biden the rails
December 16, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday introduced former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and 2020 candidate Pete Buttigieg as his pick to lead the Department of Transportation. And while Buttigieg acknowledged there's no way he'll beat out Amtrak Joe as the "biggest train enthusiast" in the administration, he did announce that he'll center railroads, climate change, and union jobs if he's confirmed for the job.

Buttigieg, the youngest candidate in the 2020 primary field, had reportedly been clamoring for a big spot in the Biden administration. And on Wednesday, Biden laid out an expansive role for him. "When I think of climate change, I think about jobs, good paying union jobs" focused on repairing and building new roads, bridges, and ports that make it "faster and cleaner" to transport American people and goods, Biden said. Buttigieg similarly promised to lead an infrastructural revolution, so the joke of a never-achieved "infrastructure week" becomes "associated with results."

Those promises are reminiscent of the Green New Deal, which proposes creating thousands of jobs to steer the U.S. into a clean energy economy, though Biden has explicitly said he doesn't back the package.

Buttigieg isn't exactly who climate activists would've liked to see lead the DOT, though Buttigieg's emphasis on climate change is giving some of them hope. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 11, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden seems to feel his 2020 run may be faltering. His campaign aides still reportedly don't want to tell him that.

Biden's presidential campaign has all the trappings of a winning run: An experienced, beloved politician with a tragically heroic backstory, Edward-Isaac Dovere describes in The Atlantic. But polls and fundraising totals are showing Biden isn't thriving the way he'd hope, and his staffers are reportedly struggling to claim otherwise.

"Biden's campaign lives in a dual reality," in which he's simultaneously winning most polls and yet still "being written off as finished," Dovere writes. Biden aides chalk a lot of that rhetoric up to the media, making "vaguely Trumpian" complaints in which they claim reporters "cover only bad news about Biden and fail to understand what actual heartland voters want," Dovere continues.

Yet behind the scenes, Biden is "aware that there are issues with the campaign, especially as it relates to money," one staffer said. His Iowa organization is smaller than Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and even South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg's, and fundraising shortfalls have turned into cutbacks on TV and online ads. That fact has led some aides to "feel like they're just spinning one another in staff meetings about how well things are going," some tell The Atlantic — and even Biden himself is reportedly "realizing with dread that the race might be slipping away."

When asked about his supposedly falling campaign, Biden unequivocally defended his fundraising and organizing. Read more at The Atlantic. Kathryn Krawczyk

April 25, 2019

Did you know Joe Biden takes the Amtrak?

Just a few hours after the former vice president announced his candidacy for president, he was already spotted back aboard his favorite mode of transportation. America's top train line has been as constant in Biden's life as presidential campaigns, and, unsurprisingly, it's already a big part of his 2020 one.

Biden got his public transportation reputation back in his senatorial days, riding the train back and forth between his family in Delaware and Capitol Hill every day. He even took the Amtrak home after President Trump's inauguration in 2017. Now, the train has yet again pulled back into Biden's station, both in reality and in a very prominent place on Biden's campaign website. Kathryn Krawczyk

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