Editor’s note: All opinion pieces published in the Clerk represent only the views and ideas of the author.
This November, we will all be faced with a decision that will have unprecedented consequences. This decision is not simply between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, but is one that will determine the course of our nation. It is a decision where we will have the opportunity to choose science over fiction, unity over division, and love over hate. It is an opportunity to elect a unifying, experienced, and compassionate leader over a bigoted and selfish pathological liar. At this important inflection point in American history, it is up to all of us to secure a better future for ourselves, for our classmates, and for future generations. This is the time for us to rise together and push our country further toward its original ideals – toward a future where every American can access the best parts of this country. This November, let’s rise together to elect Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States.
Joe Biden is not, and has never been, a status quo candidate. Throughout his career, he challenged political norms to help make our country a better place and to give everyone a fair shot. Inspired by leaders he admired during his teenage and college years – like John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. – Joe pursued a seat on the New Castle County Council and won by a commanding 2,000 votes. One of his first actions as a councilman was to fight the ten-lane highway project that threatened to pave over many of Wilmington’s poorer neighborhoods. Later, Joe took on the oil industry when some companies attempted to build refineries on the Delaware coast. Elected to the United States Senate in 1972 at just 29 years of age, Joe prioritized bold plans on the environment, campaign finance reform, and gun control. He stood up for workers and for single moms, for families and for students. He built coalitions and listened carefully to his constituents – he even rode the train back home to Delaware from D.C. every day. Joe’s record ultimately drove him to the White House; as Barack Obama’s Vice President, Joe continued to take bold steps to improve our nation, using the power of the White House to promote consent education and sexual assault prevention. Now, in the midst of multiple national crises, Joe has no intention of bringing us “back to normal.” He knows that “normal” never worked for everybody. Joe’s bold plans will move us forward in a way that leaves nobody behind.
The Biden campaign prioritizes immediate and decisive action on the climate crisis. Joe’s plan ties together economic and environmental projects, giving us a plan that necessarily reaches into every sector of policymaking. Joe’s plan pushes the envelope: it will create a million new auto industry jobs, upgrade four million buildings, provide zero-emission transit to every city with over 100,000 people, and push toward a carbon neutral energy sector by 2035. Despite the grand scale of this plan, Joe’s vision considers communities and individuals at every level, emphasizing environmental justice and fair economic practice. Joe’s plan requires companies receiving federal contracts to pay workers at least $15 per hour, to provide paid leave, and to allow workers to form unions. Joe would not only hold executives accountable for interference in labor organizing, but he would also create apprenticeship programs in order to keep fewer people locked-out of those good-paying union jobs. Joe would follow through on this plan by requiring federally funded building projects to hire employees from those programs.
Joe understands that climate projections do not tell the whole story: low-income communities of color have borne the brunt of climate change’s effects. Accordingly, Joe aims to have 40% of the benefits of climate spending – including cleanup and infrastructure projects as well as job training programs – go to those communities. Joe would also establish an Environmental and Climate Justice Division within the Justice Department, ensuring that polluters cannot prey on low-income communities of color as they have for decades.
Joe’s economic plan is not only focused on climate: it takes huge steps toward ending homelessness. Joe would resurrect the Section 8 housing assistance program, fully fund it, and prohibit landlords from discriminating against renters receiving federal assistance. Data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development indicates that 17 million who are currently denied Section 8 benefits would be helped by Joe’s plan. To put these figures in context, around 70% of eligible people receive SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) benefits; Section 8 is uniquely ineffective simply because we choose to let it be so. Housing is a basic human need for which the federal government has abandoned responsibility, and changing that would be a monumental achievement for the progressive movement – no matter what advances we make in healthcare or education, hundreds of thousands of Americans will not see the benefits as long as they lack a place to live. Joe will take on racial discrimination in housing by requiring states receiving federal grants to put inclusionary zoning into place. This will begin the reversal of harmful redlining. A plan that focuses only on Section 8 and home ownership would leave millions squeezed, so Joe’s proposal also includes a tax credit for renters, designed to get housing and utility costs down to 30% of their incomes. Like his climate plan, Joe’s vision for housing looks at the problems in the face and offers top-to-bottom solutions, giving everyone reason to buy in.
In fact, Joe’s plans on climate, housing, and many other pressing issues have brought people together. Joe has received endorsements from progressive Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to disillusioned Republicans like John Kasich and Colin Powell. He has accrued an impressive slew of labor endorsements like the American Federation of Teachers and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and has been endorsed by environmental groups like the League of Conservation Voters. The vast coalition that Joe is still building demonstrates his ability to work through differences and listen to others. Joe Biden will not only unify the Democratic Party – he will unify this country.
We all have a responsibility to vote this November. Whether you supported Joe from the beginning or not, you are welcome in his campaign. Your vote is paramount for defeating the most corrupt President in our nation’s history. There is a reason that the late John Lewis and countless others were willing to put their lives on the line in Selma, Alabama for this sacred right. Many still are. For those who are disenfranchised, vote. For those who have not been heard, vote. For those who have been left behind, vote. America has never lived up to its original lofty ideals, but Joe Biden is ready to change the course and get us closer to them than ever before. Let’s honor the legacy of everyone who fought for the right to vote. Let’s elect Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States.
Jacob Gaba ’22 and Amos Karlsen ’22 are members of Haverford Students for Biden.