by Anna Augart-Welwood
November 23, 2020
After the tense, drawn-out election process that began on November 3, Joe Biden has been declared the 46th President of the United States. This result was met with celebration from the multitude of people who want Donald Trump out of office, and it represents a step forward for women of color, seeing as Kamala Harris became the Vice President-elect. While it is important to celebrate and relax after the stress leading up to and during the election, it is also necessary to keep in mind that the existing issues in America have not been resolved and will not be resolved simply with Joe Biden’s becoming president. Biden will surely be more beneficial to this country than Trump was; however, the President-elect does have shortcomings that we must acknowledge and hold him accountable for.
Let us reiterate that Biden will be nowhere near as harmful to America as Donald Trump has been. For starters, he has already released a seven-point COVID-19 response plan that includes mask mandates and doubling testing sites throughout the country. He has also stated that he will rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. Unlike Trump, who divides America and demonizes the Democratic Party, Biden has been projecting a message of unity and bipartisanship. In his victory speech on November 7, the President-elect said, “I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify, who doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States… I’m a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president. I’ll work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as those who did.” Sympathizing with those who are disappointed at President Trump’s loss, he said, “Let’s give each other a chance.” Biden went on to ask that the “grim era of demonization in America” end now.
In recognizing the positive things that Joe Biden will do for the United States, it is essential to take notice of his flaws. While the President-elect wants to limit pollution from oil and gas operations, he has said that he will not ban fracking, which can release toxic and even cancer-causing chemicals into drinking water, as well as endangering wildlife, destroying natural landscapes, and using excessive amounts of water. On the topic of the environment, Biden said at the first presidential debate that while he has a plan for climate change, he does not support the Green New Deal. He also opposes Medicare, which would guarantee all Americans health insurance regardless of their financial status. Biden said that implementing Medicare for All would require getting rid of Obamacare, which he is not willing to do. Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, provides people with affordable health insurance, but it is by no means free. For these reasons, many Democrats reasonably believe that Biden is not progressive enough. And furthermore, Biden has been accused of sexual assault by Tara Reade, a former staff assistant in his Senate office. While this one allegation is nowhere near the twenty-six against Donald Trump, someone who is guilty of sexual assault surely should not be leading a country.
Many BUA students have strong political views, especially about the presidency. Jonas Rajagopal ‘21 says, “Right now, what the country needs is a unifying president, not a divisive one.” He believes that Biden’s policies may not be progressive enough for many Democrats, but that this is a positive thing because he feels that “many progressive policies will have the effect of making [people who feel left behind] feel like they are being left behind even further.” Jonas believes that the President-elect’s greatest strength is his ability to empathize with middle-class workers, and that “Biden will focus on policies that will help these people — the dairy farmer in Michigan or the butcher in Nebraska, rather than the banker in New York.” An anonymous student appreciates that Biden agreed to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. In agreement with many Democrats, Joie Liu ‘23 says, regarding Biden, “He’s not good, but he’s better than Trump.” Condredge Currie ‘23 believes that power causes corruption. He says, “As a president, you’re forced to represent an entire nation, but especially with a nation so divided, you can’t always speak for everyone.”
It is true that America needs to heal from the Trump presidency and that Joe Biden will be an important step in repairing our democracy. But many people, myself included, believe that he isn’t progressive enough, which then raises the following question: would we still support Biden if he weren’t the alternative to Trump?
Berardelli, Jeff. “How Joe Biden’s climate plan compares to the Green New Deal.” CBS News, October 5, 2020.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “CDC COVID Data Tracker.” Last modified November 15, 2020.
Ducharme, Jamie. “Here’s What We Know About Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Plan.” TIME, October 30, 2020.
Ember, Sydney and Lerer, Lisa. “Examining Tara Reade’s Sexual Assault Allegation Against Joe Biden.” New York Times, April 12, 2020.
Phillips, Amber. “Joe Biden’s victory speech, annotated.” Washington Post, November 7, 2020.
Uhrmacher, Kevin and Muyskens, John. “Where 2020 Democrats stand on Climate Change.” Washington Post, April 8, 2020.
“The truth about fracking and the environment.” The Wilderness Society.