Former American Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday joined an already crowded Democratic Party presidential nomination race.
Biden announced his candidacy in a video published on Twitter. The video centered on deadly clashes in 2017 between white supremacists and other protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. Biden made note of comments President Donald Trump made about the violence. The president said there were “very fine people” on both sides.
“We are in the battle for the soul of this nation,” Biden said in his announcement video. “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 cannot stand by and watch that happen.”
Biden’s entrance in the race means there are now 20 Democrats seeking their party’s candidacy for the 2020 presidential election. Biden is 76 years old. He and 77-year-old Bernie Sanders are the two oldest candidates in a field that includes a high number of young politicians, women and minorities.
The one thing all Democrats can agree on is that they must choose a candidate with the best chance of beating Trump.
Former President Barrack Obama has not yet endorsed any candidates in the field. However, his spokesman said, “President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made.”
Trump welcomed Biden to the race by calling him “Sleepy Joe” in a Twitter message.
Here are the 20 candidates:
Joe Biden, age 76:
Joe Biden is best known as Obama’s vice president, a position he held from 2009 to 2017. He was also a United States Senator representing the state of Delaware from 1973 to 2009. Biden is popular among white, working-class voters in states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Trump won all three states in 2016.
Cory Booker, age 49
Cory Booker is a U.S. Senator from New Jersey. He played American football for Stanford University and was a Rhodes scholar. Booker became popular during his time leading the city of Newark, New Jersey. As mayor, he saved a woman from a house fire and cleared snow from an old man’s driveway. An African-American, Booker has called for unity -- noting the nation’s history of coming together on issues like slavery, immigration and defense.
Pete Buttigieg, 37
A former Naval intelligence office, Pete Buttigieg is the mayor of South Bend, a city of 100,000 people in the Midwestern state of Indiana. He studied at Harvard University and later at Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar. Buttigieg speaks several languages, including French, Spanish, Italian, Norwegian, Maltese, Arabic and Dari. If elected, Buttigieg would be the first openly gay president in American history.
Julian Castro, age 44
Julian Castro was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Obama. A former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, he was among those considered for Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate in 2016. Castro is one minute older than his twin brother, Joaquin, who is a U.S. Representative from Texas. Castro is the only Latino candidate in the race.
John Delaney, 56
John Delaney launched two businesses before seeking political office in Maryland. He served as U.S. Representative from the state of Maryland from 2013 to 2019. Delaney was the first Democratic candidate to announce his run. He is not well known among the American public, however.
Tulsi Gabbard, age 38
Tulsi Gabbard is a U.S. Representative from the state of Hawaii. She is the first American Samoan and Hindu elected to the United States Congress. She was deployed to Iraq and Kuwait as part of the state’s National Guard. She has been criticized for her 2017 meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad, who had been accused of war crimes.
Kirsten Gillibrand, age 52
Kirsten Gillibrand is a U.S. Senator from New York. She is known for her support of the #MeToo movement against sexual abuse. Gillibrand is also known for having changed her own political views. She was a strong supporter of gun rights while representing a Republican area of New York. She is now calling for stricter gun control laws.
Kamala Harris, age 54
Kamala Harris was California attorney general from 2011 to 2017. She became a U.S. Senator in 2017 and announced her candidacy for president earlier this year. Harris’s mother migrated to the United States from India. Her father is from Jamaica. Harris identifies herself as the only black woman in the race and has used the network of historically black colleges and universities to help her campaign.
John Hickenlooper, 67
John Hickenlooper served for two terms as governor of Colorado. He previously owned a restaurant and brewery and worked as a geologist. As governor, Hickenlooper worked with lawmakers from both parties. When announcing his candidacy, he said, “I’ve proven again and again I can bring people together to produce the progressive change Washington has failed to deliver.”
Jay Inslee, 68
Jay Inslee is the Governor of the northwestern state of Washington. He is considered a one-issue candidate in the field. That issue is climate change. In March, Inslee announced his candidacy at a solar business in Seattle. Inslee said, “This is truly our moment. It is our moment to solve America’s most daunting challenge and make it the first…duty of the United States ..to defeat climate change.”
Amy Klobuchar, 58
Amy Klobuchar is a United States Senator from the state of Minnesota. She is known as a moderate in the field of Democratic contenders. The website FiveThirtyEight said she voted at the rate of 30 percent for legislation supported by Republican President Trump. At the same time, she is one of the supporters of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal.
Wayne Messam, age 44
Wayne Messam is best known as the mayor of Miramar, Florida. He also played on the Florida State University’s 1993 national championship football team. Messam said as mayor, he protected the environment while permitting businesses to grow. Few Americans know his name or his campaign.
Seth Moulton, 40
Seth Moulton, a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts, is known for his effort to prevent Nancy Pelosi from returning as House speaker. He served four tours in Iraq with the Marine Corps and won two medals for showing great strength in the face of danger. Moulton received little media attention when he announced his candidacy on April 22. He said his campaign would be about patriotism, security and service. “These are issues that for too long Democrats have ceded to Republicans,” he said.
Beto O’Rourke, age 46
Beto O’Rourke is known for having narrowly lost the 2018 Senate race in Texas to Republican Ted Cruz. O’Rourke excited voters in the mostly conservative state. His campaign drew nationwide attention and his presidential candidacy announcement was televised live across the country. Critics say O’Rourke’s campaign is more about exciting possibilities and less about actual ideas.
Tim Ryan, age 45
Tim Ryan tried to replace Nancy Pelosi as House Democratic leader in 2016, but lost. The U.S. Representative from Ohio says, as a candidate, he can connect with both progressives and working-class groups to win the White House.
Bernie Sanders, age 77
Bernie Sanders lost the 2016 presidential primary campaign to Hillary Clinton. The U.S. Senator from Vermont has become one of the best-known names in the Democratic Party. And many other candidates have since adopted his ideas.
Eric Swalwell, age 38
Eric Swalwell is a U.S. Representative from California. He is little known and had a late start in the campaign. Swalwell has brought attention to himself by criticizing Trump on news programs during coverage of the Mueller report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Elizabeth Warren, age 69
Elizabeth Warren is a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. She is considered one of the most liberal candidates in the field. Warren has proposed canceling student loan debt, introducing universal childcare and protecting public lands. She wants to raise taxes on the wealthy and businesses to help pay for such proposals.
Marianne Williamson, age 66
Marianne Williamson is a writer and speaker. Most people do not know she is a candidate. She said the future of the country is “far too serious to be left in the hands of traditional politicians.” She added that politicians had led the United States toward wars, income inequality and damage to the environment.
Andrew Yang, age 44
Like Williamson, most people do not know that Andrew Yang is running for president. Yang says he is not a career politician. He says he wants to give “universal basic income for every American adult over the age of 18: $1,000 a month, no strings attached.”
The winner of the Democratic Party nomination will likely face President Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
I'm Caty Weaver.
And I'm Dorothy Gundy.
Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on Associated Press and other news reports. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
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Words in This Story
soul - n. the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life
fundamentally - adv. with regard to what is basic, essential
alter - v. to make different without changing into something else
character - n. the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation
endorse - v. to approve openly; to express support or approval of publicly
select - v. to choose (as by fitness or excellence) from a number or group : pick out
gay - n. of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex
tour - n. a period during which an individual or unit is on a specific duty or at one place
cede - v. to give control of (something) to another person, group, government, etc.