Biden retains frontrunner status and broad appeal


Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden addresses a crowd of AARP members at the 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum hosted by AARP Iowa and the Des Moines Register July 15 at the Olmsted Center at Drake University. Biden talked about his time caring for his parents in his own home and the need to help those caring for elderly family members who can’t afford outside care. 

Katherine Kealey

Joe Biden is the frontrunner in the Democratic Party’s presidential primary, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.

Biden currently leads Elizabeth Warren by a margin of roughly six percent and has been in the lead the majority of the time he has been in the race.

Biden has years of experience under his belt. He was first elected to the Senate in 1972, and he was the sixth youngest senator in American history. He resigned to assume the position of vice president to President Barack Obama.

James McCormick, professor of political science, said he believes Biden’s moderate stance as well as his history in government could make him appealing to Iowa voters come caucus night.

“He is a known quantity in terms of what some of his policy positions have been,” McCormick said. “In the current field he is a more moderate Democrat than some of the other candidates. I think it appeals to a certain segment of Democratic activist. It also has an appeal to more independent voters and even some crossover Republican voters that may not be happy with President Trump. He really has an electability quality that is probably the major factor [people have in] supporting his candidacy, as well as his experience in government.”

This is something candidates such as Warren attacked him for during the October debate. Obama left the White House with fairly high approval ratings, but Thomas Kracl, freshman in pre-architecture, said he believes this is something that could turn away voters.

“I feel like he stumbles around a lot, and [tries] to ride off a lot of Obama’s successes,” Kracl said. 

However, Kracl said he believes Biden’s experience and the work he has put in with the Democratic and Republican parties could put him ahead of other candidates.

“In Nebraska we really value reaching across the aisle, and he has shown he can do that,” Kracl said. “I think we need someone to pull the country together, and I think he could do that. He can get people from both sides like the ‘never-Trump’ Republicans, moderate Democrats and skeptical progressives.”

Although Biden continues to dominate the national polls, Dhruv Raturi, graduate student in materials science and engineering, said he believes Biden does not resonate with students at Iowa State.

“His policies are not the most progressive, and that is reflective of how unenthusiastic Iowa State [students are] when it comes to Joe Biden,” Raturi said. “I think that is something that will continue into the large discourse if and when he advances, which it seems very likely he will.”