Former US Vice-President Joe Biden has declared a presidential bid, putting an end to months of speculation.
In a video announcement, Mr Biden warned that the "core values of the nation... our very democracy, everything that has made America America, is at stake".
The 76-year-old enters a crowded race for the 2020 Democratic nomination.
He is up against 19 other hopefuls, including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Bernie Sanders.
In his announcement, Mr Biden recalled President Donald Trump's much-criticised response to the deadly Charlottesville white nationalist riots of 2017, saying the US was in a "battle for the soul of this nation".
"I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time," he said. "But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are, and I cannot stand by and watch that happen."
Mr Biden is the most experienced of the many Democratic candidates. A six-term senator, he served as President Barack Obama's deputy for two terms and ran twice unsuccessfully for president - in 1988 and 2008.
He was tipped to run again in 2016, but ruled himself out after the death of his 46-year-old son Beau Biden from a brain tumour.
Since his stint as vice-president, Mr Biden has enjoyed relative popularity among Democrats. On some progressive issues, such as same-sex marriage, he was ahead of Mr Obama.
His popularity is reflected in opinion polls - he has consistently led every national poll of the Democratic primary tracked by the website RealClearPolitics. The sheer weight of his experience sets him apart from many of the younger 2020 Democratic hopefuls, and widespread national popularity and name recognition make him an immediate front-runner.
But Mr Biden also carries political baggage that the liberal wing of his party sees as problematic - including support for the Iraq war, opposition to efforts to improve racial integration, and controversy over his 1991 handling of sexual harassment allegations against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.
There is also the question of Mr Biden's age. On inauguration day he would be 78, making him the oldest sitting president in history, at a time when many Democratic voters are looking to a younger generation to galvanise the party.
Have your say
More World Headlines
- Boeing suffers new 737 Max issue that could delay return
- UN report highlights looming tramadol crisis in Africa
- Prince William: 'I'd support my child if they were gay'
- Kenyan MP arrested after threatening foreign traders
- Pilot falls asleep mid-flight, misses airport
- Beauty queen 'raped by Gambia's ex-President Jammeh'
- Grace Mugabe slapped with $4m lawsuit
- Kenya's love-hate relationship with Chinese traders
- Ethiopia 'coup ringleader killed'
- Zimbabwe bans use of foreign currencies
- Aksum: The holy city where mosques are banned
- Iran: New US sanctions target Supreme Leader Khamenei
- Sudan crisis: Internet restored - but only for lawyer
- Woman wakes up alone on dark, parked plane
- Jihadists kill 7 Chadian soldiers, local guard in ambush