US President Joe Biden has (finally) announced that he will be running for re-election in 2024. He made his plans official on 25 April.
The 80-year-old hopes to serve his second term in the White House, saying he wants to “finish the job”. US Vice-President Kamala Harris will be running for re-election right alongside him.
Biden cites his main competitor in the 2020 election Donald Trump and other “Republican extremists” as a looming threat to American democracy, especially since Trump has also made plans to re-run for president in 2024.
Everything About Joe Biden (Again)
Not sure why you’d need this but nevertheless, here’s some info about him.
Having had a career in politics for over 50 years, Biden certainly has the tenure for the job.
He comments in his re-election video, “The question we’re facing is whether in the years ahead, we have more freedom or less freedom, more rights or fewer. I know what I want the answer to be, and I think you do too. That’s why I’m running for reelection. Because I know America.”
Before his current presidential term, we may remember Biden as the Vice-President to 44th President Barack Obama from 2009-2017.
However, Biden’s political career stretches back as far as the 1970s.
He first held a position on the New Castle County Castle in 1970, advocating for public housing in the suburbs.
He had a tragic start to his career, losing his wife Nelia Hunter and infant daughter Naomi in a car accident in 1972. This was shortly after he was elected as the US Senator from Delaware.
His sons Beau and Hunter had also been injured in the car accident and had been hospitalised. Biden was sworn in as the Delawarian Senator in 1973 in the hospital at his sons’ bedsides.
He married Jill Jacobs in 1977, and they had their daughter Ashley four years later.
In June 1987, Biden announced his first presidential run, but he withdrew from the race merely three months later due to allegations of plagiarising his speeches and work in law school. Too bad he didn’t have Turnitin (and ChatGPT) back then.
Anita Hill Controversy
In October 1991, law professor Anita Hill testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee — then headed by Biden — about allegations of sexual harassment she had made against Supreme Court justice nominee Clarence Thomas.
According to Hill, Thomas persistently asked her out despite her refusals and demonstrated a lack of respect for her boundaries. Furthermore, she mentioned that he engaged in graphic discussions about sexual topics and pornography while at work.
Biden allowed Thomas to testify first despite previously saying that he would allow Hill to go first. In addition, he ended the hearings without taking testimony from three women who offered their own stories about Thomas.
Thomas was elected and remains a member of the Supreme Court to this day.
In 2019, during his presidential run, Biden reached out to Hill to “express regret over what had happened” as the unresolved controversy looked bad on his record. Hill, however, found the encounter dissatisfactory, stating that Biden’s apology was not enough to erase what had transpired.
1994: Big Year for Biden
1994 was a prominent year for Biden’s political career as he helped to legislate the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, also known as the 1994 Crime Bill, which incorporated the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) as one of its provisions.
Biden calls this his most significant legislation, but he also labelled it a “big mistake” when running for president in 2020.
The 1994 Crime Bill contained provisions such as banning assault weapons, and creating 60 new offences that could warrant a perpetrator the death penalty, including drive-by-shootings resulting in death, and carjacking resulting in death.
VAWA raised federal penalties for repeat sex offenders and mandated that they pay for the medical and legal expenses incurred by victims of such crimes.
While the 1994 Crime Bill did protect communities from violent crime due to the harsher laws, Biden was also criticised for his intentions to increase incarceration rates.
Although there was no proof that the law massively increased incarceration, critics of Biden cite his support of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 that disproportionately sent minorities to prison.
The law established a notable contrast in the punishment for possessing crack and powder cocaine, despite their comparable chemical nature. Essentially, the same sentence is handed out for one unit of crack and 100 units of powder.
And since crack cocaine is typically used by African Americans, this contributed to the racial group becoming overrepresented in the number of people incarcerated.
In 2008, Biden ran for president alongside Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama, who became the two contenders for the position.
After only winning less than 1% of the vote in Iowa, Biden dropped out of the race. Obama then selected Biden to run as Vice-President.
In 2020, Biden defeated 45th President Donald Trump for presidential candidacy.
Trump was impeached twice during his presidential term. The first time was for abuse of power and obstruction of justice, and he was acquitted.
The second time was a week before his term ended, on charges of inciting an insurrection, of which he was also acquitted.
Claiming that Biden’s victory was a “stolen election” and that voter fraud had occurred, Trump encouraged his supporters to “fight like hell” on the day when Congress was supposed to count the votes that would formalise Biden’s victory.
On January 6 2021, hundreds of people rioted and stormed into the Capitol building. The crowd broke windows and overwhelmed the attempts at police control.
One of the most famous photographs to arise from this event is that of alt-right activist QAnon Shaman, who stood off with police officers while dressed in an outfit that looked like someone pressed the ‘randomise’ button when customising their video game character.
The violent event resulted in the deaths and suicides of police officers who had tried to control the crowds.
For his 2024 re-election campaign, Biden still cites Trump as a threat to democracy. In his re-election announcement Tweet, Biden utilises scenes from the Capitol riot in the introduction of the video as a reminder of what his competitor had incited:
Every generation has a moment where they have had to stand up for democracy. To stand up for their fundamental freedoms. I believe this is ours.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 25, 2023
Fitness Called into Question
While Biden hopes for another four years in office, it seems Americans are uncertain whether this is a good idea.
Citing Biden’s age as a cause of concern, a survey by NBC showed that 70% of Americans believe he should not re-run in 2024.
Biden is the oldest serving president in US history. If he were to win the re-election, he would be 86 years old by the end of his second term.
More alarmingly, the public was left horrified and confused over how Biden had addressed the nation just hours after a mass shooting. The shooting occurred in an elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee and claimed the lives of three adults and three children.
In a Seinfeld-esque monologue, he opens his statement with a declaration of love for chocolate chip ice cream:
Regardless of political stance, we can all agree that riffing like a stand-up comedian warming up a crowd before a concert is not the most appropriate tone to have when addressing a tragedy.
Politics is getting messier and more chaotic year by year. It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen, but all I know is that I’ll join the rest of the bystanders and watch how the drama unfolds.
Perhaps with a tub of chocolate chip ice cream, which is his favourite food.
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