Since we know there are only five candidates with even a remote chance of becoming the Democratic nominee (Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Elizabeth Warren are the main three, with outside chances of Bernie Sanders or Kamala Harris), it’s worth it to think about what their administrations would actually look like–perhaps especially Joe Biden.
This is a man who led an adamant crusade against integrated public school busing in the 70’s, yet was one of the first mainstream Democrats to endorse gay marriage.
In my opinion, he’s the most ambiguous ideologically.
We have a general idea what Bernie and Warren want to do, but what about Biden? What does he really believe in?
We know he wants to “undo” the Trump Presidency and take things “back to normal” but what does that look like in terms of policy? Is he setting up the political equivalent of “Netflix and Chill” where he just gets rid of Trump and lays low without doing a whole lot? If only Trump had done that, he probably would be reelected in a landslide.
Biden has changed so many of his stances just in the last year, it’s a fool’s bet to try to predict exactly what he would do, but I’ll offer a few guesses…
1.Expect healthcare to stay the same. Biden has said he’s basically for “improving Obamacare,” which means absolutely nothing. He says he’d “like” there to be a public option, but I doubt he would push for this. If congress seems apathetic on the topic of a public option (and a Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer congress most likely would be), I doubt anyone on the Democratic side is really looking for a repeat of 2008–when Obama had a long, exhausting fight to get and keep The Affordable Care Act, one that is still pretty much ongoing.
2. Very few “big ideas.” Biden has gone out of his way to assure us (or perhaps wealthy America) he’s not for structural change, and has said many times he’s “center left.” He defends Obama on substance, but has put forward very few ideas of his own. So far, he’s running a campaign that’s a little bit light on substance, and emphasizes mood. Needless to say, you can forget about The Green New Deal, Medicare for All (definitely), Universal Basic Income, or a wealth tax.
Of course, that wouldn’t make him all that different from Bill Clinton or Barack Obama (something he has said over and over), and America wasn’t doing so bad during those times. But times are different, and you have to wonder if a President who seems skeptical about doing big structural change will be able to undo all the damage of the Trump Presidency. Although Biden would rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement (he’s promised this, and I believe him), he’ll probably want to do a lot more than that just to reduce Trump’s expanded carbon footprint, let alone actually fix climate crisis.
3. Foreign affairs would be greatly improved. If there’s a reason to get excited about a Biden Presidency, it’s foreign policy. There’s no question Biden would be better on this front than Warren or Sanders (who seem to take the Putin-pleasing view that America shouldn’t have a presence on the world stage), and after four years of the Trojan-horse traitor Trump in the White House, this is almost a good enough reason by itself for me to vote for Biden. During his time in the Senate and the White House, Biden cultivated strong relationships internationally. And his tough view on war criminals and those who want to suppress democracy are a necessary rebuke of the world’s dictators. [He is 100% right when he says Putin does not want him to be the President–reason enough to vote for him.] I’m sure the protesters in Hong Kong and the fledging Ukrainian government would be happy if Biden won.
Overall: A Biden future looks…a lot like the past. He’d have Clinton/Obama tendencies of only standing up to big business occasionally (but certainly better than any Republican alive), but being mostly on the right side of things–while dramatically improving America’s standing in the world. I also believe he stands a little bit chance than Warren, Sanders, and even Buttigieg in uniting the country. [Probably another reason Russia doesn’t want him, since they’re determined to tear us apart.] Although there’s not a lot to get excited about, some liberals have been overly harsh to Biden who will probably be a solid (but not fantastic) President. Excitement Level: B