Joe Biden's last race: political experience, the virtue of the predictable and a life full of troubles

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Whoever was vice president of Barack Obama prepared his whole life for this day. Obama's support, his tragic personal losses and an ongoing fight for the White House

Joe Biden's last career: political experience, the virtue of the predictable and a life full of troubles

If he were to win the United States elections, former Vice President Joe Biden would be the oldest president to take office, at 78 years old. (Drew Angerer/Getty)

If he won the election in the United States, Joe Biden would have devoted lifelong affair: he would be the oldest president to take office, at 78 years old. He would happily meet them on November 20, 17 days after the most belligerent political competition in recent decades —in which, until the last moment, he maintained an advantage of between 6, 7 and 8.5 pointsabout his competitor, the incumbent Donald Trump.

He would not be a stranger in the White House< /b>, much less in Washington DC: the Democrat was Vice President of Barack Obama during his two terms, 2008-12 and 2012-16 , and since 1972, when he came to the Senate to represent Delaware, it has been a part of the city's landscape. In this aspect he embodies the exact opposite of his competitor: Trump is the first president who took office without a previous political career and made that a proclaimed virtue, against the political establishment that seems to have exhausted a good part of the US electorate.

< p class="paragraph">However, given the characteristics of the management that the Republican has carried out, Biden is also his opposite in another sense: he seems like a promise of predictability. And a few million people could take advantage of something like this in this 2020, exhausted by political tensions and the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joe's last race Biden: political experience, the virtue of the predictable and a life full of troubles

After four years of Donald Trump's government, Biden seems the opposite in both promise of predictability. (REUTERS/Bing Guan)

And on the coronavirus crisis in particular, Biden has focused on delivering the public health message that the Republican was missing. Where Trump did not wear a mask, Biden wore a black model to match his aviator sunglasses; every time he had a pulpit he spread advice based on science —medical and epidemiological, but also economic — about how to act to save lives and keep the country running. He recalled that he had everything to do with the arduous negotiations to pass the Affordable Healthcare Act, or Obamacare , which Trump has tried to dismantle; He also said that —because of the tragedies in his life— health is “something personal” to him.

Biden reached that place in the White House after three attempts in the Democratic primaries: 1984, 1988 and the same 2008in which he joined the Obama ticket to help offset the image of the candidate, a young and energetic senator from Illinois with little political experience. At times it seemed like his role was too narrow for him: in 2012 he said he was “completely comfortable” with same-sex marriage, something Obama had yet to say and perhaps should have been quick to say, so as not to be left behind.

In any case, in 2008 Biden made an extra contribution to Obama's candidacy, who seems to return the favor —”the< b>best vice president ever in the United States,” she called him—these days: it took a little street, a tone, and a personality that connected with the minimum-wage worker doing Convincing him to vote remains to be done.Biden grew up in a blue-collar town, Scranton, in northeastern Pennsylvania, where his father worked two jobs: cleaning boilers and selling used cars.

Joe Biden's last career: political experience, the virtue of the predictable and a life fraught with trouble

“I don't think you're a racist, but…” Kamala Harris began her accusation against Joe Biden, during the Democratic primaries, for her collaboration with legislators who opposed school bus programs to reduce segregation in the '70s. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Both he — named Joseph, like the Democratic candidate — and his mother, Jean Finnegan, taught him to be strong , he recognized many times. “The measure of a man is not how many times he is knocked to the ground, but the speed at which he gets up,” her father used to tell him; on one occasion he came home crying, affected by bullying from another child on the street —Biden suffered from a childhood stutter, which he overcame with a very strenuous exercise—and his mother, instead of consoling him, suggested that he punch her in the nose the next day to settle the matter. “So you can walk in peace,” she argued.

The family moved to Mayfield, Delaware, when Biden was 13 . He worked as a window cleaner and weeder to help his parents, who wanted to pay for his university studies but couldn't; when he graduated from Archmere Academy—where he also stood out on the football team for his passing skills— he studied history and political science at the University of Delaware, although he was more interested in girls, as he recalled.

In the week of spring break of 1961 he traveled to the Bahamas and met a student at the University from Syracuse, Neilia Hunter, and he was “struck with love, at first sight.” Which, oddly, made his mediocre grades improve: he needed better grades to get accepted to Syracuse Law School. He married his girlfriend in 1966.

Joe Biden's last career: political experience, the virtue of the predictable and a life full of troubles

At the end of the most belligerent political contest in recent decades in the US, Joe Biden maintained an advantage of between 6.7 and 8.5 points over Donald Trump. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

In his first year as a graduate student he had a problem: he failed to properly cite a reference, as he later described it. He always said it was unintentional; but when he was accused in 1988 of having plagiarized excerpts from a speech by a British Labor leader , some of his opponents began to accuse him of a tendency to cut & amp; paste. In any case, that year he had more serious things to worry about: what seemed like a headache for campaign efforts turned out to be a couple of life-threatening aneurysms.

