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Dec 14 2016
by Melissa Cordell

A Look into Joe Biden's Possible Presidential Platform

By Melissa Cordell - Dec 14 2016

After a rumored presidential run of Joe Biden in 2020, Biden has cleared the air a bit by saying he’s not “committed” to running because “fate has a funny way of intervening.” There still remains hope, though, for avid Clinton and Obama fans, as he didn’t completely rule it out.

Biden has made several bids, but his most memorable for many was in 1988 when he dropped out after plagiarizing a speech from the then British Labor Party Leader, Neil Kinnock.

But what would a Biden presidency entail? Would it be four or eight more years of the Obama legacy? Let’s take a look based on his records up to now.

Government Intervention

In 2010, Biden said that “every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive.” It can be concluded that his vision for his potential presidency would include big government, something typical Republicans would not favor.

International Trade

In 2014 and 2015, Biden wrote op-eds in support of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). He also argued for more “economic cooperation” between the United States and Central America. At a Town Hall meeting in Iowa in 2007, Biden made clear his loyalties to free and fair trade, though he had previously voted against a free trade bill with Singapore.


Biden has supported income-loss bills to help farm families and has advocated for the use of climate-friendly fuels on farms rather than corn-based ethanol. He was against President Bush’s Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 which gave automatic payments to farms that grew commodity crops like corn.


Biden is in support of labor unions and raising the federal minimum wage. In 2014, he said the wage should be lifted to $10.10 an hour, not quite what Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders had in mind, but still a step up. In 2010, Biden said that Congress should “extend unemployment insurance for Americans who have lost their jobs in a tough economy.” Through the Obama-Biden New Energy for America Plan introduced in 2008, Biden wanted to create millions of jobs working to make America more “green.”


Biden stirred up controversy after arguing against John McCain for saying that the military spending should come before spending on food stamps. He said, “When it comes to the safety of our warriors, we have to spend the money. But this idea of it’s somehow inherently more important to spend money on the military than on domestic needs is a policy I reject, I reject out of hand.” When Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said Biden wanted to cut defense spending, Biden defended himself by saying that is what the Joint Chief of Staff had recommended.


Obviously because of his position of vice president, Biden has advocated for the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. On this, he said, "Companies won’t be able to use your medical history to determine how much to charge you. They won’t be able to charge you more just because you’re a woman. They’ll have to be transparent about what they’re offering and compete against each other. It’s going to make a world of difference."


In 2013, Biden said he was for the amnesty of undocumented immigrants living in the United States, arguing it was about “dignity” and “respect.” While in support of Sanctuary Cities, or at least seeing why they need to exist, he said that he is not in support of them not following federal law.


Biden voted for the No Child Left Behind Act, a popularly criticized act from President Bush’s term. During the Obama-Biden term, Pell Grant funding was dramatically increased. Again there is no evidence of the “free college” Sanders so desperately wanted and the “debt-free” college plan Clinton had.

It is safe to conclude that a Biden run for presidency would be extending the Obama legacy. While that didn’t work for Clinton this year because Americans wanted a change from the status quo, it may work in 2020 if Trump does not perform well in office. 

Lead Image Credit: Marc Nozell via Flickr Creative Commons

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Melissa Cordell - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Melissa Cordell is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in Political Science and Peace, War & Defense, with a Women's Studies minor. She loves working on campaigns, activism and writing. Follow her on Instagram @meldelissacor and Twitter @MM_Cordell!

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