“We can turn the page on the grim and angry politics of the last four years,” the former US vice president promises. “The time has come to unite the country, to find ourselves as a nation. But I can’t do it without you. “
In one of his candid moments, Joe Biden recently declared that a defeat in front of the unpopular Republican billionaire would mean that he was “a pathetic candidate.”
It would be especially the cutting of a national career started at the age of 29, a sudden transition from triumph to pain.
A young senator-elect in his state of Delaware, dynamic and surrounded by his radiant family, celebrated his victory in November 1972. A month later, his wife and one-year-old daughter died in a car accident in which the two of his sons were injured.
This drama, and then the loss of the eldest son, in 2015, are the source of the empathy he offers to voters. Joe Biden made compassion one of the most famous features of his political character.
In 2020, the pride of its beginnings and the passion for passion are still here.
But the old lion of politics no longer wears well-tailored costumes from his glory days when he was Barack Obama’s vice president.
Her legs look fragile, and her white hair barely covers her head.
Some, including his supporters, feared that Joe Biden, who was prone to blunders and skidding, could sway or even collapse during the long battle with Donald Trump, a 74-year-old tribune with a more aggressive style.
The covid-19 pandemic, which suddenly paralyzed the campaign in March, deprived for months of one of its strengths, direct contact with voters.
At the end of August, he returned to a more sustained pace of travel, but strict observance of medical records restricted his presence on the ground. And according to his critics, it allowed him to run his campaign away from voters, often avoiding the press.
Donald Trump, who calls him “the sleeping Joe”, mocks questions “made for children” that journalists ask him and constantly attacks him on the form in which he is.
The stuttering and wandering of Joe Biden, who was stuttered as a child, is looped on the Twitter accounts of the “trumpeters.”
And the billionaire’s campaign team simply portrays the Democrat as a senile old man.
Barack Obama’s former right-hand man can oppose his triumphant victory in the Democratic primary, after a historic return to American politics.
Considered by some to be too old and too centered, Joe Biden suffered the first three stinging failures, after which he won by a large majority in South Carolina, with the help of African American voters, a cornerstone of any Democrat running for office. the White House armchair.
Strengthened by this victory, the candidate quickly gained the support of other moderates, and then defeated his great rival Bernie Sanders.
Unlike the hard and long battle in 2016 between this self-proclaimed socialist and Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden quickly managed to unite the left wing of the party, animated by the same goal, to beat Donald Trump.
It remains to be seen whether the moderate “unifier” will be able to keep its troops in case of a victory on November 3.
Despite the fact that Joe Biden is running, according to Barack Obama, with the “most progressive program” in the history of the American presidential election, some members of the left still consider him too “lukewarm”. And I grit my teeth when he talks about resuming dialogue with Republicans.
The third attempt was, in any case, the right one for this figure of the establishment, after the failure in the primary elections in 1988 and 2008.
On his first attempt, he was forced to quickly throw the towel in the ring after largely plagiarizing a speech.
Senator for over 35 years (1973-2009), and then vice president, from 2009 to 2017, the septuagenarian has been leading the aisles of power in Washington for decades.
It is a long political road, marked by controversial episodes, but also by the successes that agitate them today.
In the 1970s, in the midst of disintegration, he opposed the policy known as “busing”, which aimed to transport black children by bus to predominantly white schools in order to encourage mixing.
This position then pleased white voters in Delaware, but she will return to haunt him decades later, after black Senator Kamala Harris, then a rival in the Democratic primary, blamed her in a televised debate.
Showing that she is not “resentful”, Joe Biden chooses her as a race partner – the first black and Indian candidate to run for vice president of the United States.
Popular among African Americans, Joe Biden advocated, early in his career, as a local elected official in Wilmington, in favor of the development of social housing, to the great dissatisfaction of white people. And he often recounts how his experience as a lifeguard in a colorful neighborhood founded his political commitment.
Other episodes also affected his campaign for the White House seat – his vote in support of the Iraq war in 2003 or the agitated hearing in the Senate, under his leadership, of Anita Hill, who accused the candidate of Supreme Court Clarence Thomas for sexual harassment.
But also his strong support for the “crime law” of 1994, considered responsible for the explosion of the number of detainees, a large proportion of whom are African Americans.
“A mistake,” admits Joe Biden today, who insists on another part of this vast reform, namely a law against the violations to which women are subjected, of which he declares himself “the proudest.”
Since arriving at the White House with Barack Obama in the midst of the financial crisis, the former senator has been working to get Congress to adopt a huge $ 800 billion recovery plan.
It is a balance sheet that evokes it to show that it can relaunch, again, the economy affected by the covid-19 pandemic.
“He has been in politics for 47 years. He did nothing, except in 1994, when he did so much harm to the community of color. ”- Donald Trump is trying to present it as the product of the political“ swamp ”he constantly denounces.
Joe Biden replies that this election marks a choice between the working and middle classes he defends, and “Park Avenue,” the gleaming New York Boulevard, the symbol of the rich heir.
And he proudly emphasizes his modest origins.
Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was born on November 20, 1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
In the 1960s, the city, mining and industrial, went through a difficult phase. His father looks for work in neighboring Delaware, and then, after moving from one place to another, moves the whole family to Wilmington. Joe Biden is ten years old. He turns him into his fief.
“My father always said, ‘Champion, a man’s size is not given by the number of times he is knocked to the ground, but by the time he needs to get up,'” he constantly recalls.
His very tactile manners were denounced by women who considered these gestures out of place.
Promising to pay attention to the “personal space” of others from now on, the Democrat apologized in April 2019.
Accused of sexually assaulting or harassing more than ten women, Donald Trump has made very little comment on the serious allegations of a woman, Tara Reade, who accuses Joe Biden of assaulting her in the 1980s. But he flatly denies the allegations.
Campaigning for him in the four countries, his wife, Jill Biden, 69, remained discreet about the accusation.
A dynamic teacher, she is one of the best assets of the campaign. The couple married in 1977 and have a daughter, Ashley.
As children, their two surviving sons, Beau and Hunter, suggested they marry Jill, Joe Biden said in memoirs, saying that “she gave me back my life.”
“Proud of me”
Very close to his family, he often evokes the pain he feels after the death in 2015 of his eldest son, Beau Biden, due to brain cancer. “That will never go away.” This loss prevented him from running in the 2016 presidential election.
Widowed after the tragic car accident, Joe Biden took over as senator in January 1973 at the head of a hospital bed of his wounded sons.
Today he still often stops to greet firefighters, recalling that they “saved the lives” of his boys. And his.
In 1988, firefighters rushed him to the hospital after a ruptured aneurysm. His condition was considered so serious that a priest was called to give him the last sacraments.
A Catholic proud of his Irish origins, Joe Biden goes every Sunday or almost to the small church of St. Joseph on the Brandywine, in his wealthy Wilmington neighborhood.
There, in the cemetery, rest his parents, his first wife Neilia and his daughter Naomi, but also, a little further, under a tombstone decorated with American flags, Beau.
In January, Joe Biden confessed about his son: “Every morning I wake up and (…) I ask myself: ‘is he proud of me?'”