Op-ed: The case for Joe Biden

Louie Kahn is the President of GW College Democrats. 

We are living in one of the darkest hours in our nation’s history. Tens of thousands of Americans lay dead, and millions more have lost their jobs due in part to the inept response to COVID-19 by the Trump administration. This tragedy reminds us of the importance of having experienced, thoughtful leadership in the White House which is guided by science and expertise, not TV doctors or panelists on Fox and Friends. This failure of presidential leadership from Donald Trump serves as yet another reminder of why we must vote him out of office this November.

Joe Biden was not my first choice for the Democratic nomination. While I have always admired Biden’s commitment to public service and his passion for advocating on behalf of working families, Biden’s membership in D.C.’s “old boys club,” coupled with regrettable votes he made throughout his career and my desire for a new kind of politics had me looking elsewhere.

I assisted in the effort to begin a new era of leadership with former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign, then joined in the fight to deliver much needed structural change with Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Throughout the campaign, I continued to be inspired by Senator Bernie Sanders’, I-Vt. long-standing advocacy for economic and social justice. I join in his call to create a country that works for more than just a handful of billionaires.

I would be remiss not to address the sexual assault allegation directed at Biden. Tara Reade’s charge must be taken seriously. She should be given the opportunity to share her story with the world. The Biden campaign has denied this allegation, and I encourage the press to do their due diligence in vetting this disturbing accusation. It is crucial that we continue encouraging dialogue around the intersection of power and sexual assault, and urge Democrats not to turn a blind eye to this issue out of political convenience.

The 11 debates during this nominating process made it clear that the historic slate of candidates running had differences in approach and substantive disagreements on policy. But it was clear that despite their differences, they all acknowledged the same pressing issues facing everyday Americans. In the past few weeks, we have seen every candidate on the debate stage unite around Biden. From Sanders to Mike Bloomberg, they realize any disagreement they have with Biden is nominal compared to that of Trump and the GOP.

While Democrats may not agree on whether a public option or Medicare for All is the best way to ensure every American gets quality health insurance, we recognize that health care is a human right and must work to achieve universal health care.

Biden worked alongside former President Barack Obama to get the Affordable Care Act through U.S. Congress, resulting in millions gaining access to affordable health insurance and many others no longer being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. The provision allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ plans until they are 26 has helped many middle-class families, including my own, keep health care costs down. Biden played a pivotal role in delivering this legislative win for millions of American families and will work to achieve universal health care as president.

In contrast, the Trump administration is currently in court trying to gut protections for pre-existing conditions in the ACA. If it weren’t for the late Senator John McCain’s, R-Ariz., last act of political courage, the ACA would be a relic of the past. This serves as a reminder of how fragile progress is. If we give Trump another four years in the White House and lose control of the House, the ACA would likely be repealed.

We Democrats may also not agree on the best way to fight climate change. But we agree it is an existential threat that requires robust action.

Biden has laid out a plan which invests $1.7 Trillion in creating a clean energy future and will encourage the private sector to join along with his administration to make an unprecedented investment in renewable energy. America must rejoin the Paris Climate Accords and work to limit our own greenhouse gas emissions. We cannot stop there. Biden knows the importance of the United States acting as a global leader on this issue and will work to ensure major polluters like China and India take great steps to secure a livable planet.

In contrast, Trump continues to deny the existence of climate change, famously calling it a “hoax” perpetrated by the Chinese government. The Environmental Protection Agency, currently run by ex-coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, has overseen the rollback of more than 90 environmental regulations. Under Trump, the EPA repealed a law that prevented coal companies from dumping mining debris into streams and relaxed Obama-Biden era regulations that worked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The administration also canceled a requirement that forced oil and gas companies to report methane emissions.

While we Democrats may not agree on the best way to address the student loan crisis, we recognize that the cost of college in the U.S. is out of control and must expand ways to alleviate the burden of student loan debt.

I was pleased to see Biden release a plan which would forgive all debt for undergraduate students at two- and four-year public colleges and universities for borrowers whose annual salary does not exceed $125,000. This plan would also cancel at least $10,000 of student loan debt per person and place a 5 percent cap on debt repayment for people who make more than $25,000 a year.

In contrast, the Department of Education under Betsy DeVos has worked to dismantle the public service forgiveness loan program, a lifeline for many Americans who choose to forgo a big salary to give back to their communities. As president, Biden would expand, not shrink, this program and ensure public servants get the treatment they deserve.

On this issue and a myriad of others, ranging from campaign finance reform to gun violence prevention, we must use the Biden presidency as a vehicle for change. There are clear differences between him and many on the left, but in Biden, we will find a well-intentioned partner and ally. In Trump, we will continue to have an uncompromising foe.

A second term for Trump guarantees a 7-2 conservative Supreme Court majority, which will result in a continued rollback of progress that we have made in the last half-century. At the international level, we will continue seeing our traditional alliances deteriorate while having a leader who heaps praise onto strongmen like Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin. If we don’t get this right, the character of our nation will be fundamentally altered. That is what is at stake.

Whether you supported Biden from the beginning, are an avid Sanders supporter or a Republican sick of the constant display of chaos and corruption from this administration, I ask you to join us. The stakes are too high for inaction or dogmatic adherence to ideological purity. As Sanders himself said, it is “irresponsible” to sit this election out, vote third party, or write Bernie’s name in at the ballot box. Anything less than a vote for Biden will help Trump secure a second term.

GW College Democrats need you. The Democratic party needs you. America needs you. Join us in the fight for a better future for all Americans. Join us to help elect Joe Biden the next President of the United States.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.