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Joe Biden 2020 presidential campaign

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Biden for President
Joe Biden 2020 presidential campaign logo.svg
Campaign2020 Democratic primaries
2020 U.S. presidential election
AffiliationDemocratic Party
  • Announced: April 25, 2019
  • Official launch: April 29, 2019
  • Presumptive nominee: April 8, 2020
HeadquartersPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania[1]
Key people
ReceiptsUS$178,442,968.60 [4] (December 31, 2019)
SloganRestore The Soul of America[5]
Our best days still lie ahead[6]
This is America[7]
We are America, second to none[8]
Anything is possible[9]
No Malarkey![10]

The 2020 presidential campaign of Joe Biden began on April 25, 2019, when he released a video announcing his candidacy in the 2020 Democratic party presidential primaries. Biden, the former vice president of the United States and a former U.S. senator from Delaware, had been the subject of widespread speculation as a potential 2020 candidate after declining to be a candidate in the 2016 election.

Biden is generally described as a moderate. His positions include codifying Roe v. Wade into statute, a public option for health insurance, decriminalization of recreational cannabis, passing the Equality Act, free community college, and a $1.7 trillion climate plan embracing the framework of the Green New Deal. He supports regulation as opposed to a complete ban on fracking.

As a former vice president, Biden entered the race with very high name recognition. From his campaign announcement up to the start of elections, he has been the candidate most identified as the frontrunner. He led most national polls through 2019, but did not rank as one of the top three candidates in either the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses or the New Hampshire Democratic primary. He won a landslide victory in the 2020 South Carolina Democratic primary on February 29, 2020, which was widely seen as reinvigorating his campaign. In March, Biden was endorsed by 10 of his former competitors, bringing the total number of such endorsements to 12. Biden earned enough delegates on Super Tuesday 2020 to pull ahead of Senator Bernie Sanders. On April 8, after Sanders suspended his campaign, Biden became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. On June 5, Biden reached the required number of delegates, including both pledged delegates and superdelegates, to become the nominee.


Previous presidential campaigns

Biden's 2020 presidential campaign is his third attempt to seek election for president of the United States.[11] His first campaign was made in the 1988 Democratic Party primaries where he was initially considered one of the potentially strongest candidates. However, newspapers revealed plagiarism by Biden in law school records and in speeches, a scandal which led to his withdrawal from the race in September 1987.[12]

He made the second attempt during the 2008 Democratic Party primaries, where he focused on his plan to achieve political success in the Iraq War through a system of federalization. Like his first presidential bid, Biden failed to garner endorsements and support. He withdrew from the race after his poor performance in the Iowa caucus on January 3, 2008. He was eventually chosen by Barack Obama as his running mate and won the general election as vice president of the United States, being sworn in on January 20, 2009.


Vice President Joe Biden was seen as a potential candidate to succeed Barack Obama in the 2016 presidential election. On October 21, 2015, following the death of his son Beau, Biden announced that he would not seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.[13][14]

During a tour of the United States Senate with reporters on December 5, 2016, Biden refused to rule out a potential bid for the presidency in the 2020 presidential election.[15][16] He reasserted his ambivalence about running on an appearance of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on December 7, in which he stated "never say never" about running for president in 2020, while also admitting he did not see a scenario in which he would run for office again.[17][18] He seemingly announced on January 13, 2017, exactly one week prior to the expiration of his vice presidential term, that he would not run.[19] However, four days later, he seemed to backtrack, stating "I'll run if I can walk."[20] In September 2017, Biden's daughter Ashley indicated her belief that he was thinking about running in 2020.[21]

Time for Biden

Time for Biden.png

Time for Biden, a political action committee, was formed in January 2018, seeking Biden's entry into the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries.[22][23]

The PAC was created by Matthew Graf of Rock Island, Illinois and Collin West of East Moline, Illinois.[24][25] Although it sought Biden's entry into the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries, it was not affiliated with or sponsored by Biden himself.[26] The founders also stated that if Biden announced, a run of the committee said resources would be merged with the campaign.[27]

The organization was criticized by some, who felt it was created too early and that Democratic effort should be spent on the 2018 midterm elections.[28]

Considering his options

In February 2018, Biden informed a group of longtime foreign policy aides that he was "keeping his 2020 options open".[29]

