired of their immoral greedy Big Govt. RINO Creeps running things!

  4. There’s no hidin’ from Joe Biden.

    1. I picture him yelling that loudly as he searches trough his house for the young girl that escaped his basement.

      1. “I know from the smell of Prell you’re in here somewhere.”

      2. Damn, this creepy crawler looks even older than he is!!!

  5. I would be curious to see how a Democratic candidate would fare if campaigning on issues other than Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    1. We’ll probably have to rely on our imaginations. I doubt that we’ll see it.

      1. No reparations? Medicare for all? Forgive college debt? Inequality is killing our nation? Open borders?

        There’s a lot more lunacy than TDS.

  6. My problem with Biden is that the other Democrats (in the House and Senate) are so authoritarian and socialist that the primary reason for my vote for president is to act as a check on their authoritarian and socialist agenda (see the Green New Deal and Medicare for All). If Biden promised to veto the Green New Deal and Medicare for All if they made it to his desk, I’m not sure I’d vote for him over a check on those polices–rather than Trump. We can’t trust him to resist the authoritarian and socialist impulses of his own party. On the other hand, I think we can trust Trump to at least veto Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.

    I think it’s the same thing with gun rights. Even if Biden isn’t a gun grabber, his fellow Democrats are, and I have no faith in Biden to veto their “common sense gun control”.

  7. So many people, especially young voters, don’t know Jokin’ Joe’s history. Some won’t care, but he is a dummy, first off, 76th of 85 on a FREE RIDE hardship scholarship at Syracuse Law, he lied about his grades, he plagiarized while there, he plagiarized the exact same piece during his last failed presidential bid (even more evidence of stupidity) he has legislated to benefit his paid lobbyist son, he sponsored the bankruptcy laws that ringfenced BILLIONS in bonuses for Lehman in 2008 while schools went belly up, he is currently being looked at for more foreign interference to benefit the same son- all this in addition to being a total creeper. He has made several racial gaffes, remember Obama being a “clean, articulate black”, or the 7-11 “Indian clerk” joke? He has been at the public trough his entire life, has never created a job or anything else for that matter. His good-guy persona is such a LIE. He is a first-rate scumbag who thinks it is “his turn”, and Dems are so desperate for a candidate that isn’t a kook that they will overlook all that. Trump has warts- Biden IS a wart.

    1. Didn’t he come out in favor of segregation back in the 70s? That’s not a good look…

      1. He opposed compulsory busing.

        1. I’m on board with that view!

          1. Yeah, it seems like a halfway decent position.

            Though I suspect that in Biden’s case, it wasn’t out of any kind of liberal views, but was either due to senility or catering to his wealthy country club buddies.

            1. You are probably right!

    2. A Biden candidacy was joke-level stuff in 2016. It is a measure of how desperate the Ds are that he’s now considered a ‘more normal’ candidate…

      1. I remember people joking back in 2008 that Biden was Obama’s life insurance.

        1. You’re right! Thanks for reminding me of that.

    3. Dems are so desperate for a candidate that isn’t a kook

      Really? Have you seen their field so far?

      Biden, ironically because he supposedly got into the race because of Charlottesville, is probably the last Presidential candidate the Dems will have for a long, long time that doesn’t hate working-class white people specifically and white people in general.

      1. Just the phantom menace of white nationalist under every parade float.

    4. +1,000,000!!!!!

  8. […] Biden is in. Read Reason‘s Christian Britschi for more information. I am preoccupied with the seemingly random (dare I say Trump-like?) punctuation in his […]

  9. […] Biden is in. Read Reason‘s Christian Britschi for more information. I am preoccupied with the seemingly random (dare I say Trump-like?) punctuation in his […]

  10. Who?

    1. Uncle Joe!

      1. Like his namesake…Stalin.

    2. “”Who?”‘

      The person with his hands on your shoulders whispering let’s unite in your ear.

  11. “If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation. Who we are. I cannot stand by and watch that happen,” says Biden.

    Joe, you probably could have beaten Trump in 2016 but, no, you did stand by and let the Democratic Party nominate the terribly flawed and disliked Hillary.

    1. Biden would have beaten Trump easily. Too bad Hillary had the entire party by the balls that year.

      1. “”Too bad Hillary had the entire party by the balls that year.”‘

        Yep, the lack of any other candidate in the primary except Sanders if proof of that. Also proof Sanders has no balls.

