Editor's Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of The Collegian.
As we all try to navigate and make sense of the horrific health and humanitarian crisis that we face amid the COVID-19 outbreak, we must not forget that we have a crucial presidential election on the horizon.
In recent days, we have seen the exit of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders from the Democratic Primary, clearing the path for Former Vice President Joe Biden to square off with President Donald Trump in November.
I must disclose the fact that I am currently an independent voter who identified as a “liberal Republican” from 2012 to 2015. When the 2020 cycle began, I endorsed California Senator Kamala Harris for president because I believed the U.S. was long overdue to have its first female president. Also, I believed she had the perfect mix of moderate and progressive policies that could energize the democratic base as well as court independent voters. After Harris dropped out of the race earlier this year, I decided that the best person at this point to defeat President Donald Trump in November was former Vice President Joe Biden.
If this crisis has shown us anything, it is that we are in desperate need of a new leader who can not only restore dignity to the Oval Office but also put forward tangible, aggressive solutions that will drastically improve the welfare of all people in the United States.
Recent polls have shown that Trump’s approval rating has increased from 44 to 49%, and 60% of Americans approve his response to the COVID-19 Crisis. I believe the uncertainty he has created, along with the insurmountable evidence suggesting that he acted late on responding to this crisis, will cause these numbers to plunge as this crisis continues.
Further, I believe that Biden will perform well against the president in “rustbelt” states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan because he won the Michigan primary this month in a resounding fashion. His performance in these states will prove to be crucial because the 2016 election was essentially decided by 80,000 votes in the rustbelt region.
I believe that Biden has the rapport with Midwest voters to overtake Trump in the region and send the president packing for Palm Beach. This rapport stems from his image as a working class hero and the “scrappy kid from Scranton.”
Additionally, his longtime support of union expansion, fight to secure worker protections and leadership in overseeing the 2009 auto bailout has allowed him to earn the trust from numerous labor organizations such as the National Education Association, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Biden is also proving to match up well with Trump in typical red states such as Arizona and Texas. A RealClearPolitics aggregate poll shows Biden trailing the president by an average of 2.6 points in Texas and Biden leading in Arizona across the board by 3.8 points.
Not only would victories in these states signal the end of President Trump, but they would also provide Democrats with the launchpad to remake the electoral map for years to come at the national and state level. One of the most compelling insights to come out of this primary contest is that Biden has been the candidate who has brought out new voters to the polls.
This was especially the case in Michigan, where more than 1.5 million voters turned out to vote in the primary this year, compared to 1.2 million in 2016. Biden was also able to boost support among moderate and conservative voters in Michigan by nearly 30 points compared compared with Hillary Clinton in 2016.
This suggests that Biden can galvanize the support of an energized electorate in the Midwest and in typical red states that could prove to be dire for Trump’s re-election hopes.
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My final point in regard to Biden’s ability to win comes from his sustained performance among the most important and loyal constituency in the Democratic Party: black voters.
In states, such as South Carolina and Tennessee, Biden proved to be the overwhelming choice of black voters, especially voters over 45, according to exit polls. Biden also won a plurality of black voters aged 30-44 in Virginia and Alabama. All this proves that Biden is the candidate that can reconstruct the Obama coalition, which was a combined voting coalition of black and white northeastern and midwestern voters that propelled Obama to victories in 2008 and 2012 and eluded Democrats in 2016.
I believe Biden will not only provide a sense of calm to the country and undo the disastrous policies of the Trump administration but also put the country on the right path toward sustained progress through aggressive policy. He has proven through his promises to select a female running mate and a black female Supreme Court justice that he has a passion to make the U.S. government reflective of the diversity of the governed.
Further, he has put forth a tax plan that holds corporate America accountable, cuts the loopholes that have allowed wealthy citizens to cheat for years and finally levels the playing field between the wealthy and working class. Specifically, his tax plan will double the capital gains rate and no longer allow investment professionals to use the capital gains rate as their income tax. His plan will also increase taxes on generational wealth, a measure that I believe will chip away at the gross income inequality in the U.S.
Biden will expand the Affordable Care Act through increased subsidies and make healthcare essentially free for millions of Americans but also begin to crack down on the health insurance industry through his institution of a public option. His public option will indefinitely lower insurance premiums because it will increase competition with private insurers and force insurance companies to lower prices if they wish to remain viable. The Biden plan will cut the medical insurance burden by capping premiums at 8.5% of a person’s income if they choose to buy insurance on the open market. In addition, Biden’s plan will negotiate drug prices to ensure the lowest prices possible.
Finally, Biden has proposed substantial investments in K-12 education and historically black colleges and universities as well as a plan to forgive portions of student debt for all students. Additionally, Biden cares deeply about one of the most existential threats facing humanity, climate change. He has a robust plan to invest in domestic alternative energy while putting the nation on the path toward carbon neutrality in the near future. So, to people who believe that Joe Biden is some corporate sponsored centrist who will not represent the desperate needs of the American people, you are ignoring the fact that he is proposing a robust, progressive agenda that will just simply make people’s lives easier .
Disregarding policy for a minute, I believe what makes Biden the candidate best to succeed against Trump is that he has something that the president currently lacks: empathy. These last three years, we have seen Trump bully citizens, promote open hatred and denigrate the dignity of the presidency. Biden will be the antithesis of this, because he has shown for many years that he has the ability to connect with the American people on the most personal level.
Biden will use the pulpit of the presidency to make this nation more compassionate and aware of the traumatic struggles that so many Americans face. He has shown this ability with a wide array of topics from systemic racism in housing, white privilege, faith as well as his lifelong struggle with stuttering. He will also use the presidency to directly call out hate in all forms and do it with the type of conviction that will send a strong message to all people that issues of racism and bigotry will be talked about and prosecuted if necessary .
We need a leader who will not only defeat Trump, but defeat his movement as well. That leader is Vice President Joe Biden.
Contact contributor AJ Polcari at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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