In March 2018, Politico reported that Biden's team was considering a number of options to distinguish their campaign, such as announcing at the outset a younger vice presidential candidate from outside of politics,[30] and also reported that Biden had rejected a proposition to commit to serving only one term as president.[30] On July 17, 2018, he told a forum held in Bogota, Colombia, that he would decide if he would formally declare as a candidate by January 2019.[31] On February 4, with no decision having been forthcoming from Biden, Edward-Isaac Dovere of The Atlantic wrote that Biden was "very close to saying yes" but that some close to him are worried he will have a last-minute change of heart, as he did in 2016.[32] Dovere reported that Biden was concerned about the effect another presidential run could have on his family and reputation, as well as fundraising struggles and perceptions about his age and relative centrism compared to other declared and potential candidates.[32] Conversely, his "sense of duty", offense at the Trump presidency, the lack of foreign policy experience among other Democratic hopefuls and his desire to foster "bridge-building progressivism" in the party were said to be factors prompting him to run.[32]



On March 12, 2019, he told a gathering of his supporters he may need their energy "in a few weeks".[33] Five days later, Biden accidentally revealed that he would be a candidate at a dinner in Dover, Delaware.[34]

On April 19, 2019, The Atlantic reported that Biden planned to officially announce his campaign five days later via a video announcement, followed by a launch rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or Charlottesville, Virginia.[35] In the days before his expected launch, several major Democratic donors received requests to donate to his campaign committee, to be named "Biden for President".[36] Subsequent reports indicated that Biden's plans remained uncertain, with no known launch date, locations for campaign rallies, or permits for an event in Philadelphia; associates continued to plan a fundraiser on April 25 in Philadelphia hosted by Comcast executive vice president David L. Cohen, but it was unclear whether the fundraiser would be held as planned,[37][38] though his associates had continued to solicit donations in the days leading up to his announcement.[39] On April 23, it was reported that Biden would formally enter the race two days later,[40] so as to avoid overshadowing a forum focusing on women of color held the day before.[41] The campaign reserved the Teamsters Local 249 union hall in Pittsburgh for April 29.[42]

Biden released a video formally announcing his campaign early on April 25, 2019.[43] On May 22, the magazine Ebony reported that Biden had begun assembling his 2020 presidential campaign team, to be headquartered in Philadelphia. His team includes campaign manager Greg Schultz[44] and director of strategic communications Kamau Mandela Marshall, who both previously worked in the Obama administration,[45][46] as well as other senior advisors from the Obama administration.[47] Additionally, on May 31, the Biden campaign announced that Congressman Cedric Richmond would join the campaign as the national co-chairman.[2]

Fundraising and strategy

Campaigning in Marshalltown, Iowa

On April 26, 2019, Biden's campaign announced that they had raised $6.3 million in the first 24 hours, surpassing all other candidates' first 24-hour fundraising totals for the Democratic presidential nomination at that time.[48] Biden's fundraising came from 128,000 unique contributors, equivalent to that of Beto O'Rourke's campaign, but about 40% lower than that of Bernie Sanders, who had 223,000 unique contributors in the first 24 hours of his campaign.[49]

According to a Politico article, the Biden campaign is running a campaign on the premise that the Democratic base is not nearly as liberal or youthful as perceived. Privately, several Biden advisers acknowledge that their theory is based on polling data and voting trends, contending that the media is pushing the idea of a hyper-progressive Democratic electorate being propagated by a Twitter bubble and being out of touch with the average rank-and-file Democrat. In April 2019, Biden told reporters, "The fact of the matter is the vast majority of the members of the Democratic Party are still basically liberal to moderate Democrats in the traditional sense." Biden also described himself as an "Obama-Biden Democrat". An unspecified Biden adviser said, "There's a big disconnect between the media narrative and what the primary electorate looks like and thinks, versus the media narrative and the Twitter narrative [and] the Democratic primary universe is far less liberal. It's older than you think it is." From April 25 to May 25, 2019, Biden's campaign spent 83% of his total $1.2 million Facebook ad funding on targeting voters 45 years and older. No other top 2020 Democratic candidate has pursued a similar strategy in the primary.[50]

Biden, along with Bernie Sanders, has often been perceived as the candidate with the best chance of defeating Donald Trump in the general election.[51] According to The Washington Post, this may be because of his more moderate policies, or it may be because voters or party leaders believe a white male candidate is more "electable".[52] Joe Biden said that his late son Beau should be running instead of him if he were alive.[53][54][55] Biden led most national polls through 2019.[56][57]

