Joe Biden is the moderate America needs

‘Yes’ to Biden

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Phil Roeder/Flickr

By Nathaniel Reynolds, Collegian Contributor

My argument for supporting Joe Biden as the Democratic presidential nominee is not unique – it begins with a disdain for our current president and it ends with a preference for moderate politics over bold reform.

Biden stands for the fundamental liberal policies that I wish to see championed by our president. These include criminal justice reform, universal background checks for gun-buyers, expanded healthcare coverage, decriminalized marijuana, raised corporate taxes, a commitment to fight climate change and a consideration for the environment. After three years of the Trump administration, such policies are in dire need.

Those pragmatic reasons to support Biden’s policies are accompanied by symbolic reasons to support Biden’s character – which is, in short, the complete opposite of Donald Trump. In place of short tempers and inflammatory language, Biden speaks carefully, calmly and respectfully. Although hard to excite, Biden also appears difficult to upset. As we have learned under Trump, these are not trivial qualities – rather, vital characteristics for a president who represents our country on the world stage.

No one is better prepared for our highest office than Biden. Unlike what Pete Buttigieg might tell you, being a mayor for eight years is not how one prepares to be a U.S. President. Biden was the right-hand man in one of the more well-liked presidential administrations of our time. His 35-year tenure in Congress, during which he chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was also relevant experience to lead our country.

Common criticisms of Biden, regarding both his policies and character, can be summed up to a general sense of being underwhelmed. This is because he is moderate enough to win the general election and promotes policies which can get passed. Long-term solutions to national problems are slowly forged through compromise. With this in mind, there is nothing which Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren exclusively promote which will realistically survive the legislative process. Republicans will dig their heels in the ground in the face of Medicare-For-All, and for good reason. These policies are not popular with a vast majority of the American people. In the possibility that they are pushed into law, Republicans will make it their first priority to overturn them when offered the chance. That is not a political environment that we should aspire for. Biden, who stresses bipartisanship and offers more realistic policies, can move our country forward without further aggravating our polarized nation. Uncompromising visions are not noble – they are unproductive and ultimately destructive.

Biden is a safe candidate for president. He may not represent every wave of change needed in our country, but he can defeat Trump and deliver his agenda without polarizing our nation any more than it currently is.

I respect the argument that defeating Trump should only be our baseline goal this election. In the midst of a climate crisis, a broken healthcare system and a changing economy, bold actions are necessary. However, I ultimately fear the long-term repercussions of making underdog candidates, populist messages and bold policy proposals the new normal for United States presidents. I’m not just talking about Sanders or Andrew Yang. Trump won in 2016 because he was exciting by the same criteria, albeit for a different audience. The real danger of permanently rejecting the ‘establishment’ is that someone even more dangerous than Trump may lurk in the future if elections continue down this uncharted path.

Electing Biden is not the anointment of a national messiah – don’t be so naïve to think any outcome would be. Rather, a vote for Biden is a simple stand to restore decency, self-control and political experience to the presidency. It’s a vote for liberal polices, or at least, the ones with any shot of getting passed. And beyond all else, it’s a small step for the long-term health of our divided nation.

Nathaniel Reynolds is a Collegian Contributor and can be reached at [email protected]