On April 8th of this year, Vice President Joe Biden became the presumptive Democratic nominee for president of the United States of America. Biden was not my first choice for the nomination. Biden was not my second choice for the nomination. Biden was not my third choice for the nomination, and the list goes on. However, following Senator Bernie Sanders’s suspension of his campaign, Biden is now my choice for president. This is a considerable shift in support, given the jarring differences between the two candidates.
Sanders ignited in me a passion for politics and social justice. Sanders’s work and policy proposals have had a dramatic influence on my political formation. When Sanders spoke about things like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and tuition-free public college, it made sense to me. When Sanders talked about how there are nearly seventy-thousand needless deaths under our private healthcare system and how we need to act now to solve the climate crisis, I was heartbroken and terrified. Beyond that, Sanders’s record and consistency spoke volumes to me. A video of him defending gay soldiers on the House floor in 1995, a photo of him being arrested for protesting segregation in 1963, and a video of him opposing the Iraq war in 2002 says it all.
Biden supports none of those policies. Biden has implied he would potentially veto Medicare for All, received the worst score among top Super Tuesday contenders from the climate activist group Sunrise Movement, and has gone back on his previous support of four years of tuition-free public college. Further, Biden’s record is incredibly disappointing to me. Unlike Sanders, Biden voted for the Iraq War. Twelve years after Sanders voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, which would have banned federal recognition of same-sex unions, Biden affirmed his opposition to gay marriage, though he later announced his support of it in 2012. Even throughout the course of this election season, Biden has faced controversy after controversy. From saying the black Americans who support Trump over him “ain’t black” to recent sexual assault allegations by a former Senate staffer, Biden clearly has his weak points.
Unfortunately, Biden is now the only major candidate that stands in opposition to presumptive Republican nominee President Donald Trump. Biden is not what I wanted in the Democratic nominee, nor anything close to it, but the alternative is the most corrupt president in modern American history.
Trump has proven himself to be undemocratic and unprincipled. He and his administration have been embroiled in scandals too numerous to do justice to in one article. The most high profile of which was his impeachment for abuse of power and obstruction of congress surrounding the Ukraine scandal, when he attempted to extort a foreign leader for political dirt on Biden. Another disturbing example can be seen in his obstruction of justice, per special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Trump and the Republican Party’s attempts to undermine democracy have caused issues time and time again, with new plans being rolled out to suppress voting this November.
One need not look that deep for issues with the Trump administration. Trump’s policies have been disastrous on every single front. Whether it comes to civil rights, the environment, or even the economy Trump has made all the wrong decisions. On LGTBQ rights, for example, he has rescinded protections for transgender school students, worked to rescind anti-discrimination laws for LGBTQ individuals’ healthcare, and banned transgender individuals from enlisting in the military. As we face an environmental crisis worse than any other, Trump has pulled America out of the Paris Accord, removed climate change from America’s list of national security threats, and a number of other rollbacks of environmental protections in favor business interests. In the middle of the worst pandemic in a hundred years, Trump’s ignorance and refusal to act led to the erasure of effectively all the job growth under Trump and President Barack Obama. Beyond simply the domestic sphere, he has destroyed our position on the world stage. Trump has also appointed two Supreme Court justices to create a solidly right court, and a remarkable number of lower court judges to set the judiciary firmly on the right.
The corruption of this administration cannot be allowed to continue. Trump must be defeated this November and Biden must become the next president of the United States. Despite my reservations, I am of the firm belief that Biden will not only be a better president than Trump, but be a strong leader in his own right. Biden has many strong policies, such as his support for a $15 minimum wage, and the necessary executive and foreign experience to fulfill his duties as a people’s president.
Take Biden’s proposals for LGBTQ protections, for example. Perhaps the most important of these is his promise to work to pass the Equality Act within his first one hundred days as president. This act would protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination in many different areas of life, such as housing and employment. Biden would ban the pseudoscientific practice of conversion therapy, and restore school protections to LGBTQ students. He would also reverse Trump’s ban of transgender individuals enlisting in the military. These are just a few of the most important examples.
Biden would also make substantial reforms to the public education system. Take, for example, his proposal to close public schools’ funding gap through an increase in Title I funding. This is critically important work, as the funding gap helps perpetuate a dangerous cycle of poverty in this country. Biden would also work to double health professionals in schools in an effort to support mental health. This too is incredibly important, especially as teenagers’ suicides are growing at an unprecedented rate.
Biden will also be a step in the right direction on the climate crisis. Though his plan does not go nearly far enough, it acknowledges the very real threat that the Trump administration denies. Biden will set us on the path to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, through a combination of day one executive orders and pressuring congress to pass auxiliary legislation. In a direct reversal from Trump policy, Biden will also re-enter the Paris Accord. This would only be the start of his foreign climate change work, however. Biden would also work to bring together another climate summit, pressure China to ease up its carbon emissions, and offer debt relief to developing countries that do their part to stop climate change. Biden’s promises for international leadership on this issue also points to another strong point of his, that being foreign relations.
Biden has a number of detailed foreign policies. It is his foreign relations experience that I find most notable, however. Throughout his time in the United States Senate, Biden served on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Eventually, he rose to chairman of that committee, a position he would hold numerous times. Biden also served two terms as the vice-president under Obama. His responsibilities in this position also increased his foreign policy and executive experience. This will be important if America has any hope of restoring its position in global politics.
Biden is the best choice for President of the United States. He is a step away from the dark path our country has taken over the last four years, and a step towards a brighter future. He is not everything I wanted from my presidential candidate, not even close, but I understand what this dire situation calls for. It is not a choice I take lightly, but as Biden himself said, “Life is a matter of really tough choices.”