Early primary election results

During the Iowa caucuses held on February 3, 2020, Biden came in fourth place, earning six pledged delegates.[58] In the New Hampshire primary held on February 11, Biden came in fifth place and did not earn any delegates due to his failure to meet the required 15% eligibility threshold.[59] After poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, some media outlets questioned whether Biden's status as the most electable candidate was accurate.[60]

Biden won the South Carolina primary election held on February 29. Biden won all 46 counties in the state, winning 48.7% of the popular vote and earning 39 delegates.[61] The win was largely attributed to his support from 61% of African-American voters (African-American voters make up approximately 60% of the Democratic electorate in South Carolina).[62] Before the primary on February 26, Jim Clyburn endorsed Biden.[63] Many cited Clyburn's endorsement as a reason for Biden's wide margin of victory, as Clyburn's endorsement is a deciding factor for many African American voters in South Carolina. Thirty-six percent of all primary voters said that they made their decision after Clyburn's endorsement; of that total, 70% voted for Biden.[64][65] According to FiveThirtyEight, the outcome significantly boosted Biden's chance of winning multiple Super Tuesday states (especially southern states like North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia).[66]

On the Super Tuesday primary elections on March 3, Biden won Alabama, Arkansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, earning a total of 458 delegates,[67] and pulling ahead of Bernie Sanders in the race.[68] According to an exit poll, Biden received a substantial amount of support from voters who made up their minds in the last few days before the election. Late voters also preferred a candidate who they believed could defeat Trump more than one who agreed with them on issues.[69]

In early March, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Michael Bloomberg dropped out of the race and endorsed Biden.[70][71][72] Beto O'Rourke, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, who both suspended their campaign months before, also endorsed him.[73] On March 9, CNN reported that Biden had a double-digit lead over Sanders in a nationwide poll.[74] In mid-March, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the scheduled primaries were postponed. Aides to both Biden's and Sanders's campaigns have been in contact regarding the pandemic and its effects.[75]

Final debate and presumed nomination

Leading up to the 11th Democratic presidential debate, Biden announced two new progressive policies: making public colleges and universities tuition-free for students of families whose income is less than $125,000, and allowing for student loan debts to default during bankruptcy.[76] The debate was held on March 15, 2020, and was the first to feature only the race's two lead finalists. Biden announced that if he secured the nomination, he would choose a female running mate, having previously hinted as much by naming several contenders.[77][a] On April 3, Biden announced that his campaign would unveil a committee to vet prospective vice presidential candidates later in the month.[78]

On March 25, when asked whether he would debate Sanders again, Biden said, "My focus is just dealing with this crisis right now. I haven't thought about any more debates. I think we've had enough debates. I think we should get on with this."[79] On April 8, after Sanders suspended his campaign, Biden became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. The next day, a former Senate staffer made a sexual assault allegation against Biden, which his campaign denied.[80][81] On May 1, Biden stated that the allegation was false and requested that the secretary of the Senate work with the National Archives and Records Administration to identify and release any relevant documents.[82]

On July 4, Politico reported that Trump was "trailing [Biden] by double digits in recent polls".[83] The same day, musician and entrepreneur Kanye West announced his campaign for the presidency. According to the Los Angeles Times, "It's unclear whether West has filed any of the necessary paperwork to formally join the race between incumbent Donald Trump — for whom West has expressed admiration", and this "might be part of an effort to draw Black supporters away from Biden to help Trump."[84]


As tracked by FiveThirtyEight, Biden has received the most support from prominent members of the Democratic Party out of all Democratic candidates in the 2020 presidential election.[85] Biden has received endorsements from 12 former candidates in the 2020 race, including Pete Buttigieg, Michael Bloomberg, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Beto O'Rourke, Andrew Yang, and others.[86] On April 14, 2020, after Biden was the only remaining major candidate for the Democratic nomination, former president Barack Obama endorsed him.[87] On April 27, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi endorsed him.[88] On April 28, former 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton endorsed him.[89]

Political positions

Although generally referred to as a moderate, Biden has declared himself as the candidate with the most progressive record.[90]

