President Joe Biden is now in office, and at least we in Nevada can say our state played a role in determining Biden’s path to victory. Today, let’s take one more look at Biden’s path along the campaign trail as we remember how he rose from a crowded primary to “political near-death experience”, then from a curious comeback all the way to entering the White House.
Yes, we mattered.
Like so many other Americans, my work changed drastically last March upon the arrival of COVID-19. Gone were the days of just hopping in a car and zooming over to the next event. Instead, more and more of the events were on Zoom.
However unlike most Americans, I got a rare front row seat to presidential politics just before everything came crashing down (onto Zoom and countless over-the-phone conference calls). In the lead-up to the Nevada Democratic Caucus, we saw quite a few candidates connect with our voters, including one Joe Biden.
It’s funny to look back at where we were a year ago, or even where we were 11 months ago, to where we are now. Sometimes, I still regret cutting back our Biden coverage last February. But hey, with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) on the brink of a huge victory here in Nevada, and with Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) hot off stellar performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, it really seemed like Joe Biden was stuck in a rough patch.
Like others in the local press corps, I was so focused on what was happening here in Nevada that I wasn’t paying as close attention to voters in South Carolina and the “Super Tuesday” states. But even though Biden didn’t finish first here, his DNC delegate haul and overall performance did begin a critical turnaround narrative that ultimately proved valuable in South Carolina and beyond. As we noticed last February and March, Biden’s strong support among Black voters and his overall broad base of support here in Nevada offered critical hints of his future path to victory.
Let’s return to where Joe Biden began (here in Nevada, that is).
Before in-person campaigning was drastically curtailed, and for a period was even mostly suspended, I did catch Joe Biden meeting with Nevada voters at union halls, community centers, local party events, and elsewhere in our communities. And now that we’re starting to see Biden address the promises he made on the campaign trail, we might as well take one more trip down Memory Lane to see the role Nevadans played in preparing Joe Biden for his new presidency.
Let’s begin with these scenes from Biden’s first Nevada event of his 2020 campaign: a rally at the Painters’ Union hall in Henderson in May 2019.