The Case for Joe Biden, a steady hand in an unsteady time

Nathan C. Dallon
14 min readOct 16, 2020
Joe Biden being sworn into the US Senate from the hospital where his sons were recovering from a car accident that killed Joe’s wife and young daughter. https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-its-the-decency-stupid-20200307-hzt76bzl5bdktide7zq2wqsnfq-story.html

This is the second in a series of pieces I will be writing between now and November 3rd, 2020. The first is here.

“The ballot is stronger than the bullet.” — Abraham Lincoln

The United States is a Constitutional Republic where every 4 years the people of the several states can vote to instruct the electors from their state to cast their ballot for President of the United States in the electoral college.

I love the United States of America. I love our people. All of our people. In an attempt to place myself in the shoes of all of my brothers and sisters I want to place myself in the shoes of the people who support each of the two main candidates AND those who won’t vote. The first essay was the Case for Donald Trump. This essay is the case for Joe Biden. My next essay will be why so many people won’t vote at all. I will wrap this up with who I am voting for and why.

Decency as a Path to Healing

Democrats want to heal the country and bridge divides. Joe Biden is a decent human being. Lindsey Graham (Republican Senator from South Carolina) said about Joe Biden, “He is the nicest person I have ever met in politics. He is as good a man as God ever created.” Joe has been caught being out-of-the-ordinary kind to homeless people in DC, he called Mike Pence a decent guy in 2019 (he was pilloried by the Left for it), this year he took time to help a young man with his stutter (Biden, who has struggled with a stammer his whole life, has been a champion in helping those with stutters), and countless other examples of small quiet kindness.

This story from Marc Klaas highlights the center of Joe Biden’s character. As background, Marc’s 12 year old daughter was kidnapped, raped, and murdered on October 1st, 1993. Ever since, he has advocated for harsher punishments for repeat offenders AND advocated for tougher law and order measures from national politicians. He said:

At one point I wakded (sic) alone into a beautifully appointed but darkened room. Senator Joe Biden was seated on an easy chair in front of his desk. He was alone. There were no aides or handlers anywhere in sight. The Senator motioned for me to sit on a matching chair across from him, about three feet away. In a quiet voice he told me to call him Joe. He expressed his condolence as had so many before.

Then, as is Joe Biden’s style, he filibustered for the next several minutes. Quietly and with great compassion, he recounted the story of his own tragedy. He talked about losing his young wife and infant daughter in a catastrophic automobile accident when he was first elected to the United States Senate. He told me about his personal anguish and his moral crisis. He showed me an object; a gift from his deceased wife that he always keeps on his desk as a reminder of her love. Not her loss. He asked me how I was doing. We chatted. He talked about strength, family and faith. When we concluded Joe hugged me and wished me well.

For a brief moment in time we were simply two men who had experienced profound loss, but in truth I was the recipient of a gift. More than anything else Senator Biden served as an example of how to reconstruct a shattered life. If he could recover after having lost so much; if he could live a life of dignity and accomplishment then so could I. I have had many encounters with the Senator since then, but the subject of the meeting has never come up. I share this personal moment because it is important that people understand that Vice President Biden stands apart as a politician and as a man.

Democrats see in Joe Biden the country’s best chance to heal. Joe knows how to connect with people. His kindness is his best attribute. Democrats selected the candidate most likely to heal the country from their group of nominees.

Character matters. The President of the United States helps set the tone for American society. When the President acts badly many Americans follow suit. Where President Trump mocks, President Biden will mourn. Democrats still believe that character matters.

Effective Government

Joe Biden is competent to run the White House. Biden’s time in the Obama Administration and decades in DC makes him uniquely qualified to rebuild a neglected Executive. The four years of a Trump Presidency has left the Federal Government ruined. Positions have remained empty for years making the basic functions of government impossible. In the eyes of most Democrats, Trump cannot run an effective government. Trump’s White House has been overturned by Federal Courts at an alarming rate. Most of these rulings are because of incompetence by the Executive officers in charge of policy. Democrats need a President who can effectively administer the government and build trust in the basic institutions that serve Americans. Biden is the candidate to do it.

