– Once upon a time, two brothers. One became a sailor and the other a vice president of the United States. Nothing was ever heard from either again.

That joke was once told by the 28th Vice President of the United States Thomas Marshall (1854–1925), and also the ex-vice president who is now running for president Joe Biden has since quoted it.

The office of vice president was established in the late 18th century, and Marshall’s statement was true of a good journey into the 20th century. For a long time, the office was mostly ceremonial. At first, it was not even clear that the vice president would take over the presidency if he died in the middle of the term. That practice was not enshrined in the Constitution until 1967, although in practice it had always been so William Henry Harrison from his death in 1841.

Today, vice presidents have both visibility and power.

– The post has changed a lot. The vice presidents organize a wealth of political events, travel around the country and the world, and are very deep in matters of national security. Visibility comes with a political role. If we look at the time when Biden was a senator, the number of people who had no opinion about him or who did not know him was quite large, a professor of law Joel K. Goldstein commented on Time magazine.

FDR started the change

So the days of the 29th Vice President and the 30th President are also far away Calvin Coolidge sculpted that he enjoyed his time as vice president, as work never disrupted his mandatory 11-hour dreams.

The heralds of change had been elected president in 1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt. The FDR, which served as president for four seasons, took its vice president to cabinet-level meetings. Despite this, Truman, who inherited the presidency after Roosevelt’s death in 1945, felt that nothing had prepared him for the country’s most important post.

“It was like the moon, the stars and all the planets had fallen on me,” Truman said at the time.

Sure, Truman had been kept in the dark about the toughest core of power and got into the role of top decision-maker at a difficult time, in the final moments of World War II, on the eve of the Cold War. By his decision, the United States, for example, dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Followed Truman in 1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower was horrified by this example. President Eisenhower, who suffered from heart problems, among other things, was concerned about his own health and anointed his vice president, by the way Richard Nixonin, pre-secrets of the presidency in case he has to step aside.

However, a president was still needed John F. Kennedyn assassination that Parliament committed Appendix 25 to the Constitution, which clarified the role of the Vice-President by law. Finally since 1977 and Walter Mondalesta the vice president became a key part of the administration.

Biden would only be second

In the course of history The 14 Vice-Presidents have become President: eight because the president died during his term, and one because the president resigned in the middle of the term. In other words, only five vice presidents have been elected president so that they have not become presidents for the reasons mentioned above before the election.

If Biden now wins the election, he would only be the second vice president elected as president who has not held either post at the time of the election. The first was Nixon, who began as president in 1969, losing the extremely tight 1960 election to Kennedy.

However, Goldstein, who has written numerous books on the U.S. presidential institution, finds these statistics misleading, and Biden cannot be fully compared even to Nixon.

– Biden is a former vice president who served under a popular president and who left the presidency when he was popular, and did not aspire to become president immediately but only after four years. In addition, he had an unusual situation with his son (Beau Biden, d. 2015) with illness and death, and how he persevered nonetheless. In modern times, if the president is popular, and really, even if he is not, the vice presidency tends to be a stepping stone. That’s what it was for Nixon, Goldstein explains.

The difference to Nixon comes from the selection process. Nixon was not made a presidential candidate because he won the party’s primary election under current practice, but because he was favored by the party elite.

According to Goldstein, the time between the vice presidency and the presidential campaign is even useful. In this way, the candidate is better able to present himself and not just as an extension of the previous president.

– It is difficult for a party to win three times in a row, which is a problem if you run for president right away. Your hands are tied, you can do little to criticize and make a difference to the president, or position yourself as a leader.

Benefit from Obama

Time does not always help. Walter Mondale failed in 1984 Ronald Reagania against, and Dan Which soon threw a towel into the perimeter in 1996 when the wall rose. According to Goldstein, the time of both as second men in the White House brought a ballast, as their president, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush were unpopular.

“Biden doesn’t have this problem because Obama left when he was very popular and Biden has never abandoned his brand as vice president,” Goldstein says.

So Biden will benefit greatly from his time as Obama’s vice president. Goldstein sees the vice presidency as the best stepping stone, but not a guarantee. There are two good examples from recent decades. HW Bush won immediately after the Reagan seasons in 1988, and in 2000 Bill Clintonin to the Vice-President Al Gorelle went bad when he lost about 500 votes to Florida and the same election To George W. Bush.

“I would think that if Democratic presidential candidates were asked if they would rather run for president as former vice presidents, senators, governors, congressmen, or mayors, each of them would answer that as vice president,” Goldstein says.

The vice presidency is therefore an excellent starting point for elections, but one starting point goes beyond that: presidency. The incumbent president always has a considerable advantage.