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How electable is Joe Biden?

The views expressed in this article are the views of the author.

Many consider former Vice President Joe Biden to be everything that’s wrong with politics. He is dated, in every sense of the word. His reputation is marred by decades of gaffes, political incorrectness, and all-around concerning behavior. He brings nothing new to the table, but markets himself on a sense of “stability” and “electability.” He has the personality of a plain bowl of oatmeal and the tact of that boisterous uncle at Thanksgiving dinner.

Joe Biden is old. Old old. He would be 77 at the time of the inauguration, making him a good seven years older than the oldest president to date, Donald Trump (sworn in at 70). Physical age aside, he’s been in the game for a while. Biden served as the Delaware senator for six consecutive terms, from 1972 to 2008, when he stepped down to run for vice president alongside Barack Obama. In 1972, he was the sixth most junior senator ever elected; by 2008, he was the fourth most senior. He served as Vice President of the United States for eight years. He’s been around longer than turkey-necked Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and resident Capitol poltergeist Senator Orrin Hatch.

Political scandal and controversy are nothing new to Biden. During his first campaign for presidency in 1987, he falsely claimed to have marched in the Civil Rights Movement, lied and exaggerated his success at law school, and plagiarized several speeches

When he ran again for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination, the same lack of filter and tact caused him trouble. Biden referred to fellow candidate Barack Obama as “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” and boasted of his support among the Indian-American community, saying, “I’ve had a great relationship. In Delaware…you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.” Clearly, many people have found these comments upsetting, but Biden simply issued an acknowledgment and non-apology in each case, saying he did not mean to be offensive.

Of course, his verbose and off-the-cuff comments don’t only cause him trouble on the campaign trail. New York Times journalist, James Traub, remarked that “Biden’s vanity and his regard for his own gifts seem considerable even by the rarefied standards of the U.S. Senate.” 

Just this past Thursday, at the LGBTQ town hall, he made a joke about coming out and offered several strange and irrelevant comments regarding stereotypes about the gay community, such as “We talked about this in San Francisco, it was all about, you know, gay bathhouses. It’s all about round the clock sex … c’mon man!”

Of course, no analysis of Joe Biden would be complete without mentioning his lack of respect for personal space. Prolonged hugging, sniffing hair, touching foreheads — Biden’s done it all. SNL’s made skits about it. Multiple times. Within the past year, eight women have accused Biden of engaging in inappropriate and unwelcome physical contact. While Biden has acknowledged these allegations, he continues to issue a very firm non-apology each time, stating that he regretted making anyone feel uncomfortable but “I’m not sorry for my intentions, I’m not sorry for anything I’ve ever done.”

Joe Biden is not electable. He doesn’t have the championed youth support of Bernie Sanders, the extensive track record of Kamala Harris, or the likeability or cohesive policy of Elizabeth Warren. The makeup of Congress is evolving. When Biden took office in 1972, there were 17 female and 27 non-white representatives; today, there are 127 female and 114 non-white representatives. Additionally, ten current members of Congress identify as members of the LGBTQ community.

The past midterm elections clearly showed that the Democratic party is looking for a change. The congressional freshman class of 2018 is the most diverse ever elected, with the youngest female representative, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), first two female Muslim representatives, Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and the first two female indigenous representatives, Deb Haaland (D-NM) and Sharice Davids (D-KS).

Joe Biden has none of these traits. He is an old, white, stagnant member of the government who is just another politician who has overstayed his welcome. Compared to the politics of his fellow candidates, his history and conviction are weak. At best, Biden is a good standard, middle-of-the-road candidate. But those politicians don’t win elections anymore. The presidential candidate we need is someone who has a strong personality, good leadership skills, clear policies and the ability to excite the country into voting. Joe Biden just isn’t it.