The Better Angels of our Nature

Democrats believe that Trump has awoken America’s demons. Trump has inflamed racial tension, attacked women, hurt the LGBTQ community, mocked the disabled, disrespected Native Americans, created immense hardship on Latino Americans, and ridiculed Muslim Americans. The most marginalized communities in the US feel less secure now than in decades. Where Trump stokes those fears, Joe Biden does the opposite. Joe Biden recently said:

I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president. I’ll work with Democrats and Republicans. I’ll work as hard for those who don’t support me, as those who do. That’s the job of a president; the duty to care for everyone. It was a lot of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not due to some mysterious force beyond our control. It’s a decision. It’s a choice we make.

If I’m elected president, I will Marshall the ingenuity and Goodwill of this nation to turn division into unity and bring us together because I think people are looking for that. We can disagree about how as we move forward, we must take the first steps. It starts with how we treat one another. How we talk to one another. How we respect one another.

You and I are part of a covenant, a common story of divisions overcome and hope renewed. If we do our part, if we stand together, if we keep faith with the past and with each other, then the divisions of our time will give way to the dreams of a brighter, better future. This is our work. This is our pledge. This is our mission. We can end this era of division. We can end the hate and the fear. We can be what we are at our best, the United States of America. God bless you all. And may God protect our troops. Thank you. We can do this.

The Issues

Biden was probably the most moderate candidate who made it to the debates in the Democratic Primary. He is center Left on nearly every issue you can find on his website, and he certainly isn’t far Left on any. Some Democrats wish he were the Left revolutionary that Trump often tries to peg him as.

  1. Healthcare

The Affordable Care Act created access to healthcare for 20 million Americans. Biden is committed to protecting and expanding coverage for Americans. Biden is not advocating for Medicare For All (“MFA”). MFA would cut out all private insurers and make the Government the primary sources of healthcare funding (supplemental insurance could still be purchased in the private market). Instead, Biden proposes a Public Option for All. Biden’s proposal lowers the age for Medicare, creates a Government Health Plan (that can be purchased in the open market), and increase subsidies inside the Affordable Care Act market place. It also lowers drug prices, simplifies billing, and increases funding (and coverage) for the Medicaid program. Dr. Robert C. Downy, MD in New Hampshire outlines the case for Joe this way:

Joe Biden, on the other hand, has a track record of expanding health care coverage for Americans. The Obama-Biden administration provided insurance to over 20 million Americans under the Affordable Care Act. The growth of access to health care has been life altering for millions of American families. It prevented insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, which affect more than 100 million people in the United States. As a doctor, I have seen this expansion of coverage insurance make the difference between life and death.

It is obvious that Americans need reliable health insurance now more than ever. Joe Biden has extensive plans for improving our health care system and insurance coverage. He will begin by protecting and growing the Affordable Care Act.

For the sake of our communities’ health, I sincerely hope we elect Joe Biden. We are a swing state where every vote counts. Please be sure you are registered, and make a plan to vote in person or by mail. Granite Staters’ lives are on the line this November, and your vote could make the difference.

2. Climate Change

Democrats are dismayed at the attitudes towards professionals and scientists inside the Trump administration. What used to be a consensus regarding basic physical realities in the United States, the Trump administration just refuses to admit exist. The refusal to rely on, believe in, or work with experts has wide sweeping implications for Climate Change, COVID mitigation efforts, and future health issues.

Climate Change is in the forefront of most Democrats’ minds going into 2020. For many, the time to act is now. Dr. Michael Mann said:

Michael Mann, one of the most eminent climate scientists in the world, believes averting climate catastrophe on a global scale would be “essentially impossible” if Donald Trump is re-elected.

“If we are going to avert ever more catastrophic climate change impacts, we need to limit warming below a degree and a half Celsius, a little less than three degrees Fahrenheit,” Mann said. “Another four years of what we’ve seen under Trump, which is to outsource environmental and energy policy to the polluters and dismantle protections put in place by the previous administration … would make that essentially impossible.”

