Biden announced his first presidential run 33 years ago — and a lot has happened since

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President Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday fulfilled a goal he has had for decades since he announced his first presidential campaign on June 9, 1987.

A lot has happened since then, as can be evidenced by looking back at what the world was like back then. Here are some examples.


Future president Bill Clinton was an up-and-coming Democratic figure, still serving as governor of Arkansas and chairing the National Governors Association. Bernie Sanders was still the mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., had not been born yet, and Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., had just been born on Feb. 16, 1987.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, currently the longest-serving member of the high court, was not even a judge yet. In 1987 he was Chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a position he held from 1982 to 1990.

The top-grossing movie of the year at the box office was not a comic book action blockbuster or a long-awaited sequel to an established franchise, but the family-friendly comedy “Three Men and a Baby.” The Tom Selleck-Ted Danson-Steve Guttenberg vehicle led to a sequel of its own, 1990s “Three Men and a Little Lady.” The war movie “Platoon” won the Academy Award for best picture earlier in the year.


“The Simpsons,” which is now in the middle of its 32nd season, had just debuted as a sketch on the Tracey Ulmann show. Bart, Homer, and the rest of the family would not be featured in their own series for another two years. Late-night institution “The Tonight Show” was hosted by Johnny Carson, who poked fun at Biden during his campaign, while Dana Carvey and Phil Hartman were the star performers on “Saturday Night Live.”

Sen. Joe Biden after announcing his candidacy for president in Wilimington, Delaware in June 1987, and taking the train to Washington D.C. The Senator and his wife Dr. Jill Biden make an appearance at the Dirkson Senate office building. Credit: Mark Reinstein
((Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images))

Ricky Martin was a major musical star, not as a solo artist but as part of the group Menudo. MTV still stood for Music Television, still regularly showing music videos several years after it launched in 1981.

In sports, the New York Mets were the reigning World Series champions, fresh off their victory over the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 Fall Classic. Boston still had much to be excited about at the time, as the Celtics had won the NBA championship in the 1986, and on the day Biden announced his presidential campaign they were in the midst of a battle against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1987 NBA Finals, which the Lakers won in six games on June 13. All-time great Michael Jordan had yet to win a single championship, and his Chicago Bulls were swept in the first round by the Celtics that year.


In the NFL, the New York Giants were the Super Bowl champions, beating the Denver Broncos in the Big Game in January 1987. Tom Brady, currently seeking a possible sixth championship at the age of 43, was just shy of his 10th birthday.

Technologically, the world was a completely different place in 1987. Cellular phones existed, but were not the norm, as most people still communicated via landlines. Neither the World Wide Web nor social media existed.

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