By Chloe Aiello
As former Vice President Joe Biden kicks off his long-awaited presidential campaign, he's already got one major advantage over other candidates, and he has a name: President Barack Obama.
"His entire appeal is, 'You guys like Barack Obama right? We all like Barack Obama? Well I'm here to continue his legacy,'" said Alex Roarty, a politics reporter for McClatchy in D.C. "And who better to continue his legacy than not only his former vice president but his close personal friend?"
Biden officially announced his bid for Democratic nominee for president on Thursday morning, confirming months of speculation about his potential run. He made the announcement in a video posted on social media in which he characterizes President Trump's presidency as a scourge to "everything that has made America America."
"I believe history will look back at four years under this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time," Biden said in the video. "If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation ー who we are and I cannot stand by and watch that happen."
Trump for his part responded to the announcement on Twitter, welcoming "Sleepy Joe" to the race and questioning (what else?) his intelligence.
"I only hope you have the intelligence, long in doubt, to wage a successful primary campaign. It will be nasty ー you will be dealing with people who truly have some very sick & demented ideas. But if you make it, I will see you at the Starting Gate," Trump wrote on Twitter.
Despite that Biden only just announced his candidacy, he has been polling ahead for months, according to Real Clear Politics, thanks at least in part to his ー and Obama's ー name recognition.
"It's no surprise that Biden is calling himself an Obama-Biden Democrat. You don't hear that from a lot of other candidates right now," Roarty said.
Despite a diverse field of candidates, Biden seems to have maintained a grip on African American voters, many of whom supported Obama in the past. But still there is speculation as to whether Biden will have the support he needs from an increasingly progressive base of Democratic voters responsible for putting rising stars like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in office.
Either way, the first 24 hours of Biden's campaign, like those of other candidates, will prove critical as he attempts flex his fundraising clout. And unlike many progressive candidates, he'll be relying on more traditional forms of fundraising from larger, wealthy donors.
"We've seen the rise of the smaller donor. He doesn't have the sort of pull on the progressive base. He's got to do it old school, he has to show that old method of raising money still works," Roarty said.