Editorial: The Justice endorses former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. for President of the United States
As Election Day approaches on Nov. 3, this board has unanimously decided to endorse former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Sen. Kamala D. Harris for President and Vice President of the United States. This ticket’s stance on key issues is preferable to that of the incumbent administration, and we urge readers to cast their ballots early for the Democratic ticket.
This board faults the Trump administration for the extent and severity of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. With over 220,000 dead, the human and economic costs have been enormous, continuing and largely avoidable. Trump’s early and frequent dismissal of the dangers of the virus, refusal to take action at the federal level and undermining of states’ efforts to combat the spread have contributed to the widespread politicization of the pandemic and efforts to combat it. His flippant handling of his own diagnosis earlier this month and the unnecessary dangers to which he subjected those around him disqualify him from continuing to “lead” the response effort. In contrast, Biden has been cautious and responsible, wearing a mask, promoting social distancing and opting not to host large campaign events. His extensive coronavirus response plan follows scientific recommendations such as free, high-frequency testing and various measures of economic assistance.
Since taking office, Trump has withdrawn the United States from the historic Paris Agreement, rolled back or eliminated at least 100 Environmental Protection Agency regulations and allowed the Interior Department to open up more land to exploitation. Biden, on the other hand, has proposed a $2 trillion plan similar to the Green New Deal that aims to bring the United States to net zero emissions by 2050. With the clock ticking on humanity’s ability to reverse the effects of climate change, the planet needs an American president who actively combats climate change, as opposed to one who doesn’t even believe in it.
Health care and disability rights
Trump’s records on health care and disability rights are abysmal in the eyes of this board. During his 2016 campaign, he mocked Serge Kovaleski, a reporter with a disability, vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act (which allows young adults to remain on their parents’ health insurance until they are 26) and cut federal funds to Planned Parenthood. Biden’s plan, short of “Medicare for All,” would create a Medicare-like public option and reduce premiums for those remaining on their private plans. He plans to expand legal protections for people with disabilities, create stable employment opportunities and expand access to health care, including mental health services.
One of the most touching moments of the Sept. 29 Presidential debate, in the eyes of this board, was Biden’s assertion that he was proud of his son Hunter for overcoming a substance-use disorder after Trump mocked him for it. It is imperative that the occupant of the White House contributes to the de-stigmatization of addiction, rather than using it as a political attack.
Donald Trump is a racist. From calling Mexicans “rapists” while announcing his candidacy in June 2015, to defending white nationalists as “very fine people” in 2017, to refusing to denounce white supremacy in the Sept. 29 Presidential Debate, he has repeatedly put his hatred on display. Beyond his rhetoric — which has inspired a slew of hate crimes across the country — specific policies that he has proposed or implemented have been harmful to people of color, such as starting work on his infamous wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, his ban on travelers from Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States and the heinous separation of families apprehended upon entering the country.
Biden — while certainly not having a perfect record — at least recognizes that systemic racism, particularly anti-Black racism, exists in the United States, and has proposed policies to “lift every voice.” Moreover, if elected vice president, Sen. Harris would make history as the first Black, South Asian woman to hold the office.
Biden is a widely respected figure on the global stage, having served as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and traveling widely during his time as vice president. Of Trump’s many questionable foreign policy decisions, his idolization of and support for Russian President Vladamir Putin — accused of manipulating the 2016 election in Trump’s favor — is perhaps the most concerning. Biden’s stabilizing presence is much needed following four years of Trump alienating allies and cozying up to dictators.
The courts & reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights
If nothing else, the tragic passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and subsequent nomination of far-right Judge Amy Coney Barret to replace her should convince undecideds to vote for Biden and Harris. Trump has already named two justices to the nation’s highest court — one to a seat that Senate Republicans held open for months following Justice Antonin Scalia’s death so that then-President Barack Obama could not install his choice on the court — moving it to the right for decades to come. Assaults on Roe v. Wade, the basis for abortion rights, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which made marriage equality the law of the land, would be vulnerable to be overturned by a new 6–3 conservative majority. Some of Trump’s more heinous policies — such as his ‘Muslim Ban,’ allowing employers to refuse to cover birth control for employees and ban on transgender people serving in the military — were only overturned or blocked because of the courts.
Finally, this board would like to see a return to decency. Trump has poisoned our national dialogue for the past five years, turning citizens against one another by spreading hate and vitriol. His relentless attacks on citizens, officials that speak out against him and the media that keeps the public informed have been a national disgrace, and we long for a time when the president did not dominate every news cycle with a new scandal and lash out at journalists on a regular basis. Biden has shown a willingness to listen to activists and change his positions after criticism and learning, and we are eager for a president whose platform reflects the will of the majority of Americans.
While we recognize that electing a new president will not undo the damage of the past four years, nor will it remedy the unfortunate and legitimate circumstances that led to Trump’s rise to power, we believe that electing Biden and Harris is the only way forward for the United States.