Joe Biden
Joe Biden, former vice president for Barack Obama, announced in late April that he is running for president in 2020. (Illustration by Julianna Renk, University of California, Berkel)

Dear Joe Biden, please do yourself a favor and drop out of the presidential race.

I have nothing against you. I mean, do I think you could’ve handled the Anita Hill situation better? Yes. Have you made some women uncomfortable by invading their personal space? Also yes. (And I would still love to hear a real apology from you regarding that.)

But at the end of the day, I don’t think you’re a bad guy. You were a decent vice president and the internet absolutely adored your bromance with Barack Obama. If you had retired after President Trump was elected, you would have ended your political career in a graceful way, with the majority of the public still loving you.

The thing is, it honestly doesn’t seem like you even want to be president. I wonder if, in some ways, you felt pressured into running. The polls had you in the lead before you even announced your candidacy. Twitter users were begging you to save America. It probably felt like everywhere you looked, people were asking you to run for president and assuring you that you would win.

Perhaps you felt some sort of moral obligation to help bring this country out of the dark age that it’s in. That’s understandable, but there are plenty of other things you could do to help the United States. Do you actually want to be subjected to the same stress and scrutiny that the commander in chief is? In that case, because your immediate reaction was apparently “yes,” let’s review the evidence.

Mr. Biden, your campaign video was a mess. Not everybody agrees with me on this, but hear me out. The whole thing felt like anti-Trump propaganda. Now, I have nothing against that (honestly, I support it), but you need to offer the public more than just “Well, I’m better than Trump.”

Your video was sorely lacking in policy, ideology and personal background. If you believe you’re established enough that people are already familiar with that information, I’m here to say that you’re overestimating the general public’s knowledge of politicians. Most people know your name, your former position and little else. But we’ll touch more on that later.

In one part of the campaign video, you said “… 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.” This sentence further supports my belief that you don’t actually want to be the president, but you’d rather do that than allow Donald Trump to continue living in the White House.

I know you think you’re the Democrat with the best chance at beating Trump. You’re a straight white male, something that a lot of Americans seem to value in a leader, with a long history of political experience. But that doesn’t obligate you to run.

Furthermore, plenty of people are arguing that your chance of winning actually isn’t that great. The polls may show you leading the pack of Democratic candidates, but a large part of that is likely a result of the name recognition that you hold.

There are a lot of other people in this race, so many that it’s hard to keep track of. Many people only recognize you and Bernie Sanders, which is why the two of you are leading the polls rather than some of the lesser-known candidates. Name recognition only gets you so far, though. Just ask Hillary Clinton.

The second reason I’m not convinced that you actually want to be the president is your odd timing. You weren’t the last person to announce your campaign, but you were close to it. Speculation about whether or not you would run was just starting to die down when your video was released. You once said that you’d “want to be the last person to announce 2020 run.”

But … why? Other candidates have already raised millions of dollars during your period of indecision. What have you been doing in the meantime? If you’ve actually been planning your campaign this entire time, then someone on your staff needs to be fired because it hasn’t gone incredibly well so far.

You’ve already run for president twice. Why waste time, money and resources doing it a third time? You’ve had a long and successful career, and you’re one of the few politicians that a decent number of people actually seem to like. Leaving politics as the former vice president to the first African American president seems like a great way to end things. There’s no need to tarnish that halo with a messy campaign.

Realistically, I understand that dropping out right now would be worse for your image than seeing it through, but I sincerely hope your reputation makes it out of this in one piece. I like you too much to be happy about seeing your name dragged through the mud.

I will always remember your time in office with a sense of nostalgia, and I think you would’ve made a great president if the timing were different. However, there are a lot of fresh faces in politics, and I like to believe that, under their leadership, this country will start to straighten itself out.

At 76 years old, you deserve an amazing retirement. I thank you for your service to this country, and I hope that service reaches an end very soon.

Sincerely,

Anna

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