Mon | May 20, 2019

‘Soul’ of America at stake - Biden launches 2020 bid warning

Published:Friday | April 26, 2019 | 12:13 AM
Former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden arrives at the Wilmington train station Thursday April 25, 2019 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden announced his candidacy for president via video on Thursday morning. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

WASHINGTON (AP):

Former Vice President Joe Biden formally joined the crowded Democratic presidential contest on Thursday, declaring that the “soul of this nation” is at stake if President Donald Trump wins re-election.

In a video posted on Twitter, Biden focused on the 2017 deadly clash between white supremacists and counter protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. Biden noted Trump’s comments that there were some “very fine people” on both sides of the violent encounter, which left one woman dead.

“We are in the battle for the soul of this nation,” Biden said. “If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation – who we are – and I cannot stand by and watch that happen.”

The 76-year-old Biden becomes an instant front-runner alongside Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is leading many polls and has proved to be a successful fundraiser. Biden has legislative and international experience that is unmatched in the Democratic field, and he is among the best-known faces in US politics.

He quickly racked up endorsements on Thursday morning, becoming the first Democrat running for president with the backing of more than one US senator.

Still, Biden must compete in a field that now spans at least 20 Democrats and has been celebrated for its racial and gender diversity. As an older white man with occasionally centrist views, Biden has to prove that he’s not out of step with his party. He is yet to outline his positions on the issues defining the 2020 Democratic primary, most notably ‘Medicare for All’, the universal healthcare plan authored by Sanders that has been adopted by virtually the entire Democratic field.