At the age of 77, Joe Biden was at long odds of becoming president during the early stages of the Democratic primary season back in 2019.

He was up against a Melbourne Cup field of runners who seemed to be more aggressive, more alert and hungrier to win the candidacy.

Stammering and seeming to be confused in public was hurting him badly, and as a result he was trounced in the early primaries and trailed rival Bernie Sanders as the contest rolled into 2020.

 

Extreme concerns arose that Biden would not be able to shore up the Democratic base or that he was "losing it" because of his age. Even his supporters were worried that gaffe-prone performances would see him smashed in debates with Donald Trump if he won the nomination.

But on February 29 in South Carolina, things turned abruptly in Joe Biden's favour. He'd been promising for months that he would win South Carolina and kick start his run to win the candidacy.

He kept that promise. Handsomely. Biden secured massive support from black voters and in that moment, momentum was his.

"If Democrats want a nominee who's a Democrat, a lifelong Democrat, a proud Democrat, an Obama-Biden Democrat, join us," Mr Biden said in a jab at independent leftie Bernie Sanders. "We have the option of winning big or losing big. That's the choice."

That night in Columbia, South Carolina also saw his wife Dr Jill Biden standing by his side - something she has done often throughout the campaign in an apparent attempt to help keep Mr Biden focused.

There were oth r important moments along the way to defeating Mr Trump, many of them involving Mr Biden staying tucked away in his basement and keeping quiet while the President frequently shot himself very publicly in the foot.

The basement manoeuvre was criticised heavily by his rivals - but it worked by reducing Mr Biden's exposure to the media and keeping his gaffes safely locked inside his mouth.

But that victory in South Carolina in the primaries will loom ever larger in history as the moment Joe Biden really showed what he was made of.

Originally published as Biden's secret weapon to overtake Trump


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