Social issues


On May 21, 2019, a Biden campaign aide told the Associated Press that Biden would support immediate federal legislation codifying Roe v. Wade into statute.[91] On June 5, 2019, the Biden campaign confirmed to NBC News that Biden still supports the Hyde Amendment, something no other Democratic presidential candidate came out in support of. Biden's campaign also told NBC News that Biden would be open to repealing the Hyde Amendment if abortion access protections currently under Roe v. Wade were threatened.[92] On June 6, 2019, Biden, at the Democratic National Committee's African American Leadership Council Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, said he now supports repealing the Hyde Amendment, crediting his change in position, in part, to recent efforts by Republicans passing anti-abortion state laws, which he called "extreme laws". Also at the summit, he focused on economic inequality for African Americans, education access, criminal justice reform, healthcare, and voter suppression in the south.[93][94]


Biden supports the decriminalization, but not legalization, of recreational cannabis usage. Biden said he believes no one should be in jail because of cannabis use. As president, he would decriminalize cannabis use and automatically expunge prior convictions.[95][96][97] He supports the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes, leaving decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states, and recategorizing cannabis as a Schedule II drug so researchers can study its impacts. Every other Democratic presidential candidate supported the full federal legalization of cannabis, with the exception of Michael Bloomberg.[98][99]

Capital punishment

On June 20, 2019, following the first federal death sentence since 2003, Biden came out against capital punishment, supporting the repeal of both federal- and state-level death sentence statutes. He argued that with the death penalty, there is a risk of executing a wrongfully convicted person; Biden had previously supported capital punishment.[100][101]


In 2018, Biden said he supported a universal pre-kindergarten program.[102] He unveiled a higher education plan in October 2019, which includes two years of guaranteed free community college or other training, and cuts to student loan obligations. Unlike some of his rivals, he initially did not support four years of free college tuition,[103] but later reversed this for students of families whose income is less than $125,000, as well as allowing student loan debts to default during bankruptcy.[76]

Although the Obama administration promoted charter schools, Biden criticized some charter schools for funneling money away from public schools in a May 2019 speech, and said that he opposes federal funds for for-profit charter schools.[104]


On July 5, 2019, Biden told CNN he did not support decriminalizing illegal entry into the United States, a position that puts him at odds with many of his 2020 Democratic rivals.[105] He released a plan to reform the immigration system in December 2019, which includes a reversal of the Trump administration's deportation policies, a pathway to citizenship for about 11 million undocumented immigrants, and expansions in work visas and refugee admissions.[106]

LGBTQ issues

On June 1, 2019, Biden gave a keynote address to hundreds of activists and donors at the Human Rights Campaign's annual Ohio gala. He declared his top legislative priority was passing the Equality Act. He attacked Donald Trump for banning transgender troops in the U.S. military, allowing individuals in the medical field to deny treating LGBTQ individuals, and allowing homeless shelters to deny transgender occupants.[107]

Economic issues


On June 4, 2019, the Biden campaign released a $1.7 trillion climate plan that embraced the framework of the Green New Deal.[108] The plan called for the US to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier, and help coal workers to transition into jobs created from a clean-energy economy. Biden supports the development of carbon capture and storage and small modular reactors to reduce emissions.[109] On September 4, 2019, during a CNN climate change town hall, Biden said he does not support banning fracking for natural gas, distancing himself from some of his Democratic presidential rivals, but said he would ban new fracking permits and evaluate existing ones to determine their safety.[110]


On July 16, 2019, Biden called for additional funding to construct rural hospitals, increase telehealth services in rural communities, and provide incentives for doctors to practice in rural areas, also known as medical deserts in the United States.[111]

On April 29, 2019, Biden came out in favor of a public option for health insurance and outlawing non-compete clauses for low-wage workers.[112]


Biden released his infrastructure plan on November 14, 2019, calling for investments of $1.3 trillion on infrastructure overhaul. The plan involves investments in the restoration of roads, bridges and highways, encouraging greater adoption of rail transport and electric vehicles. It also includes water pipe replacements, increases in broadband coverage, and updates to schools.[113]


On June 17, 2019, Biden appeared at the Poor People's Campaign Presidential Forum in Washington, D.C. to discuss proposals for the funding of poverty alleviation programs, but at a fundraiser in New York the following day reassured wealthy donors that he would not "demonize" the rich and said, "no one's standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change."[114]


