The former vice president came across as easily blindsided at debates. The crowds at his presidential campaign speeches were far from stadium size. Other Democratic candidates such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg each had moments of radiating a kinetic energy, while Biden appeared to be conserving his resources.

But Biden had name recognition.

He is able to connect on an emotional level with people who have experienced personal loss, as he has. And as Barack Obama’s wingman for eight years, Biden was a reminder to many Democrats of what a president should be.

The opening contests in the 2020 nominating race in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada were humbling losses for Biden. Then came a commanding victory in South Carolina with help from African American voters. Rivals departed the race, and within days his coalition expanded to make him a lock for the nomination that was officially secured Friday night.

This is how Biden won.

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