As if 2020 couldn’t be more eventful, the year happens to withhold one of the most anticipated Presidential elections in United States history.
From a leftist standpoint, I can safely admit that Trump deserves the title of “leader” about as much as the desert deserves to be deemed “wet.” After four years of lies and corruption, it’s understandable why a large portion of the American public is anxious for his removal.
And with the recent surge in Black Lives Matter protesting, as well as anti-capitalism / socialist sentiment, the desire for a progressive president is ever-growing.
While the beginning of 2020 showed promise for candidate Bernie Sanders, who is well known for his democratic socialist ideals, it’s been virtually decided that the Democratic nomination will go to former Vice President Joe Biden. And with the recent surge in Black Lives Matter protesting, as well as anti-capitalism / socialist sentiment, the desire for a progressive president is ever-growing.
Biden’s nomination is controversial, especially among younger voters; with his past support for bills detrimental to minorities, as well as a sexual assault allegation, those on the far left are not thrilled with a moderate candidate. However, many Democrats around the country feel it necessary to push their distaste for Biden to the side, seeing as he is up against the most disapproved of President in the history of the United States.
Despite Biden’s moderate past, his new, apparent openness to socialist policy is encouraging. The impact of a recent boom in protests against racial inequality is evident in the candidate’s policies. To start, Biden’s website claims the potential president will work to protect citizens (especially Black citizens) from voter suppression, such as felony disenfranchisement, which has disproportionately affected the black community’s voice since the introduction of the Jim Crow Era. This leaves Democratic voters somewhat satisfied, and more radical voters less than satisfied but still willing to vote for Biden.
After taking these and other policies into consideration, on top of the fact that his opponent is a tyrannical disaster, Biden seems a satisfactory enough candidate. While Biden winning in itself would be a grand victory, how citizens act after Inauguration Day will determine whether Biden is all he’s cracked up to be. After all, a Democratic President does not automatically equal a just President with the best American interest at heart.
While Biden winning in itself would be a grand victory, how citizens act after Inauguration Day will determine whether Biden is all he’s cracked up to be.
To better illustrate my point, allow us to revisit the Obama administration. Since the 2016 election, liberals have yearned for those “good old Obama days,” when we didn’t have an explosive man child running our country. It’s this direct comparison between a well-spoken, polished Obama, and Trump, who is neither of those things, that leads many liberals to simply assume that Obama was a fair and caring leader.
In no way am I completely denouncing Obama. Obama’s administration accomplished several milestones for the American people, including Obamacare and major financial regulation. It’s possible he would have achieved more if it weren’t for the debilitating deliberation that comes with a bipartisan system. On the other hand, underneath the moral facade created by the election of a decent Democratic President directly after a disastrous Republican President lies many acts that, if done by Trump, would spark similar outrage to what we see today.
A prime example would be Obama’s immigration crackdown. During his time in office, Obama deported over 3 million illegal immigrants, a million more than his Republican predecessor President Bush. The administration was the first to attempt immigrant detention until their designated court date; the president and his team had agreed to a $1 billion deal with Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison corporation in the nation. Although the plan fell through due to a federal court decision deeming the detainment of asylum seekers illegal, the Obama administration remained not only the first to introduce the idea of immigrant detention centers, but also the first to end the “wet feet, dry feet” program, which provided easy access to the U.S. for Cubans fleeing an oppressive government.
Another failure worth noting was the administration’s militaristic solutions to war in the Middle East. After approving over $100 billion in weaponry and aid for Saudi Arabia in their relentless war with Yemen, the Obama administration became highly complicit in the destruction of the latter nation. The decision involved America in yet another Middle Eastern conflict, straining both taxpayers as well as Yemen’s citizens, who are still deeply burdened by a massive humanitarian crisis today.
So while Obama is considered one of the most progressive American leaders in modern history, the former president remains guilty of several actions that are a bit too similar to what we see happening under the Trump administration. And while Obama’s disapproved actions certainly were not to as extreme a degree as Trump’s, it’s plausible that Obama being a progressive leader resulted in a lack of citizen uprising, due to an assumed facade of morality in the Democratic party.
Although his platform promises much progress, we cannot rely solely on his administration to perpetuate justice.
The 2020 election presents a similar, yet increasingly urgent situation to the succession of Bush to Obama. With this potential shift of power from Trump to Biden, we must be extra cautious when assuming Biden is the better candidate because he is a Democrat. Biden is quite obviously a much more moral guy than Trump, but we cannot allow this to dissuade us from continuing to fight for the change that the people, not just the elite, want and need. Although his platform promises much progress, we cannot rely solely on his administration to perpetuate justice; as we witnessed in the Obama era, the nature of our competitive bipartisan system does not easily allow for changes to be made.
Especially in times like these, where racial equality and civil rights are obviously empty promises, it is crucial that the American people command their voices be heard, and their demands be met by those meant to protect us, even under someone who vows to create a better American society. We must continue our marches, our presence on social media, and our education on the racial disparities that have existed in this nation for far too long. Even when up against military aggression, the fight must go on. We cannot assume that police will ease up in the event of a Biden presidency.
Democracy isn’t just about voting. The American government is built upon pillars of inequality and injustice. Do not assume you know what is happening in the underbelly of an administration, Democratic or not.