Comments on segregationists

While at a fundraiser on June 18, 2019, Biden said one of his greatest strengths was "bringing people together" and pointed to his relationships with Senators James Eastland and Herman Talmadge, two segregationists, as examples. While imitating a Southern drawl, Biden remarked "I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland. He never called me 'boy,' he always called me 'son.'"[115][116] Biden's Democratic opponents criticized the remarks, specifically the use of the word "boy".[116] In response, Biden said that he was not meaning to use the term "boy" in its derogatory racial context.[117]

During the first Democratic presidential debate, Kamala Harris criticized Biden for his comments regarding his past work with segregationist senators and his past opposition to desegregation busing, which had allowed black children like her to attend integrated schools.[118] Biden was widely criticized for his debate performance and support for him dropped 10 points.[119][120][121] President Trump defended Biden, saying Harris was given "too much credit" for her debate with Biden.[122]

Controversial remarks

Biden has a history of "verbal fumbles", which became an issue in the 2020 campaign.[123] In 2018, Biden said he was "a gaffe machine" but disagreed with comparisons to Trump, saying his gaffe-prone nature was "a wonderful thing compared to a guy who can't tell the truth".[124] On August 26, 2019, Biden addressed the controversy. After he stumbled over where he had spoken earlier that day, he looked directly at the assembled press and said, "I want to be clear: I'm not going nuts."[125]

In December 2019, after a man asked him a question about Hunter Biden's ties to Ukraine, Biden called him a "damn liar" and "too old to vote for me". He also reportedly called him "fat",[126][127] but the Biden campaign claimed he had said "look, facts", rather than "look, fat".[128] A campaign spokesperson argued, "That's the kind of fire that we need" to beat Trump in the election.[129]

In February 2020, a university student asked Biden to explain why he had come fourth in the Iowa caucus when he had claimed to be the most electable candidate. Biden responded by asking her if she had ever been to a caucus before. She said yes, and he called her "a lying, dog-faced pony soldier", a phrase he has used before in reference to an unidentified, possibly nonexistent John Wayne movie.[130][131][132]

In March 2020, Biden, when accused of being anti-gun rights, called the questioner "full of shit" and when further provoked, said, "Don't be such a horse's ass."[133] The NRA criticized Biden for alleging that automatic guns, apparently including the semi-automatic AR-15, should be banned. A spokesman from Biden's campaign was pleased with the exchange.[134]

In May 2020, during an interview on The Breakfast Club radio show that CBS News described as "contentious", Biden remarked "If you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black".[135][136][137][138] He later apologized for his remarks.[139]

False statements

In February, Biden claimed several times he was arrested on his way to see Nelson Mandela in South Africa.[140] Biden has faced scrutiny over the claims, and later admitted he had not been arrested. His campaign communications director Kate Bedingfield clarified that “he was separated” from the rest of the Congressional Black Caucus delegation he was traveling with, not arrested.[141]

On March 22, during a live debate, Biden stated that he never called for social security cuts,[142] a statement that his critics assert is false.[143]

In a virtual town hall with CNN on March 27, Biden said that the Trump administration had not made an effort to send U.S. medical experts to China to investigate the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019, a claim characterized as false. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar had said at a January 28 press conference, "On January 6, we offered to send a CDC team to China that could assist with these public health efforts."[144]

In May 2020, Biden stated he has been endorsed by NAACP, a claim the organization denied.[137][145]

Trump–Ukraine scandal

In 2019, Trump allegedly attempted to coerce Ukraine and other foreign countries to investigate Joe Biden's son Hunter. Trump enlisted surrogates within and outside his official administration, including his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr, to pressure Ukraine and other foreign governments to cooperate in supporting conspiracy theories concerning American politics.[146][147][148] Trump blocked but later released payment of a congressionally mandated $400 million military aid package to allegedly obtain quid pro quo cooperation from Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine. A number of contacts were established between the White House and the government of Ukraine, culminating in a phone call between Trump and Zelensky on July 25, 2019.[146][149]

The scandal resulted in Trump's impeachment on charges of abusing the power of his office and obstructing Congress,[150] and his ultimate acquittal by the Senate.[151] To date, there has been no evidence produced of any wrongdoing by the Bidens.[152]

In October 2019, CNN refused to run an ad for the Donald Trump 2020 presidential campaign, saying it includes false claims against Biden.[153] Fox News rejected a similar request from the Biden 2020 presidential campaign.[154]



  1. ^ This would be the third female vice presidential candidate in history, and the first female vice president if elected.[77]


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