      2. Not necessarily. Hildog had the DNC in her panty pocket. Biden couldn’t break into that deep recess.

  12. How many blasts should you fire off before voting?

    1. Just fart in his general direction; that’s all that’s required.

  13. Just noticed the URL for this column. *Someone* at Reason has a sense of humor. Well played.

  14. […] Biden is in. Read Reason‘s Christian Britschi for more information. I am preoccupied with the seemingly random (dare I say Trump-like?) punctuation in his […]

  15. “If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation.”

    “On the other hand, if I am elected I will forever and fundamentally maintain the character of this nation.”

  16. Just remember to warn your wife not to end up in a room with Joe and no one else.

  17. This asshole is responsible for mass incaceration. He should be banned from holding office.

    1. Him not winning will effectively ban him for life.

      Anyone who gives him campaign money is a person who likes to flush their money down a drain.

      1. Creepy uncle Joe has lived off the American people long enough.

  18. Joe Biden Officially Enters the Presidential Race

    Who?

    Another white male running as a Democrat.

  19. More taxes, more lazy union raises, more abortions and more illegal aliens.

  20. “Joe Biden next capering fool out of the Democrat Clown Car”

  21. hide your daughters.

  22. I checked an account of the Charlottesville riots by the alt-right Trump supporters (/sarc) at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I noticed this phrase:

    “Both sides swung sticks and shot pepper spray at each other as the groups met in the street.”

    https://www.ajc.com/news/national/what-happened-charlottesville-looking-back-the-anniversary-the-deadly-rally/fPpnLrbAtbxSwNI9BEy93K/

    I also noticed one of Trump’s remarks:

    “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, on many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. … It has no place in America. What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives. No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society. And no child should ever be afraid to go outside and play or be with their parents and have a good time. … We must love each other, respect each other and cherish our history and our future together. So important. We have to respect each other. Ideally, we have to love each other.”

    1. …but I’m *so* glad that Biden has chosen to run on a platform of opposing nazis and white supremacists.

    2. We have to respect each other. Ideally, we have to love each other.

      In a free country, all that is required of citizens is that they don’t commit violence or theft against each other. People don’t have to like each other let alone respect each other.

      The idea that everybody needs to like/respect each other is communist or theocratic; it has no place in a free country.

        1. There is nothing “ideal” about it. A country where everybody loves each other is a country where everybody is on drugs or has received lobotomies. Such a state is fundamentally incompatible with the human condition.

          1. +1
            There are many people who deserve dislike at a minimum, and unless we imagine we can live in a fantasy world, that is not going to change.

            1. OMG I can’t believe you’re forcing me to defend Trump!

              He’s not calling for compulsory love, but imagine if there *was* more love – not the gushy stuff, but the real stuff. People could still hold each other accountable, but without being nasty or tearing one another down.

              1. He’s not calling for compulsory love, but imagine if there *was* more love – not the gushy stuff, but the real stuff.

                I’m not accusing him of trying to compelling people, I’m accusing him (and you) of a basic ignorance of the human condition.

                It’s like saying “I don’t want to force anybody to be a New Soviet Man, but it would sure be nice if everybody magically became that person without compulsion.” It’s like saying “Wouldn’t we all be better off if we lived and treated each other like termites in a termite colony.”

                No, it wouldn’t be nice. Conflict, disagreement, competition, and negative emotions are an inevitable part of the human condition. Without the bad stuff, you can’t have the good stuff either.

  23. What can I say about Joe that hasn’t said before?

    Joe Biden coined the term ‘Drug Czar’ after watching Reefer Madness. According to Biden, the movie set him on a path to have the government warn the nation’s youth about the dangerous marijuana plant.

    Biden is in constant contact with past and present Drug Czars, who say that the current marijuana is much more powerful than the hippie weed. So much so, that it’s now considered to be not only highly addictive, but a gateway drug to LSD.

    Unnamed sources say Biden was maneuvered to be Obama’s Vice President so Biden could keep an eye on president pot head. There was a feeling that Obama would start smoking marijuana again, even though he swore he was off the stuff. So Biden was placed there to make sure Obama behaved and did not reclassify marijuana.

    1. Biden was there to distract you from Obama’s incompetence, inexperience, race baiting, and socialist tendencies.

      1. JW
        Thank you for your insight

  24. I welcome his entry into the race, as I’m looking forward to the Onion resurrecting its Joe Biden stories. Those were gold!

    1. Yeah, The Onion might be relevant again.

      But then again we have the MSM doing so well at what they used to do.

  25. Yeah, that’s what America needs.
    Another four years of disastrous Obozo’s policies.
    If that won’t put America back in the stone age, nothing will.

