As we are now less than two months away from the 2020 Presidential Election, the time, it is said, that the standard American voter begins to truly tune into the candidate’s campaigns. Although we have seen COVID-19 effect nearly every single aspect of society, I contend that it has not affected the election. Of course, the argument over voter fraud and mail-in ballots has been ignited, but I digress.
For those whom do not know, or are living under a rock, former Vice President Joe Biden is challenging incumbent, or current, President Donald Trump in a race both have characterized, in some way, shape, or form, as a battle for the soul of this nation. One thing I have noticed, however, is the media seems to delve into the life and past of Trump however seem to leave Biden, as many on the right have complained, free to hide in the basement. As an effort to curb this effect, I will now attempt to offer and honest analysis of “Sleepy Joe.”
Biden began his career in politics almost a half century ago as the youngest Senator in the nation at the time, barely qualifying for the job, from the often-forgotten state of Delaware. This triumph, unfortunately, was quickly shrouded in tragedy as Biden’s first wife, Neilia Hunter-Biden, and first daughter, Naomi, were killed in a car accident just a week before Christmas 1972. Biden would continue to cite this incident and their memory as inspirations for him all throughout his career.
From 1973 to 2009, when he was sworn in as the 47th Vice President of the United States, Biden served in the Senate; and while his tenure there, at the time, was considered to be relatively typical and controversy free, this election cycle seemingly brought one the “auditing,” if you will, of his record. Those following the debates probably are thinking of Senator Kamala Harris of California and her crusade against Biden centered around the then-controversial busing of students from minority areas to white areas as in effort in integration in the 1970s. In addition, Harris made sure to press him on working with segregationists in the Senate; for his treatment of Anita Hill, a woman who alleged then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas sexually assaulted her, in the early 1990s; and his intense support of the 1994 crime bill that many have attributed to increased incarceration rates.
Interestingly enough, that is exactly who Biden choose to be his running mate last month. The woman who decried his character, lambasted him for being on the wrong side of history, and arguably accused him of once being a racist sympathizer. When Biden made the announcement I was not that surprised, as it had been hypothesized for weeks at that point that Harris was the nominee, not to mention the leaked photo showing by Biden holding a piece of paper with her name scrawled across the top. Nonetheless, a part of me felt as if he would defy media speculation and select a safer candidate.
Why do I say she was not safe? Besides the previous animosity between her and Biden, Harris was recently dubbed the most liberal senator, surprisingly surpassing Democratic-Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, but was also cited as quite conservative in posture during her time a San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general. Therefore, both wings of The Democratic Party, the moderates and progressives, have the potential to clash with Harris over these issues and more.
But as they say, the vice-presidential choice does not really matter; rather the man on the top of the ticket is sure to be of primary concern to most folks. With that said, Biden, despite his warm and fuzzy nature, is not without controversy himself. Besides the concerns pre-running mate Harris dredged up, many have also cited his habit of blatant plagiarism and problematic misstatements, questionable behavior around women, and newly ignited concerns over his mental acuity.
Though I typically do not like talking about politicians through an outdated view or a in a way irrelevant to their actual work, I do believe this last point deserves to be addressed. While most people who follow politics do so by watching the news and reading news articles, I, in addition to this, love to watch C-SPAN (a channel that shows sessions of Congress and other government events). The unfiltered nature of its programming has allowed me to gain a first-hand understanding of where Biden’s detractors are coming from with their concern about this mental state.
Very often I noticed Biden would start sentences that would go on for minutes, while addressing disparate, arguably unrelated topics. Usually this behavior his harmless, and quite humorous. For example, a couple months ago, Biden said President Trump should “wake up” in the most monotone and unexpressive way ever. Other times, however, Biden forgot where he was; and if want to attribute this to the rushed nature of campaign, there was yet another time (really multiple times) when the 77-year-old descended into pure gibberish as his voice trailed off.
Though there are arguments that come to a similar conclusion using a similar analysis of prose for Trump, he, at least to me, appears sharper—that is, he can process information faster. Just watch a clip of him versus Jeb Bush in 2016 and you will quickly see what I mean. But the question now is: Will America rather continue to have a president who quick, yet rather unhinged, or accept the challenger who appears to be slow, but honest? Only time will tell.