Joe Biden is the candidate most likely to take action to mitigate climate change. As in all of the policy issues, Joe Biden is in the moderate wing of the Democratic party on the issue of climate change. He does not support the Green New Deal but has his own plan that is less grand in its scope but still much more aggressive than the Trump Administration’s plan. (Trump still thinks climate change is a hoax). Democrats recognize the immediate need to avert disaster now. From the Jerusalem Post:

Humanity is threatened as never before and major changes need to occur to put our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path — and as soon as possible. Even though a small number of individuals still deny the reality of climate change, there is strong scientific and environmental consensus across a wide range of disciplines that climate change is real, serious, worsening, and caused by human activity (anthropogenic) among all major scientific and environmental organizations, journals, magazines, and museums, and nearly all peer-reviewed scholarly articles, in addition to all reputable colleges and universities and most governments and large corporations. The evidence is overwhelming and continuing to pile up.

For some Democrats, this is a binary choice. There are single issue Climate Change voters who cannot vote for a candidate that refuses to admit the physical realities facing the world.

3. Economy

The US economy is in big trouble right now. Joe Biden wants to make it safer to be working in the economy, reduce income inequality, and rebuild the middle class. The Biden proposals are targeted to not merely help the economy recover, but to make the economy more sustainable and just. Nouriel Roubini, a professor of economics at New York University’s Stern School of Business, states the case succinctly:

Moreover, while Trump and his fellow Republicans have not even bothered to formulate a policy platform for this election, Biden has proposed a suite of fiscal policies designed to boost economic growth. If Democrats take control of both houses of Congress and the White House, a Biden administration would pursue a larger fiscal stimulus targeted at households, workers, and small businesses that need it, as well as job-creating infrastructure spending and investments in the green economy. They would not invest in tax cuts for billionaires, but rather in education and worker retraining, and in proactive industrial and innovation policies to ensure future competitiveness. Private business would no longer be terrorised by the president in Twitter tantrums.

4. Immigration

For Democrats, the Trump years have been an economic, moral, and humanitarian disaster on the topic of Immigration. Democrats know that Joe Biden understands the critical part immigrants play in the US economy. The Trump administration has hobbled our immigration system and damaged the US economy. Joe Biden will restore a moral immigration framework to the United States. Nicole Narea explains:

Biden promises to end President Donald Trump’s practices of keeping immigrants in detention long-term, separating families and conducting large-scale immigration raids that aim to arrest unauthorized immigrants already living and working in the US — proposals in line with those from the rest of the Democratic field.

He also vows to end a slew of Trump’s toughest anti-immigrant policies: the “public charge” rule making it more difficult for low-income immigrants to enter and settle in the US; his travel ban on individuals from seven countries he deems to be national security threats; and restrictions on asylum including the Migrant Protection Protocols, under which Trump has sent tens of thousands of migrants back to Mexico to wait for their court hearings in the US.

Trump and his people literally ripped families apart at the US/Mexico border. The New York Times reported on October 6th:

But the attorney general at the time, Jeff Sessions, made it clear what Mr. Trump wanted on a conference call later that afternoon, according to a two-year inquiry by the Justice Department’s inspector general into Mr. Trump’s “zero tolerance” family separation policy.

“We need to take away children,” Mr. Sessions told the prosecutors, according to participants’ notes. One added in shorthand: “If care about kids, don’t bring them in. Won’t give amnesty to people with kids.”

It made clear that from the policy’s earliest days in a five-month test along the border in Texas, Justice Department officials understood — and encouraged — the separation of children as an expected part of the desire to prosecute all undocumented border crossers.

“It is the hope that this separation will act as a deterrent to parents bringing their children into the harsh circumstances that are present when trying to enter the United States illegally,” a Border Patrol official wrote on Oct. 28, 2017, to the U.S. attorney in New Mexico, according to the draft report.

A note from Mr. Hamilton to Mr. Sessions before the meeting indicated: “You should lead this discussion.”

“We must vigorously enforce our criminal immigration laws to ensure that there are consequences for illegal actions and to deter future illegal immigration,” Mr. Sessions planned to say, according to the draft report. “That means that an illegal alien should not get a free pass just because he or she crosses the border illegally with a child.”

For Democrats, the actions at the US border are un-American. Immoral. Ghoulish. Joe Biden would end these barbaric practices day 1. For Democrats it’s simple really, if you support humanity you support Joe Biden.

