Former Vice President Joe Biden would be the most progressive Democratic nominee in modern history. He’s more moderate than Sanders, but the level to which he is ‘the moderate’ has been overblown.
Biden’s progressive-ness is backed up by his policies, which no one is talking about. Biden supports a $15 minimum wage. Biden supports the framework of the Green New Deal. Biden wants federal funding to protect women’s rights in the doctor’s office.
Biden’s campaign has promised to fight for a more just higher education system. We saw this when he fully supported free college for students from families making less than $125,000 a year.
Biden’s plan to protect and build on the Affordable Care Act doesn’t come close to touching Bernie’s superior Medicare for All. But, Biden’s plan has the possibility of actually being implemented in a divided system, thus dramatically improving our healthcare system right now and paving the way for even more progressive changes in the future.
Biden’s pragmatism is the more efficient route to Sanders-level progressive policy. Biden can enter as a sort of ‘stepping-stone president,’ pushing the incremental change his policies present, while winning more democratic seats. Biden did this in 2018, when his endorsement helped Rep. Connor Lamb win a seat in a Pennsylvanian district which voted for Trump two years previous.
Where Sanders would struggle to get his policy enacted – which isn’t to discredit how important merely legitimizing his policy positions in the White House may be – Biden would lay the groundwork for producing Sanders-type policy.
Something tells me there aren’t many Oles who started this campaign cycle all-out for Biden, myself included. Biden puts us into a place of ambivalence.
For one, while Biden brings progressive policies to the table, he is not making them the central message of his campaign. He’s running on what he isn’t. He isn’t Trump. He isn’t Bernie. This likely helps him with anti-Trump voters who are not as progressive as he is, but it raises concerns for me about much of the policies he will enact.
Electability arguments too often become self-fulfilling. Is Sanders really unelectable, or does the notion of Sanders’ unelectability perpetuate voting tendencies such that he won’t be elected? I tend to fall into the second camp and dislike conversations on electability. However, we might be in an exceptional circumstance.
I do not want four more years of Trump. He degrades our country. He legitimizes racism. He lacks competency to handle a national crisis. He cares only about himself, not our country or the world.
A Biden presidency pushes our country forward. It makes voices too long unheard in our country feel heard – evidenced by the support those voices are giving to Biden’s campaign.
If you came to this article looking for a reason to “settle for” Biden, who appears to be a lock for the Democratic nomination and I haven’t provided it, I have one more thing for you. Watch his speech after he won South Carolina. It’s no Obama 2004 Democratic National Convention (DNC) speech, but it’s one of the best US political speeches since.
In the end, I’m not asking for a perfect president. I don’t think a perfect president exists. I’m asking for a president who will be able to do the most good for the United States and the world. As the race stands now, I think that’s Joe Biden.