Joe Biden made history on January 20, 2021, not only by becoming the 46th President of the United States but also as the oldest person to ever take the position. On the first day of his presidency, Biden was 78 years and 61 days, older than Ronald Reagan at the end of his second term (77 years, 349 days). However, there are many other fascinating things about him, as he's been a factor in the United States politics for half a century! This means that Joe Biden was involved in a dozen presidential campaigns, and now is the time to rank the best of them in our top ten list!
10. 2000 United States Presidential Election
The year 2000 was pretty quiet for Biden when it comes to his ambitions. As he won the Senate election in 1996, he wasn't ready to give up that position. That's why his involvement in the 2000 United States Presidential Election was minimal, even though he did the job at his home turf.
The democratic candidate once again decidedly won in Delaware, with Al Gore claiming 55% of votes. That year, Gore had more total votes than George W. Bush but lost due to fewer electoral votes. Later, Biden commented on the case, often saying that Gore was the elected president while supporting his decision to accept the Supreme Court Decision in favor of Bush.
9. 1996 United States Presidential Election
1996 was a good year for Joe Biden, as he once again won the Senate election in Delaware with 60%, far ahead of Republican candidate Ray Clatworthy (38%). This was his fifth win in a row and one of his best results for the Senate election. As in 1996, the Presidential and Senate elections were held the same day, Biden never even expressed a desire to run for the president.
Once again, his involvement was pretty limited, but the Democratic party nominee Bill Clinton was victorious in Delaware. However, it was only a symbolic victory, as Clinton ended up with impressive 379 electoral votes. Since 1988, the Republican Party has never won in Delaware, which is often attributed to Joe Biden.
8. 1980 United States Presidential Election
In 1978, Biden obtained his second term in the Senate election in Delaware, easily beating the Republican candidate James H. Baxter Jr. At the time, Biden was 36, meaning that he was old enough to become a presidential candidate for the 1980 Election. The public didn't know about his ambitions, but he wrote about it later in his memoir "Promises to Keep." As he revealed, he wasn't very confident that it's a good idea from the first day. Biden thought that at 37, he was too young to win the elections and even become a candidate.
While he was encouraged by his friends and advisors to do it, one of them, John Martilla, made him decide against it. Martilla told Biden that he should consider running for the president once he can answer why he is running and what he wants to achieve if he wins.
7. 2004 United States Presidential Election
In 2002, Joe Biden entered the United States Senate election in Delaware, winning by quite a margin. With 58,2% votes, he defeated a Republican, Ray Clatworthy, who stopped at 40,8%. At the moment, Biden was a US senator for 24 years and decided to once again run for president.
That was quite a surprise, as at the moment, John Kerry was a huge favorite among Democrats. However, by August 2003, Biden left the race that hasn't even begun. As he explained, Kerry was already in a campaign long before him, so winning was almost impossible. Biden's best decision for the 2004 elections was to begin preparations for 2008 the moment Kerry suffered a defeat.
6. 2016 United States Presidental Election
Many media considered that 2016 was the last chance for Joe Biden to have a serious shot of becoming a president. After two very successful Vice President terms, pretty much everyone believed he'd at least be among the favorites to win the primaries. One of the reasons was history, as sitting vice presidents had a tendency to run for the president.
Biden expressed his willingness to challenge Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, but by the end of October 2015, he changed his mind. This decision could be expected, as he lost his son Beau only a few weeks earlier. However, he did endorse Clinton, who eventually won the primaries, but later lost the presidential election to Donald Trump.
5. 1984 United States Presidential Election
Joe Biden was wise enough to go against the idea of running for the US president in 1980, but four years later, he was ready for it – or he thought so. The 1984 Democratic National Convention was historic, as it was the first time that either Republicans or Democrats nominated a woman for a vice presidency (Representative Geraldine Ferraro of New York).
However, Joe Biden still seriously doubted himself, so his involvement was minimal until he finally pulled the plug. However, he was listed among the candidates, winning a single vote! Even long before the convention, it was believed that Walter Mondale would win it, which eventually happened. However, Biden won the United States Senate election that year.
4. 1988 United States Presidential Election
While 1984 was his first try, Biden's 1988 attempt was much more serious. Still unsure about his decision, Biden tested the waters, giving speeches in early voting states. While the response was fantastic, he later wrote in his memoirs that it contributed to his later mistakes. Now overconfident, he was sure that he could beat all other candidates but soon realized that won't happen. While desperately trying to improve his chances, he was a news report subject claiming that he plagiarized his speeches.
Things only became worse, as he had a similar case during his law school career. By September 1987, Biden was out of the race, but bizarrely, it was a thing that ultimately saved his life. During 1987, Biden suffered from repeated headaches and almost fainted during one of his speeches. In 1988, a brain aneurysm seriously threatened his life, as he was requiring major surgery. If his campaign continued, the chances of survival would be much lower. Despite everything, he still won two votes for the presidential nominations, twice as much as in 1984!
3. 2012 United States Presidential Election
The 2012 Democratic Party presidential primaries were nothing but a formal event for Joe Biden as a Vice President. As the current president, Barack Obama was largely unopposed, winning 88,9%. Even more formal was voting for the vice president, as Joe Biden was selected by acclamation.
In the elections, everything went right for Biden, as Obama easily defeated Mitt Romney. However, they also lost electoral votes compared to 2008. Biden's role was generally limited, with the most prominent event being his single VP debate with Paul Ryan.
2. 2008 United States Presidential Election
In 2008, Joe Biden finally had his Cinderella moment. It all started a few days before Christmas 2004, as his family decided to make a meeting, but without telling him what would be the subject. Later recalling the event, Biden said that he was sure it was some kind of intervention against his 2008 presidential campaign. However, he was surprised, as they gave him support. By January 2007, Biden was already campaigning but then made a mistake that he couldn't recover from. Trying to say some good words about his then-rival Barack Obama, he clumsily described him as the first Afro-American who is an overall nice-looking guy.
After taking a disastrous fifth place in the Iowa caucuses in January 2008, it was the end of his dreams... or at least he thought so! However, after pulling the plug, Biden rejoined the campaign seven months later, this time as Obama's running mate. The rest is history, as they won the presidential elections with 69,5 million votes, the highest in US history by then.
1. 2020 United States Presidential Election
On April 25, 2019, Joe Biden announced his candidacy for the 2020 presidential election, competing against 28 rivals for the primaries. However, Biden was an early favorite, and soon only Senator Bernie Sanders was left standing as his opponent. However, by Spring 2020, Sanders admitted defeat, as Biden officially secured the nomination in June.
As we know, the elections were historical, as the atmosphere was electric, to say it politely. However, that negativity and polarizing also had one very positive consequence: a turnout. Joe Biden won the trust of more than 81 million people, and even Donald Trump received more than 74 million, by far the highest for the candidate that lost the election. Forty years after he started seriously thinking about it, Joe Biden is the United States president. Let's hope that he can use all his experience and enthusiasm to positively impact the country and the rest of the world.
No matter if you support Joe Biden or not, we can learn a few things from his journey in our top ten. One of the most important lessons is never giving up, as you may achieve your biggest dream even when everyone is saying you're too old. However, it's also important to know that sometimes admitting defeat sets us free, letting us make a fresh start and try again, learning from our mistakes.
What do you think about Joe Biden, and how will his presidency be remembered? What will be his political legacy? Give us your thoughts in the comments.
Cover photo: BarBus/Pixabay