The Case for Supporting Joe Biden

By Lauren Griesedieck

No, this is not a piece about why I love Joe Biden (because that is definitely not true). This is about why I am voting for him anyway, and why you should support him too. There is much at stake in this election, and voting for local and state candidates is an alternative to support more progressive candidates.

Bernie Sanders has recently suspended his campaign, making Joe Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee in the race against Donald Trump. Joe Biden has gained a lot of popularity due to name recognition and nostalgia from the Obama presidency. However, he is not the ideal candidate. Many people have dug into his past political life and found controversies such as his participation in the writing of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, and his vote in support of the Iraq War in 2002. He has also been accused of sexual assault, something that he and Trump have in common. There is obviously a problem when both presidential candidates have these allegations made against them. A different candidate would have been much better as Democratic nominee, but there is no changing this anymore. Someone has to be president, and it will either be Trump or Biden. Most of the previous Democratic candidates, including Bernie Sanders, have endorsed Biden for president. Not voting for Biden will only aid Trump in his re-election.

This situation is difficult to comprehend without some insight into the workings of the American party system. Ideally, there would be more parties or candidates to choose from, but because of the two-party system, the decision is reduced to either voting Democrat or Republican. This means that other parties, like the Libertarian Party or Green Party, are essentially useless in national elections, especially in the presidential race. These parties are given no media coverage and barely any attention because they tend to represent a small fraction of voters. In the American two-party system, smaller parties have very limited opportunities to hold office. Although it is easier for them to run for and hold state or local office, this is still difficult. 

What could happen if Trump is re-elected? We do not have an answer to this because of his unpredictable character. Throughout his current term, Trump has shown himself to be extremely inconsistent and incompetent. More recently, he retweeted a tweet that said that Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and adviser to six presidents, should be fired because of his critique of the White House’s coronavirus response. Meanwhile, the US has more coronavirus cases than any other country in the world. Trump has also stated that he is interrupting funding to the World Health Organization in the middle of a pandemic. This decision will not only impact the US’s ability to control the Coronavirus, but will harm many other countries who are relying on help from the international community. These are only events that have occurred within the past week. Not to mention his blatant racism, the embarrassment of the US in international affairs, or the separation and locking up of families at the US-Mexican border. 

He has also been impeached by the House of Representatives! This was only the third president in the history of the United States to be impeached, so it is very rare for it to actually happen. However, the Senate did not remove him from office, making this election the time for the public to do so. This is also a chance to vote for new senators.

Four more years of Trump could have deep consequences on the state of American democracy. In a press conference a week ago, Trump said that the authority of the president is “total”. The fact that the president of the United States thinks that he has total power, like a dictator, should be alarming. This alone should be enough proof that he is unfit for the presidency; he is ignoring the Constitution! On the same day, he also showed a campaign video at the beginning of the press briefing, which is illegal under the Hatch Act. As president, Trump has the authority to nominate judges to the Supreme Court. This has a much more long-lasting effect than a term in office, since judges are appointed for life. The court has the power to make decisions which dominate any other previous ruling or decision by states, so these developments should not be pushed aside. Trump has already had two justices confirmed to the court. Although it is not something that many people want to talk about, there is a very large possibility that he could have another appointment because many justices are getting older. Ruth Bader Ginsberg is now 87 years old. She would have to stay a justice until she is at least in her 90s for there to be a different president to replace her. 

If elected President, the worst Biden could do is to do nothing. As a Democrat and a career politician, he would be less likely to follow Trump’s path of rash decisions. At the very least, he will try to reverse “Trump’s” policies to earn some credit from the Democrats. If we are lucky, we could see more progressive steps taken by Biden (his website says that he intends to look at many of the issues important to progressives, like climate change and healthcare). But, these policies are made by Congress, not the President! Congress needs to approve or create new laws to remove many of “Trump’s” policies. This is why it’s extremely important to also look at your local and state candidates, especially if you are not satisfied with the nominee.

Recently, I have seen many people who campaigned and supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, whether they actually liked her or were just anti-Trump, say they will never vote for Biden. Why is this? Both Clinton and Biden are very, very similar. They have way less progressive agendas than their shared competitor, Bernie Sanders. Their platforms are also very similar because they are both very centrist — and so is Obama! Both Clinton and Biden were in the Obama administration and are from elite families. They are politicians by nature. All of this is not new, and it is certainly not a reason to allow Trump back into office. Trump may be a political outsider, but he is also from the same elite class as these other families. The “lesser of two evils” argument is not a good one, but both Clinton and Biden are more fit for office than Trump is.

The Office of the President is a very important position, but it is not the only important office that needs your vote, and this fact has been neglected. Biden, as a representative of the Democratic Party, must work together with other Democrats. Many of these people are very progressive and will also put pressure on Biden if he does not live up to their standards. This is their job. They are more accountable to you and your specific district, and their decisions are more likely to impact your daily life. State and local candidates also need your support! These are also the governors and state congressmen who have the authority to deal with crisis situations on a local level, like natural disasters and pandemics. 

Complaining and ridiculing people on twitter (and in TikTok videos) is not a constructive, effective, or efficient way of dealing with this situation. Not voting for Biden is a vote for Trump in the two-party system. An alternative is to support more progressive local candidates who can put pressure on Biden if he is President. Even if Biden is not elected, these representatives could check Trump’s power, because the president does not, and should never, have total authority in office.

Edited by Amelie de Paepe

Artwork by Oscar Laviolette