What can Joe Biden use against Donald Trump?

As Joe Biden has all but won the presidential Democratic nomination, from your perspective, what is his biggest strength(s) he will use and his biggest weakness(es) he will try to suppress when facing President Donald Trump? Read few comments.

Vice President Joe Bide. Credit: https://joebiden.com/

Michael CheneyProfessor of Communication, University of Illinois, Springfield

I find Biden’s biggest strengths with be name recognition and reputation – he is very well known and has a cross section of supporters in the US that transcends parties and demographics; Biden will bring an experience base that covers both the executive and legislative branches and has a solid reputation there as well; Biden will bring in his not so secret weapon – President Obama who has held off getting involved to let the party choose its nominees without him putting his “finger on the scale” to total the outcomes; Biden will bring a sense of normalcy – how we define that in the new era of viruses is a bit unclear, but folks know him and respect him.

Biggest weaknesses will be a less rabid base of support in contrast to President Trump; a biggest challenge to engage younger voters, and a fractured electorate that will provide him with his biggest challenge to bring in these younger citizens and get them engages.  And the biggest challenge will be to conquer the electoral map that places more emphasis on winning marginal states and less on total vote totals.

Cal JillsonProfessor of Political Science, Southern Methodist UniversityDallas

Former Obama Vice President Joe Biden effectively won the 2020 Democratic Party nomination weeks ago, but now his last challenger for that nomination, Senator Bernie Sanders, has acknowledged Biden’s victory and promised to support him in the November general election. Sanders needs time to come to terms with his defeat, but after a few weeks he and Biden need to begin talking, and bargaining, about how to bring the Democratic party together to face President Donald Trump. A fractured party will have trouble defeating Trump, but a unified party should be able prevail, so unity is critical.”

Biden’s great strength is that he is a familiar and well-liked face in troubled times. He has spent decades on the national political scene, most recently as Obama’s vice president, and is well-known and respected around the world. Many Americans are concerned that the nation has stepped back from its international responsibilities, not just on the fight against the coronavirus, but on global trade, climate change, and much more. They see Biden as eager to restore those international ties. On the other hand, Biden is unused to the kind of name calling, knife fighting, over the top, non-stop drama that Trump will bring to the fight. Much will hinge on whether the voting public is tired of the constant crisis and ready for an experienced hand on the public tiller. We shall see.

Amy FriedChair and Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Maine

Biden brings numerous strengths. He has a great deal of empathy, which helps him connect with many people, and he is very well-liked. He also has a great deal of governing experience. Biden is not as good a public speaker as Barack Obama but he is good in smaller settings where he takes questions from voters. His campaign faces real challenges in contacting voters and getting publicity during this pandemic. Also, while most supporters of Bernie Sanders will back him, some may not.

Steffen Schmidt, Lucken Endowed Professor of Political Science, Iowa State University

First. Biden is not Donald Trump! That’s his biggest strength. Sometimes you don’t have to be charismatic, strong leader, have great policies you just have to offer “the lesser bad!”

Second, he is a Democrat (not a socialist) which will attract moderates, black voters (a crucial and big voter base), and independent voters.

Third, of Biden is smart he will point out that he and Obama passed the most ambitious healthcare reform in 80 years the Affordable Care Act  called Obamacare. It is not “single payer” Medicare for all but it gave healthcare insurance to millions of Americans. He will make the case that Trump & the Republicans want to end that program and that he will improve and expand it.

Fourth, He will also pitch his campaign to suburban women and his wife who is a great speaker will help him sell the message that he has been pro woman and “prove” that by choosing a really great woman as his Vice President.

Fifth, his campaign will hit Trump hard on ignoring many warnings about coming pandemics, and stress that he and Obama had an NSA pandemic program which Trump shut down.

Sixth, Barack Obama will endures Biden which will mean a lot to many voters who remember the calm and gradual normalization of the US economy after the housing crisis.

Stephen Farnsworth, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, Director, Center for Leadership and Media Studies, University of Mary Washington

In this moment of crisis, Joe Biden’s exceptionally long record of public service is his greatest asset. When compared to the chaotic Trump presidency , Biden’s years as a senator and as Vice President offer a professional approach that may comfort anxious voters in the midst of deep health and economic troubles.

Biden needs to do well with younger voters who backed Bernie Sanders. They need to remain excited about politics so they will turn out in November. Choosing a more liberal running mate, like Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren , could help with that.

President Trump is very good at attacking opponents and now Biden will have to be more effective in countering attacks than he has been in past elections.

Brandon Rottinghaus, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Houston

Biden’s biggest strength is that he is an echo of the Obama presidency which Democrats remember fondly and serves as a unifying force for a fractured party after a long nomination fight.

The former vice president serves as a potent counterweight for the Trump Administration, a competent and seasoned hand in contrast to the often chaotic White House.

Robert SchmuhlProfessor of American Studies, University of Notre Dame

As the Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden brings 44 years of Washington experience–36 in the U.S. Senate and 8 as vice president–to the campaign against Donald Trump, who is currently completing his first term as president. The gap between them in government service is huge, but Trump has the advantage of being an incumbent and the power that brings to a re-election bid. The last three U.S. presidents–Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama–won two consecutive terms and occupied the White House eight years.

The 2020 election will be a referendum on Donald Trump. Do Americans want an anti-establishment figure, who disrupts traditional governmental operations and international alliances to continue in office? Will the impeachment of Trump by the House of Representatives be a factor in the decision? Should we expect the president’s response to the coronavirus emergency to be the most significant concern for voters?

Biden is the fourth Democrat since 1968 who has served as vice president to run for the White House. The three previous ones–Hubert Humphrey in 1968, Walter Mondale in 1984, and Al Gore in 2000–all lost. In a way, he’s running against recent American history: the losses of three former Democratic vice presidents and the victories of the three most recent two-term presidents.

Christopher Larimer, Professor of Political Science, University of Northern Iowa

For Joe Biden, at the moment, his biggest strength is probably his perceived electability.  Particularly at a time of uncertainty and anxiety, voters may be reluctant to want to upend the system but rather are looking for reassurance, and with a candidate like Joe Biden, voters can find that reassurance given his service as Vice President and relatively predictable and mainstream policy stances.

His weakness or challenge is also the uncertainty of the situation.  Will voters, specifically those who voted for Trump in 2016 but who also may disapprove of his tenure in office, really want to abandon his leadership during a time of crisis?  The challenge for Biden is not simply winning over this group of voters but also making sure he does so in a way that makes them want to turn out to vote in November.  So, in short, electability and familiarity are probably his biggest strengths while the uncertainty of the crisis is a major challenge.

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