Former Vice President Joe Biden made his long-expected entry into the 2020 presidential race Thursday. Biden announced his campaign via a launch video that sought to draw a sharp contrast with President Trump.
Biden brings to 20 the number of notable Democrats in the 2020 field. Prior to his announcement, he was the easily the most well-known name reported to be considering a run. While a few others have yet to make their plans known, the field is likely nearing completion, with the first debate* scheduled in just two months.
Biden, who represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate from 1973 until he was sworn in as Barack Obama's Vice President in 2009, was quickly endorsed by Senators Chris Coons and Bob Casey. Obama spokeswoman Katie Hill put out a statement on behalf of the former president praising Biden, but offering no endorsement.
With almost universal name recognition, Biden has led most early polling. Now in the race, he will become the focus of attacks from the large field. He has recently had to address several accusations unwanted touching of women. Some may try and link this to his treatment of Anita Hill during the 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas. Going back a bit further, his first run at president in 1988 was quickly abandoned after charges of plagiarism. While his long track record exposes him, he can counter with the argument that he would be among the most experienced new presidents in American history.
* According to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight, 15 of the 20 Democrats have thus far qualified for the first two debates, each of which will be spread over two nights to accommodate the large field. Qualification is based on polling support and/or number of donors. The first debate will take place in Miami on June 26 and 27, broadcast by NBC and affiliated networks. The second debate will be on July 30 and 31 in Detroit, televised by CNN. The party will split candidates randomly across the two nights. This is a different approach - although not necessarily better - than that taken by the GOP with its large field in 2016. For the first debates that cycle, the field was split by polling performance, leading some to derisively refer to the second portion as the "kids' table".