5. Social Issues

Race

Donald Trump stokes racial fear in the US. Joe Biden has called Trump out to his face on this issue. From Business Insider:

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday called President Donald Trump a “racist” during a heated exchange over issues of race and protests against law enforcement.

“This is a president who has used everything as a dog whistle to try to generate racist hatred, racist division,” Biden said during the first presidential debate. He argued that Trump “pours gasoline on the fire” to stoke his base over racial issues.

Trump refused on Tuesday night to condemn white supremacists and right-wing groups who’ve engaged in violence against Black Lives Matter protesters.

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” he said, referring to the violent neo-fascist group. “But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left.”

Biden, again, is a centrist on racial issues and racial tension. Biden’s specific plan includes: Invest in African American Businesses and Entrepreneurs, Ensuring equal access to credit and capital, Increase opportunities for African American-owned businesses to obtain or participate in federal contracts, Expand African American Homeownership and Access to Affordable, Safe Housing, Tackle racial bias that leads to homes in communities of color being assessed by appraisers below their fair value, Equalize the tax benefits of defined contribution plans AND so much more. Biden is the only candidate with proposed concrete steps to help the black community and sooth racial tension in the US.

LGBTQ community and issues

Charlotte Clymer (seen with Joe in the photo left) has made the best case for Joe Biden on LGBTQ issues as anyone I have read or seen. Charlotte describes herself as a lesbian, “a Texan, military veteran and proud transgender woman,” former press secretary to the Human Rights Campaign, and outspoken activist. She wrote in USA Today on October 13th this:

Even the most ardent progressives would have to concede that Biden is unusually knowledgeable on LGBTQ equality, and it shows. And yet, I will admit to having been skeptical myself until I met him.

Last year, I talked to Joe Biden at a presidential forum. Initially gregarious in his trademark way, he got very serious when I asked him directly about trans rights. His face changed, he leaned in, and pointed his finger at my heart. He said “trans rights are human rights” and talked with me about his plans to ensure no LGBTQ person gets left behind. I’ve had conversations with other politicians who publicly supported LGBTQ people but betrayed a surface-level knowledge and commitment in private. Biden is not one of them. His commitment to equality runs deep. You can feel it in your bones when you talk to him.

That’s one of Joe Biden’s remarkable characteristics. For whatever detractors he may have, no politician so deftly rises above partisan rancor and brings people from their different camps to a reasonable and humane middle ground. It’s why when Andrew Yang observed that “the magic of Joe Biden is that everything he does becomes the new reasonable,” it immediately made sense.

For Joe Biden, what matters is that all people can live and work in their full authenticity and provide for their families without threat to their safety and dignity. To him, we are not LGBTQ people in need of enhanced cultural framing but people who happen to be LGBTQ and deserve to have an equal stake in society just like everyone else, no better or worse.

Joe Biden doesn’t have to guess or pander about the lived experiences of LGBTQ people. He already knows us. He’s part of our family.

My family members who are LGBTQ have told me privately and stated publicly that the Trump era has increased their anxiety AND increased the number of bigoted moments they have experienced. They want to feel safe. Every Democrat wants to turn back the Trump years and continue down the path of Human rights for all people. Joe Biden will put the country back on that track.

Corona virus plan

For many Democrats, perhaps the most pressing issue is getting a sensible leader in charge of the corona virus crisis. Biden’s plan focuses on the tools to treat people with the disease, tools to mitigate the spread, and rebuild faith in health experts. Democrats want strong leadership from DC to track-and-trace cases, get better equipment to healthcare workers, and better messaging for the public. Take a look at this clip from Biden’s 10/16/2020 Town Hall

Final Thoughts

Democrats want a President who appeals to American’s better Angels. They value a candidate who worries about people over institutions. A candidate who works with experts. A candidate who will make America better. The Democratic party is large and diverse. Biden isn’t very many Democrats’ ideal candidate, but Joe Biden is a good person who gives the nation a shot at healing the contentious divide the country has felt for the past four years. Its an easy vote for Democrats. Joe Biden is a steady hand in an unsteady time. #Biden2020

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