To many, Joe Biden, the friendly sidekick of ex-President Barack Obama, would make a tremendous Democratic candidate for the upcoming 2020 election. Well-liked both in and out of office, with somewhat moderate political leanings, Biden has already accumulated a solid support base, despite not even having announced his official campaign. Throughout his years, both as a politician and as the Vice President, Biden has always seemed to be more sentimental than polished and eloquent—he is engaging, garrulous, and certainly expansive, all of which are signs pointing towards an even higher ceiling in politics. However, these traits have not only helped Biden secure a dedicated and loyal base of support, but they’ve also been harming him recently, thanks to modern political standards. I no longer believe that Biden should, and can, lead the Democrats to both short-term and long-term political dominance.
Earlier this year, Joe Biden spoke at the Munich Security Conference. In an impassioned declaration, he stated, “We will be back, we will be back,” referring to the United States’ supposed regression during the era of the Trump Administration. He was ready to lead the Democrats out of America’s past and beyond President Trump’s stubborn political ways. However, immediately following his speech, Biden transformed into an entirely different version of himself as he navigated through various questions—he held typed notes, answered questions succinctly and professionally, and became afraid of making mistakes. This is not the Biden that appears capable to lead the Democrats in 2020.
I see the second blow to Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign—allegations of sexual harassment—as the final nail hammered into the coffin of Joe Biden’s political career. Lucy Flores, a former candidate for lieutenant governor of Nevada, accused Biden of planting “a big slow kiss on the back of my head” at a campaign rally nearly five years ago. Other women have since followed suit, testifying that Biden has touched them inappropriately and without consent. These expressions of supposed encouragement and affection were deemed as creepy. Of course, Joe Biden is a 76-year-old high-profile white male, and these allegations are coming at a peak height of the #MeToo movement, all but worsening Biden’s presidential situation.
Many have defended Biden, citing the inopportune time of Ms. Flores’s testimony and how those actions may have been exaggerated. One actor, Alyssa Milano, even went as far as to say that, “I respect Lucy Flores’ decision to share her story and agree with Biden that we all must pay attention to it. But, just as we must believe women that decide to come forward, we cannot assume all women’s experiences are the same. I believe that Joe Biden’s intent has never been to make anyone uncomfortable and that his kind, empathetic leadership is what our country needs. Especially now.” Remember, this is the same woman who led the #IBelieveChristineBlaseyFord movement against Brett Kavanaugh.
Biden might have been an honest, forthright, and patriotic politician for all of his years in Washington D.C. However, given his behavioral changes and sexual harassment allegations, and in spite of his hopeful early poll numbers, he should withdraw from the 2020 presidential election. America needs kind, empathetic leadership, but it also needs conviction, strength, and determination, traits that Biden now seemingly lacks.
Constant discussions about improving leadership, both on the larger national level and at Andover, are crucial to the improvement and success of the functioning body for which leaders govern. We must actively decide for ourselves what kind of leaders we want at Andover and beyond.
We as a school, community, and nation, must figure out where Joe Biden belongs. I believe that his future in the political battlefield has pervasive implications for all types of leadership in the future. Joe Biden was the man who was ready to take the reigns, but unless he strives to endure harsh criticism and cutthroat scrutiny from both parties, Joe Biden should find other ways to help this country.