Foreign Affairs

Is Joe Biden the right candidate to face Trump?

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As it came to the final two candidates in the Democratic primary, between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, Biden was by far the most suitable candidate to face Trump in the upcoming presidential election. A centrist candidate which all Democrats can rally behind, with plenty of experience to handle the job of being president.

After four years of Trump, who has been the most disruptive president in US history – voters may now be looking for a return to pragmatism and sensible politics. Biden perfectly encapsulates this and his appeal to voters as a ‘catch-all’ candidate will be integral in doing this. His working class background can win back votes in key battleground states such as Pennsylvania (where Biden was born), as well as his popularity amongst the African-American electorate can energise the Democrat’s core voters.

Bernie Sanders would not be able to achieve this, taking into consideration his radical policies that seem completely wayward – instead gradual change must be the answer.

As we have seen from the current COVID-19 crisis, Trump has handled the situation timidly. First playing down the whole pandemic and only a few days later ramping up measures significantly to control the virus. This has not only demonstrated inconsistent leadership, but also the fact he lost control in communicating his message to the American people.

Some have rushed to use their Second Amendment right to militarise in case the Federal Government become tyrannical, whilst others head to Florida for their Spring Break. Quite rightly, Biden has attacked Trump on this issue through advertisements – where the US is now the epicentre of COVID-19.

Biden is one whom the majority of American people would listen to and take his message seriously in times of crisis. The president is the leader of the Free World, and we have not seen this leadership from Trump on this international crisis and the return of American isolationism continues to be apparent throughout his presidency. This could have been an opportunity for Trump to be a beacon of hope, which Biden would fully grasp and understand the responsibility that comes with it.

While Biden may have been the choice between him and Sanders, it wasn’t necessarily the right choice amongst the other candidates. Pete Buttigieg for me seemed the best candidate overall to face Trump. At the age of 38, Buttigieg would have been a breath of fresh air for the Democrats and a chance to give someone new to heal the in-fighting within the Party.

With Biden being a Washington-insider, Trump could simply use the same strategy with Clinton and other experienced politicians by stating that they are a part of the establishment and do not have the electorate’s interests at heart.

There can also be legitimate questions asking whether Biden has the stamina to be president considering he is now 77. The job of being president, but also the campaign to actually win the presidency can be an immense strain on a candidate’s physical and mental well-being.

Buttigieg can also be found at the centre-ground identifying as a democratic capitalist and hinting at the idea of increasing defence spending, and has had a wide career in such a short space of time. Attending both Harvard and Oxford, Buttigieg has a stellar academic record and soon after worked for management consulting firm, McKinsey.

Moreover, he became an intelligence officer for the Navy Reserve and was deployed to Afghanistan for 7 months in 2014. And in 2012, he took office as mayor of South Bend becoming the youngest mayor of a US city with at least 100,000 residents at age 29. It is clear Buttigieg has had a life outside of politics, alongside the capabilities to hold political office.

Meanwhile Biden had been a Senator for 36 years, nearly the same age as Buttigieg, and served as Obama’s vice president. Biden also ran to be the Democrat’s nominee for president both in 1988 and 2008. There comes a time when a politician can burn out and regurgitate the same policies for years. Maybe it’s time to pass the baton to someone different, rather than the Democrats once again routing for a safe option to face Trump.

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