I first “met” Joe Biden a long time ago. Then 33, he was the nation’s youngest U.S. Senator, and the featured speaker at the Idaho Democrats’ annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner (now the Frank & Bethine Church Gala). I was a student at the University of Idaho, where my major, unsurprisingly, was political science.
As Chair of the U of I Campus Democrats, I organized a mid-winter road trip for members of our group to drive to Boise to attend this flagship event. We traveled, as college students must, on a budget, finding places to sleep at homes of local party people.
One of my heroes, the late Senator Frank Church, introduced the freshman senator from Delaware, noting that this newcomer to “the nation’s most exclusive club” was occasionally mistaken for a page, much as Church himself had been when he was first elected to the Senate at the ripe age of 33.
Biden more than impressed; his speech was electric. Idaho Democrats, who were there that night, remember it well. Young adults whose parents attended say their folks still talk about it. This young senator from the “Diamond State” had charisma and potential to spare.
Over the years, I have followed Biden’s remarkable career, usually with great admiration. Biden has dedicated his life working for everyday people, not the rich and powerful. Unlike our current president, he has never put his personal interest ahead of the national interest. With Joe Biden, it has never been about what he could do for himself; it has always been about what he could do to help others. He has heart.
This said, I initially endorsed another candidate, Pete Buttigieg. Now that Buttigieg has suspended his campaign, I revisited the field and found it an easy call to support Biden. Admittedly, it has taken Biden awhile to hit his stride. Until recently, he hadn't shown himself to be the campaigner I had come to expect and knew he could be. But in his last two debates, in his triumphant speech after his resounding victory in South Carolina, and in his remarks after receiving the full-throated endorsements of former rivals Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Beto O’Rourke, Joe Biden has recovered his voice. He has shown he still has what it takes to fight hard and fight smart for the soul of our nation.
In 2020, it will not be enough to beat Trump. We must win a majority in the Senate, build on our majority in the House, and then we must govern. And to govern effectively, we must elect a leader who can mend the tears in our national fabric, who can repair and reverse the damage done by Donald Trump. Among those remaining in the race, it is Joe Biden who can best provide the requisite leadership.
Whether we like it or not, the next Democratic president will have to be able to find common ground with at least some Republicans. Joe Biden can do that. Moreover, he knows almost every world leader and would have instant credibility on the world stage. At a time when democracy has been under relentless attack, especially by our president, Joe Biden will best be able to restore the character of America. He is decent to the core. For all these reasons and many more, he has my full support.