Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic fixture on the American political scene for nearly a half-century, won the White House on his third try, according to projections made Saturday.
When he is inaugurated, January 20, 2021, he will become the country’s 46th chief executive. By then, he will be 78, the oldest U.S. president ever elected, surpassing Donald Trump, who was 70 when he entered the White House. Biden failed to win the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and 2008, drawing little support either year.
A senator from the small eastern state of Delaware for 36 years, and former U.S. President Barack Obama’s second in command for eight, Biden defeated more than two dozen other Democrats for his party’s 2020 presidential nomination.
During the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., Biden conducted one of the most unorthodox campaigns in recent U.S. presidential election history.
He shunned the traditional large-scale political rallies and instead staged smaller events, often with supporters socially distanced by a safe two meters and wearing face masks. In addition, he has delivered numerous campaign speeches from near his Delaware home.
Biden relentlessly pilloried Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and claimed Trump did not deserve to remain president after presiding over the country’s world-leading death toll of more than 236,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. He said Trump had “raised the white flag” of surrender against the coronavirus.
Trump countered that Biden was representative of the worst of Washington: a career politician. At two debates, Trump contended that Biden would be beholden to the views of more progressive Democrats if he was elected and, among other policies, would advance “socialized” government-controlled health care.
Biden has said he opposes a government takeover of health care but would work to improve the Affordable Care Act adopted in 2010 during the Obama administration. He said if elected, he planned to appoint a bipartisan commission to study court reform. But Biden insisted he was “not a fan” of a proposal favored by the progressive wing of his party to expand the size of the Supreme Court in order to appoint more liberal justices.
This push for “court packing” came in the wake of the confirmation of the third Trump appointee to the highest U.S. court, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a staunch conservative. Her Senate confirmation leaves the Supreme Court with a 6-3 conservative majority.
Biden campaigned as a reliably left-of-center politician. He stands for enhanced environmental programs and a reengagement with traditional American allies overseas.
In a year marked by the brutal death of a Black man, George Floyd, while in the custody of Minneapolis police and the subsequent wave of protests, civil unrest and violence throughout the country, Biden offered detailed proposals to advance racial economic equity and reform the criminal justice system.
The onetime chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee also apologized for his part in the passage of 1994 anti-crime legislation that substantially toughened sentences for crack cocaine possession, which disproportionately punished the Black community.
‘Soul of America’
Throughout months of campaigning, Biden said he wanted to put an end to Trump’s “aberrant” administration.
“We’re in a battle for the soul of America,” Biden said on his campaign website. “It’s time to remember who we are. We’re Americans: tough, resilient, but always full of hope. It’s time to treat each other with dignity. Build a middle class that works for everybody. Fight back against the incredible abuses of power we’re seeing.”
“It’s time to dig deep and remember that our best days still lie ahead,” he said.
"It’s time for respected leadership on the world stage — and dignified leadership at home.”
When he takes office, the former vice president almost certainly will rejoin several international accords from which Trump withdrew, such as the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Iran nuclear deal aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear weapons development.
Months ago, Biden promised to pick a woman as his vice presidential running mate and followed through with the selection of California Senator Kamala Harris, who was the first Black woman and South Asian American on a major U.S. party’s national ticket. She was only the fourth woman ever selected for a national ticket and the third selected as a running mate.
Harris will be the first woman and person of color to serve as U.S. vice president.