Joe Biden became a council member of New Castle County, Delaware, in 1970. From 1973 to 2009, he was one of Delaware’s U.S. Senators. From 2009 to 2017, he was Barack Obama’s vice president. Is a classic career politician who’s been in office for 47 years realistically the best person to “drain the swamp”?
Our current president, on the other hand, has swamp-related troubles of his own. So far, six former advisers to President Donald Trump have either pleaded guilty or have been found guilty of one thing or another. Paul Manafort was convicted of fraud. Michael Flynn, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos all pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, and Roger Stone was convicted of lying to Congress.
Biden first ran for president in 1987. However, that particular campaign only lasted a few months, as controversies quickly began to pile up. First, it was revealed that he had been plagiarizing aspects of his speeches from earlier speeches by John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and even British politician Neil Kinnock. It then became apparent that he had plagiarized a paper while attending law school. This called into question Biden’s claim that he had graduated at the top of this class. As it turns out, he actually graduated 76th in a class of 85.
Our current president, on the other hand, is no stranger to academic controversies either. To date, Trump still hasn’t released his university transcripts, though he did set up his own university. That “university” later had to be shut down, and 7,000 swindled students ended up with a piece of a $25 million settlement.
Biden ran for president a second time in 2007. After getting less than 1% of the vote in the Iowa caucus, he dropped out. A young Obama later picked old Joe as his running mate, presumably to balance the ticket. It wasn’t long after becoming vice president that Biden was already making jokes about his deteriorating memory. That was more than 10 years ago. If elected, Biden will be the oldest person to ever become president. I doubt his mental acuity has gotten any better.
Our current president, on the other hand, is no spring chicken himself. Although Trump seems pretty proud of recently passing a cognitive test, any adult without dementia should also easily pass that test. Indeed, the test wasn’t designed to help identify extremely stable geniuses; rather, it’s meant to help screen for mental impairments that doctors would need to address.
Biden is now running for president a third time. He may not be particularly popular, and it’s possible that he loses yet again. History has shown that Biden is, at least, willing to accept defeat.
Our current president, on the other hand, has a history of being unwilling to accept defeat. Back in 2016, Trump refused to say whether he’d accept the upcoming election results. For this election cycle, he’s now arguing that the only way he is going to lose is if the election is rigged. At a rally Sept. 19, he threatened to sign an executive order barring Biden from becoming president. On Sept. 23, he publicly refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power in the event of a loss.
In this newspaper, I recently argued that voting for any presidential hopeful other than the Democratic or Republican contender is a wasted vote. As such, Missouri residents should pick the lesser of two evils.
Which presidential candidate is most likely to protect our democracy moving forward?: a career politician seemingly unable to win or a political outsider seemingly unwilling to lose?
Joshua Holzer is an assistant professor of political science at Westminster College in Fulton and a resident of Columbia.