At its elemental level, this is an election between good and evil. Between competence and incompetence, integrity and corruption, democracy and autocracy. It is in every respect “the election of our lifetimes.” And for hundreds of thousands, even millions of us, this election is quite literally existential.
And while reams can be written about why Joe Biden must be president because Donald Trump is so colossally unfit, it needs to be said why Biden should be president (vs. the Not Trump). Biden can forge the right path on the major issues confronting this country that have only deteriorated under Trump. Biden has offered actual policy plans with price tags to address health care, climate change, gun safety, immigration reform, trade, infrastructure (Build Back Better), voting rights, civil rights, women’s rights, criminal justice, jobs creation (Buy American), income inequality and poverty, systemic racism.
Joe Biden is the president we need. Now. More than ever. And not just because Biden is the antithesis of the most destructive, inept, corrupt, self-serving, characterologically damaged individual ever to hold the most powerful office on Earth. But because of who Biden is, what he brings to the office. We need Biden’s experience, his steady hand, his compassion, his morality, his worldview and his values more than ever. No one has come into this office having already dealt with the anything on the scale of the crises we are experiencing now (though Obama came to office beset with unprecedented challenges).
The USA is being battered by an unprecedented series and scale of crises – the coronavirus pandemic creating a public health and health care crisis not seen in 100 years (yet we have all this new technology and medical knowledge, so how’s that?); an economic crisis disproportionately affecting the “lower” 90 percent of the nation; civil unrest not seen since the rise of the KKK after the collapse of Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s; and a climate crisis creating an unprecedented scale of wildfires and hurricanes, flooding and drought, infestation of insects and infection.
But what is clear is that while Biden has actually had the experience of dealing with each – and successfully – Trump has demonstrated his complete lack of ability to forge solutions and, indeed, shown his willingness to exacerbate each and every one of these crises to suit his own political and personal purpose.
Biden would come to the office with unique experience having already brought the U.S. economy out from the clutches of a Great Recession (with investments, programs that launched the longest economic expansion in history), created 12 million jobs (Trump lost 11 million), implemented the Affordable Care Act, had immigration reform in hand before the Republican-controlled House tabled it, had a historic climate action plan and organized the entire world around the mission to save the planet, installed financial protections for consumers and presided over some measure of gun protections after Sandy Hook massacre.
Biden has actually conformed to what we expect of a candidate for the highest office in the land: He offers an optimistic vision for the future, a blueprint to make progress, a concern to unite the country. This is important as the country faces a confluence of crises of even greater magnitude than when Obama took office: public health, economic collapse (for the bottom 90 percent), climate catastrophes, and civil unrest as the nation comes to a reckoning on systemic racial, social, economic, political and environmental injustice. Whew, tall order.
Biden has spent his entire career in public service vs. personal enrichment and aggrandizement and has demonstrated competence, intelligence and clear devotion to bettering Americans’ lives – all Americans. He knows the people to bring into his administration who have the expertise and similar commitment to his mission, whereas we have now seen the incompetence, corruption and cruelty of those Trump installs.
Of the list of unprecedented crises facing the nation, Trump has not only exacerbated all of them (some 150,000 died unnecessarily from COVID-19) but offers no solutions – the RNC could not even come up with a platform beyond “Whatever Trump wants.” In contrast, Trump is clueless in offering any way out. And let’s be reminded: This chaos, this ruin, this devastation is Trump’s America we are enduring.
Biden’s proposals are actually rational, based in science and expertise, and his own experience (showing the ability to learn and change on certain issues) and do-able – and may well frustrate the Bernie Sanders progressives. And, yes, getting anything done will also depend on removing Mitch McConnell and the Republican vise over Congress. The Grim Reaper laid out his priority to make Obama-Biden a one-term administration rather than save Americans from falling into a Great Depression, abusing the filibuster and now the nuclear option to deny the will of the vast majority of Americans. And even now, instead of giving millions of Americans some relief from the health and financial devastation of the coronavirus, he is ramming through a Supreme Court nomination.
On foreign policy where Trump has proved exceptionally destructive (“America First” is “America Alone”), Biden would restore America’s global leadership, would stand up to tyrants and dictators and restore human rights and democracy to the mission of the State Department. He would rebuild crucial alliances like NATO, the World Health Organization, and United Nations bodies, including Global Migration and Human Rights missions, which Trump withdrew from.
To the question famously asked in every presidential campaign, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” I would add: “How has America been made greater under Trump?” and, most crucially, “Who do you trust more to end this pandemic, rebuild the economy, and move America back toward the path of justice for all?”
As much as it is imperative to vote Trump out of office if our democratic republic and the Rule of Law is to be preserved, it is imperative to vote for Biden. Biden is the president and Kamala Harris the vice president, we need in these desperate times.