Biden announces reelection bid

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Tuesday April 25, 2023
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President Joe Biden formally announced his reelection campaign in a video address April 25. Photo: Screengrab
President Joe Biden formally announced his reelection campaign in a video address April 25. Photo: Screengrab

Coming four years to the day after he announced his 2020 presidential campaign, President Joe Biden on April 25 formally launched his 2024 reelection effort. The move had been widely anticipated by political observers, who have noted there is no other major Democrat seeking the party's presidential nomination.

In a video released early Tuesday morning, Biden said, "Every generation of Americans has faced a moment when they've had to defend democracy, stand up for our personal freedoms, and stand up for our right to vote and our civil rights. This is ours. Let's finish the job."

"When I ran for president four years ago, I said we are in a battle for the soul of America — and we still are," Biden said in the video. "The question we are facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom, more rights or fewer.

"I know what I want the answer to be," he added. "This is not a time to be complacent. That's why I'm running for reelection. I know America and I know we are good and decent people. I know we are still a country that believes in honesty and respect, and treating each other with dignity. We're a nation where we give hate no safe harbor. We believe that everyone is equal, and that everyone should be given a fair shot to succeed in this country."

Vice President Kamala Harris, left, appeared in the reelection video with President Joe Biden. Photo: Screengrab  

Vice President Kamala Harris, an Oakland native and former U.S. senator from California, appeared with Biden in the video. She tweeted, referring to Biden, "@POTUS and I are delivering for working families. Record job growth. Greatest two years of small business creation on record. Largest investment in climate action in history. Manufacturing growing faster than it has in decades. And we're just getting started."

Harris, who also served as San Francisco's district attorney and state attorney general, stated in the email announcement, "This is a pivotal moment in our history. For two years we have made transformational investments to build a nation in which everyone can be safe and healthy, find a good job, and retire with dignity."

Harris also pointed to reproductive rights as a major issue since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, thrusting the abortion issue to the states. She has made the issue a signature one, holding events with pro-choice leaders around the country.

"In response, extremists have intensified attacks on basic, foundational freedoms and rights," Harris stated. "For example, they want to take away a woman's right to make decisions about her own body. They attack the sacred right to vote and attempt to silence the voice of the people. And they try to block common sense reforms to save lives and keep Americans safe from gun violence. The Republicans running for president want to take our country backwards. We will not let that happen. Just like we did in 2020, we must come together to fight for our democracy, continue to make progress, and make sure all Americans can get ahead and thrive. Joe and I look forward to finishing the job, winning this battle for the soul of the nation, and serving the American people for four more years in the White House."

LGBTQ rights
Biden has stood up for LGBTQ rights since taking office. Last December, he signed the Respect for Marriage Act, marking the first significant piece of LGBTQ rights legislation to become law in a decade.

The signing ceremony, held on the South Lawn of the White House, included Harris, other elected officials, and some 5,000 LGBTQ advocates and community leaders.

Specifically, the Respect for Marriage Act repealed the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act that was passed in 1996 but had key provisions struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 (Section 3, U.S. v. Windsor) and 2015 (Section 2, Obergefell v. Hodges). Not only does it require federal recognition of same-sex and interracial marriages nationwide but also mandates states must recognize such unions performed in other states. The act includes protections for religious liberty.

During his State of the Union address in February, Biden noted his support for trans youth, even as many states are discussing or passing laws to ban gender-affirming care and prevent them from playing sports on teams that match their gender identity.

On Monday, during a White House ceremony honoring teachers, Biden criticized elected Republican officials for the increasingly widespread practice of banning books from America's schools and libraries, as the Washington Blade reported.

"Empty shelves don't help kids learn very much," Biden said, adding, "I've never met a parent who wants a politician dictating what their kid can learn, and what they can think, or who they can be."

Books with LGBTQ themes, as well as those dealing with racial justice, have been the subject of various bans in several states.

Rematch possible
It's looking increasingly likely that Biden will face Republican former President Donald Trump next year. Trump, who announced his third bid for the White House shortly after the 2022 midterm elections, in which Democrats did much better than expected, now leads the pack of announced and potential GOP nominees. The former president was indicted last month in New York City on charges of covering up payments to Stormy Daniels, an adult film star. He faces more than two-dozen charges of falsifying business records in connection with the case and has pleaded not guilty.

Despite the indictment, Trump is ahead in polls surveying declared and likely GOP candidates. One of his potential challengers, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, has seen his standing decrease in recent weeks, according to surveys.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, the subject of much speculation as to his own presidential candidacy, sent out an email in support of Biden and soliciting donations for the president's campaign. Newsom has spent time over the last year visiting red states and escalating his war of words with DeSantis and Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Newsom invoked the words of former President John F. Kennedy and his brother, Bobby Kennedy. "Bobby Kennedy said that JFK would have never been able to accomplish any of what he did without the support of all of you — the Democratic Party," Newsom wrote.

Left unsaid is the fact that one of Bobby Kennedy's children, environmentalist anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., announced April 19 that he is challenging Biden for the Democratic nomination. Most political observers said Kennedy's effort is a longshot bid and members of his family have distanced themselves from his campaign.

U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-California), who replaced Harris in the Senate after she was sworn in as vice president, sent out an email soon after the announcement noting his full support for the president. "I'm proud to support President Biden, and I will do everything I can to help him defeat the GOP and continue making progress for working families in California and across the country," Padilla stated.

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