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Get to know: Joe Biden

This is a name you most certainly should have seen by now. Joe Biden’s name is so well known that he was the most Googled person in 2020. Wild. Get to know him below.

Background  

“Middle Class Joe” grew up in blue-collar Scranton, Pennsylvania, and later in New Castle County, Delaware. His upbringing and working family have played an important role in Biden’s ability to resonate with blue-collar voters. He was an outstanding student where he was class President, and later earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1965 with a double major in history and political science, and a minor in English — setting him up for a career in politics. 

Political career overview

As you can imagine, there is a lot to Biden’s political career. He ran for President three times (third time’s a charm), was Vice President as part of the Obama administration, as well as being a six-term Senator. He was first elected in 1972 to the Senate, where he established himself as a well-known U.S. politician over the course of his six-terms. But just after his successful 1972 Senate race, he lost his wife at-the-time Neilia, and baby daughter, Naomi, in a car accident. His sons Beau and Hunter both survived the accident. Biden famously took the oath of office for his first Senate term in the hospital room at his son’s bedside.

Over his career, Biden built a reputation as a moderate Democrat and a valuable asset when needing to negotiate policy with Republicans. 

Running for President but become Vice President 

His political career continued when first ran for president in 1988, but dropped out early after reports surfaced that he had plagiarised a speech by former British Labour Party leader, Neil Kinnock.  

Biden ran again for president in the 2008 election, but withdrew his candidacy early after failing to compete with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns. Despite not having much success, Biden’s relationship with Obama strengthened during this time — ultimately leading to Obama choosing Biden as a running mate for the 2008 election and becoming Vice President. 

Biden then experienced another family tragedy, his son Beau died of brain cancer at the age of 46 in 2015. Similar to his father, he was active in politics and planned to run for Delaware state governor in 2016. 

The 2020 election 

Then there was 2020. He was perceived as the “safe pair of hands” and responsible choice and a figure that could unite Americans. Despite his campaign suffering knockbacks (including losing the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary) he dominated the rest of the campaign, becoming the Democratic candidate for 2020. As we know, he won the 2020 election. 

During Biden’s 2020 Presidential election campaign, there were reports he had been accused of inappropriate physical contact in his interactions with women. These interactions included unwanted hugs, kisses on the head, and standing uncomfortably close. There were around seven women who came forward. A year later, one of those women came forward again with additional allegations of sexual assault. Biden denies these allegations. 

2021 and beyond 

Fast-forward to 2021, he has proven he is more progressive than first perceived. Since becoming President, Biden has been at the forefront of the U.S. response to the pandemic and vaccine rollout. A defining moment of his presidency so far includes the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, and the $2.25 trillion infrastructure and jobs proposal he has introduced.

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