They operated on him; as a consequence, he suffered clots in his lungs . He needed another surgery, just for that. After seven monthshe returned to politics. To get through that time of complications, he only concentrated on one thing: reminding himself that he had been through much worse things in his life.

In 1972, when he was about to start the first of his six terms for Delaware in the Senate, his wife, Neilia Hunter, and their baby daughter, Naomi, were killed in a car accident, while their two sons, Beau and Hunter were seriously injured. A historic photo has made the rounds of the media in recent weeks: at 29, the youngest senator ever elected was sworn in to his seat in the hospitalwhere she cared for the little survivors of what had been her family.

Joe Biden's last career: political experience , the virtue of the predictable and a life full of troubles

After being widowed and losing a daughter in 1972, Biden commuted daily back and forth between Wilmington and Washington DC so that he could be with his other two children, Beau and Hunter, and work. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Since then he became known as the senator with the most train-hours in the chamber: he traveled there and back every day between Wilmington and Washington DCto be able to be with their children, take them to school in the morning and put them to bed at night. For five years she raised them alone, with the help of her sister Valerie and other relatives; After that time, and after a not very long courtship, he married his current wife, Jill Biden, a tertiary education teacher, with whom he had another daughter, Ashley, in 1981.< /p>

Biden's long career has earned him various criticisms along the way, some of which was reignited, together, on the occasion of his candidacy. Even his running mate, Kamala Harris, chided him, when they were still contenders in the primaries: “I don't think you're a racist, but…” he began his speech about how he had collaborated with legislators who opposed school bus programs to reduce segregation in access “In California there was a second-class girl, who was transported thanks to those programs. That girl was me,” he told her.

Joe Biden's last career: political experience, the virtue of the predictable and a life full of troubles

“We can put an end to a presidency that has failed to protect the country,” said Joe Biden. “We can put an end to a presidency that has fueled the fires of hate at every opportunity.” (REUTERS/Marco Bello)

Biden defended himself: he had always believed in the importance of working together with those who think differently to push laws forward, and many times he had accepted a very low common denominator. But the matter came to nothing when both were integrated into the Democratic bid for the vice presidency and the presidency. In any case, another outstanding issue was that in 1994 Biden was among the main promoters of a anti-crime law that today is considered basic for exaggerated sentences and the problem of mass incarceration, which greatly affects African-Americans.

In 2003, Biden voted in favor of the invasion of Iraq, which was promoted by Republican President George W. Bush, recall his critics. Another controversial episode was his intervention in the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas , who had then been accused by Anita Hill of sexual harassment; Hill went through an ordeal of statements, almost unheard.

He himself was accused of unwanted physical contact by many voters, and in 2019 a former member of his staff, Tara Reade, said that she had felt uncomfortable around him in the Senate offices in the '90s; in 2020 she added that he had sexually assaulted her in 1993. Biden and his campaign denied each case. When making his candidacy official, moreover, the former vice president recognized a certain lack of sense regarding the proper social distance , and put it on account of his unreserved sympathy. He promised to be more aware and careful.

Joe Biden's last career: political experience, the virtue of the predictable and a life fraught with trouble

The favorite de facto also pays no attention to criticism of its neglect. More important things are at stake in the presidency: somehow the competition —which will be, win or lose, his last one— is closely associated with the memory of his eldest son, Beau< /b>, which convinced him to try again and soon after died of brain cancer, aged 46, in 2015.

His other son, Hunter, has been at the center of political controversy in recent days, since two weeks ago the New York Post published an email that Vadym Pozharskyi, number three of the Burisma company, would have sent to Hunter, who was paid as an advisor to that Ukrainian company, when the candidate was Acting Vice President: “Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to Washington DC and giving me the opportunity to meet your fatherand spend some time with him. It is truly an honor and a pleasure.” The correspondence contradicted Biden, who has denied both the encounter and Hunter's role in what could be considered influence peddling.

Although Hunter Biden did not was accused of nothing, Trump did not miss the opportunity to stir up the issue which, moreover, was revealed by the president's personal lawyer, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. With a voting intention of 50.7% against 44% of the president, Biden has tried not to talk about the matter. His message has been positive —the return to many measures and many policies from his years with Obama , erased in the first 100 days of Trump's government— and an attack on his opponent . “We can put an end to a presidency that has failed to protect the country,” he said. “We can put an end to a presidency that has fueled the fires of hate at every opportunity.”

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