Former Vice President Joe Biden officially announced his 2020 bid Thursday morning via a campaign video.
He opens by quoting the Declaration Independence, backed by a stirring score and framed before a soft, fuzzy background.
He recalls the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, comparing the rhetoric spewed there to that of the Nazis in pre-World War II Europe, as images of men with tiki torches chase each other across the screen.
“That’s when we heard the words of the President of the United States that stunned the world and shocked the conscience of this nation: he said ‘there were some very fine people on both sides,'” Biden said, looking straight into the camera. “With those words the President assigned a moral equivalency between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it. And in that minute I knew that the threat to our nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime.”
“We are in the battle for the soul of this nation,” he continued, citing an article he wrote after the Charlottesville attacks.
“If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are. And I can not stand by and watch that happen,” he said.
“Folks, America’s an idea: an idea stronger than any army, bigger than any ocean, more powerful than any dictator or tyrant. It gives hope to the most desperate people on Earth, it guarantees that everyone is treated with dignity and it gives hate no safe harbor,” he continues. “We can’t forget what happened in Charlottesville; even more important, we have to remember who we are. This is America,” he concludes as the picture fades, flashing “Biden for President” on the white screen.
Biden has already staked out a different tactic than most of his now-competitors on the Democratic side: many of them have been assiduously avoiding getting into the trenches with Trump, opting to allude to him or his policies or his behaviors rather than wrangle with him head on.
Biden cites the President, by name, again and again as proof of why he is the candidate America needs to save itself from Trump, clearly playing on the idea that he’s an attractive candidate because of his assumed “electability.” Polls have shown that most Democrats care more about nominating a candidate that can beat Trump than any specific values or platform planks. With his blue collar appeal and chance to snatch back Obama-Trump crossover voters, Biden will likely play that card frequently during his unfurling campaign.