    1. What’s with the negativity around here? Trump vs. Biden = Comedy Gold. What doesn’t it have?
      – Geriatrics? Check
      – Intellectual heavyweights? Einstein level…Check
      – Grab-handed pervs? Check
      – Aquanet? Copious amounts…Check

    2. Another four years of disastrous Obozo’s policies.

      But this time delivered by a grabby senile straight white male! It will be totally different this time around!

  26. “polls at [ANY] stage are hardly predictive.

    There FTFY

  27. Show me where on the doll the presidential candidate touched you.

  28. Why do I get the feeling that being a scrappy train rider from Scranton isn’t going to conflict with his having obvious plastic surgery?

    Or his being more moderate, dumber, and older than Hillary Clinton?

    It’s nice to have a penis.

    1. [Tony:] It’s nice to have a penis, I’ve heard

      There, FTFY

      1. “Hey, at least it is a penis, sort of.”
        –Tulpa

        1. “Hey, at least I was told it was a brain, sort of”
          Lefty shitbag.

  29. His and Sanders’ campaign mottos:

    “Old white guys against the patriarchy!”

  30. Hey Slow Joe, you were there while Obama was politicizing and weaponizing the DOJ, FBI, and other agencies to spy on political opponents. What did you know, when did you know it, and why did you never try to stop it?

    Can you name a single business you started from an idea and with it jobs you created? Have you ever had to meet a non-government payroll?

    You were in Congress from 1973 – 2003 and the Vice-President from 2009 – 2017. Can you name a single campaign item you ran on that has been fixed and is no longer a problem?

    Bonus question, how long before you apologize for being white, male, and old in a party whose base despises all three?

    1. And has he ever gotten a paycheck from someone other than the taxpayers?
      I wasn’t sure, and the cite ain’t my fave, but it seems to be confirmed by others:
      “Joe Biden: ‘I’ve Never Been Gainfully Employed In My Life’”
      […]
      “Vice President Joe Biden is worried about facing retirement from public office, and admits to a crowd that he’s never held a private sector job.
      “I’ve never been gainfully employed in my life,” he said as the audience laughed. “I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do….”
      https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2016/05/19/joe-biden-ive-never-gainfully-employed-life/

  31. This dick better not get the nomination… He might actually win!

    Even if he does and he loses it’s no good. The Dems need to choose a bat shit crazy leftists, and have them completely flame out HARD, to hopefully fully push them back towards sanity.

    1. Sanity….you’d have better luck finding a leprechaun with a pot of gold riding a unicorn and giving away corvettes than finding a sane liberal. Alexandria Occasional Cortex…rock star material. Ill in the head Omar…beloved in Mini-soda. Maxipads Waters, 30+ years of abject failure and she is re-elected. Good luck finding sane.

    2. “The Dems need to choose a bat shit crazy leftists, and have them completely flame out HARD, to hopefully fully push them back towards sanity.”

      Where have you gone, George McGovern, our party turns its lonely eyes to you.

  32. Biden’s handlers will have to work very hard to protect him from himself and his big mouth. The guy has a long history of saying idiotic and offensive things and now that he seems to be in the early stages of dementia, will be very interesting to hear what else he might say. Also, how does he expect to win back the white working class, is he going to out-Trump Trump?

  33. Awww, P Biddy (Pedo Biden) is getting his game face on. Granted it’s old, withered and generally clueless but it will be fun to watch the overcrowded liberal clown car careen out of control as they all try to out communist one another and give away free stuff with OPM (Other Peoples Money).

    Best economy ever. Lowest unemployment in over 50 years…..but you libs do miss your ObamaFail don’t you.

  34. Joe Biden says “world leaders begged” him to run against Trump.

    So Joe is acting at the behest of foreign powers? Not putting America first? No surprise.

  35. […] “When he was a senator from Delaware, Biden supported most every tough-on-crime policy you can imagine, from mandatory minimums to civil asset forfeiture to an expanded death penalty. He was one of the chief architects of the 1994 crime bill that helped usher in an era of mass incarceration,” Reason reported. […]

  36. […] the chief architects of the 1994 crime bill that helped usher in an era of mass incarceration,” Reason reported.Biden was also the primary author of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act […]

  37. Speaking of long legacies:
    Ten years ago the man could barely stay awake for five hours at a time. Now he wants to be president. Oh boy.

  38. […] “When he was a senator from Delaware, Biden supported most every tough-on-crime policy you can imagine, from mandatory minimums to civil asset forfeiture to an expanded death penalty. He was one of the chief architects of the 1994 crime bill that helped usher in an era of mass incarceration,” Reason reported. […]

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.