After a half-century of political struggle, Joseph Robinette Biden, once the youngest senator became the 46th and oldest President of the US. Third time lucky is an apt phrase for Joe Biden because he ran for the Presidential elections twice before 2020. The first one was in 1987 when he dropped out of primaries, and his second Presidential bid was in 2007 when he failed to gather majority votes in Iowa Caucus and his campaign was shadowed by the Clinton and Obama. While several months later, he was chosen as the running mate by Barack Obama due to his deep-rooted ties with the working-class voters of swing states. Being the running mate of Barack Obama in 2008 Presidential race, he defeated the Republican candidate John McCain and Sarah Palin and swore as the 47th Vice President of the US. He served as the Vice President for two terms and played a crucial role in the Obama administration especially by advising the President on policies related to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Russia. His accomplishments as the VP was concluding the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation, and achieving a bipartisan agreement on tax increases and spending cuts to avoid the fiscal cliff crisis.
Obama called Biden, “the lion of American History,” and “best Vice-President of the Americas”
Early Political Career
50 years ago, Joe Biden kicked off his political career in the 1970s running for the office of New Castle County Council and defeated the Republican candidate Lawrence T. Messick. After serving two years as a council member, Biden was encouraged enough to run for the US Senate against the then famous Republican Senator J. Caleb Boggs, and after a tight race and family supported election campaign; he turned out to be the fifth-youngest US Senator in the history of America. From 1972 to 2008, Biden continuously served as a distinguished US Senator and during this period, he remained part of several high-level committees like Chairman on Foreign Relations and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was respected for his shrewd insight on the foreign policy and worked on agendas like advocating for strategic arms limitation with the Soviet Union, promoting peace and stability in the Balkans, expanding NATO to include former Soviet-bloc nations, opposing the First Gulf War and troops surge in Iraq war, along with his advocacy for ending the genocide in Darfur. His accomplishments as a Senator also include sponsoring the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act to add 100,000 police officers and increase sentences for a host of crimes. During his second term as VP, Biden became a leading figure in the national gun debate and provided recommendations for reducing the gun violence.
Climate Action: In 1986, long before climate change gained traction in the domestic and international politics, Biden presented a spearheaded the issue by introducing the Global Climate Protection Act in the US Senate. Throughout his political career, he remained a staunch advocate of climate action and backed the resolutions related to the problem. He also proposed a plan worth $1.7 trillion for carbon-free America by 2050 and had an equal footing on the prohibition of new permits for fossil fuel and meeting the energy needs through a mega infrastructural transition to renewable energy.
Healthcare: Biden also remained a strong advocate of upgrading the healthcare services like his aide Obama and even took forth the Obamacare plan to next level by proposing additional subsidies and making private healthcare insurances more affordable for the public. In times of covid-19 pandemic, he proposed making coronavirus tests and vaccines more accessible, and free. Senator Bernie Sanders also backed the healthcare agenda of Biden during the presidential race. Biden also reprimanded Trump’s reaction and virus containment measures as slow and pledged that he will spare no efforts to turn the pandemic around. In his inaugural address, Biden mentioned that his administration’s work begins with getting COVID under control and for this, he announced that Biden-Haris Plan comprising of the leading scientists and experts who will convert his plan into action. He said, “We cannot repair the economy, restore our vitality, or relish life’s most precious moments — hugging a grandchild, birthdays, weddings, graduations, all the moments that matter most to us — until we get this virus under control.”
Economic Reformation Agenda: Among other ambitious plans he proposed during his presidential campaign, he also pledged to strengthen the middle-class, calling them the backbone of the national economy. He built his economic reformation agenda around the empowerment of the working class and called it “rewards work, not just wealth”. Biden also criticized the tax-cuts provided by his predecessor Trump and ensures that free/affordable education will be provided especially at the community college level.
Migrants: Unlike his predecessor Donald Trump, Joe Biden’ stance towards migrants is more lenient and he called for the elimination of the country-quota system for Green Cards, increasing the number of visas offered for permanent and work-based immigration, along with an exemption for any caps on recent graduates of PhD programmes in STEM programs.
Joseph Robinette Biden was born on November 20, 1942, in an average household of the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania. His father, Joseph Biden Senior was furnace cleaner and a salesperson, while his mother was Catherine Eugenia “Jean” Finnegan. Biden attended the St. Helena School until he gained acceptance into the prestigious Archmere Academy and he worked along with his studies to support his family. Later on, he attended the University of Delaware, where he studied history and political science and played football. He graduated from the Syracuse University Law School in 1965 and married next year to a university fellow, Hunter. The couple was blessed with three children, one daughter and two sons. In 1972, the family struck with a tragedy, when in a car accident Biden’s wife and her daughter were killed. In 1988, Biden himself suffered from two life-threatening brain aneurysms and underwent surgeries. In addition to his role as U.S. senator, Biden also was an adjunct professor (1991–2008) at the Wilmington, Delaware, branch of the Widener University School of Law. In 2015, his son, Beau died at the age of 46, after battling brain cancer. Biden has been married to his second wife, Jill Biden who became the First Lady of the US after Biden won the 2020 Presidential elections.
The journey of Biden’s personal and political life shows that amid all the humane tragedies and turbulences, he suffered from; he has risen as an emotionally strong man and a great leader. The hymn he recited in his inaugural address personates him well.
“And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of His Hand.”