Like many young left-leaning Americans, I was disappointed when former Vice President Joe Biden secured the nomination over Senator Bernie Sanders. I have been a supporter of Bernie’s since high school, before I could even vote, so I was really hoping to see his name on the ballot. I have noticed a lot of my fellow Bernie supporters, specifically young ones, threatening to vote third party, or not even vote at all, to avoid voting for Biden. While I completely understand the frustration, I feel as though many of these people don’t understand the seriousness of this election and why we need to give our vote to Biden. I try to be an optimistic person and I hate the idea of voting for someone that I am not excited for, so here are five reasons that we should be excited to vote for Joe Biden in November (that aren’t just the fact that he isn’t Trump).
*Please keep in mind that I will only be hitting a few major highlights and will not be covering all of his promises within each issue. I really encourage reading all about his plans on his website, which I will link at the end of this article. *
- Criminal Justice Reform
While Biden has a lot of plans under criminal justice reform I will only be focusing on two: eliminating the death penalty and ending mandatory minimum sentencing. Eliminating the death penalty is an issue that I feel very strongly about and am very happy with Biden’s stance. Joe Biden plans to eliminate the death penalty and he cites wrongful convictions as the reason. According to his campaign website, he believes the death penalty should be eliminated since they cannot ensure that they get death penalty cases right every single time. His plan includes working towards a legislation to eliminate the death penalty on the federal level and incentivizing states to follow by example. I also completely agree with Biden that the individuals who commit what would currently be considered death penalty cases should face life without parole or probation instead.
The issues with mandatory minimums are admittedly something I only learned about in the past year but I cannot believe I had not been informed on it before. Mandatory minimum sentences take away a judge’s right to consider circumstances when sentencing someone and can put someone in jail for a lot longer than they would otherwise be put away for. Biden supports putting an end to mandatory minimums and plans to eliminate them on a federal level before once again motivating states to follow.
Other plans include: eliminating private prisons, ensuring humane prison conditions, juvenile justice reform and focusing more on redemption and second chances after those incarcerated are done serving their time.
- Plans for Climate Change
Environmental issues are probably the most important thing to me when considering who I will be supporting. Climate change is real and it is scary- if we don’t do something about it, nothing else even matters. Biden’s plan includes a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions no later than 2050. His plan is bold and forceful, but that is what we need if we have any hope of protecting our home. Biden plans to start signing executive orders on day one and will hold Congress accountable if they do not act. He also hopes to develop a plan that will create a clean, safe and fast rail system throughout the country. Finally, he knows that we cannot do this alone and plans to rejoin the Paris Agreement and work with other countries to increase their ambitions along with the US. Biden understands how important these issues are, and that is a huge reason why he will be getting a vote from me in November.
Other plans include: Holding polluters who disproportionately harm low-income communities and communities of color accountable, safe and clean water for all communities and demand Congress enacts his plan for clean energy economy within his first year.
- Gun Control
Gun control is something else that I find extremely important. I have been practicing active shooter drills for my entire school career and I hate how normal it has become. Before I get into Biden’s plan I just want to make something clear, gun control is not the government coming into your house and taking your guns away. It is about regulating the guns that Americans possess and working hard to make sure they stay out of the wrong hands. I feel like that is very often misunderstood so I just wanted to clarify that no one is trying to take your guns away, we just want to do whatever we can to avoid the thousands of deaths that happen every year due to gun violence in America.
One of Biden’s main plans to end gun violence is banning the manufacture and sale of assault weapons. This ban will be designed to prevent manufacturers from using loopholes to sell them anyway. Now, banning these weapons does not mean you can no longer keep a gun in your home for safety or hunting, you just would not be able to purchase new assault weapons. I may not be a gun person, but I think we can all live without them.
Another plan is to regulate possession of existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act. If you already own an assault weapon, don’t worry-you will not have to hand it over. Current laws require all people who own machine-guns, silencers, and short-barreled rifles to go through a background check and register their weapons with ATF. These requirements have caused these weapons to be rarely used in crime. Biden’s plan means that if you already own an assault weapon no one will take it from you, you just have to pass a background check and register it. The final part of his gun control stance I would like to mention is his plan for voluntary buy back on currently owned assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. This gives owners of these weapons two options: sell them to the government or follow the plan mentioned above and register it.
Other plans include: Reduce stockpiling of weapons, requiring background checks for all gun sales, close current loopholes in the federal background check system and reinstate policy that keeps guns out of possession of those who are unable to manage their affairs for mental reasons.
- Immigration Policies
Immigration is a major part of America and its history and, while Biden’s plan for immigration isn’t perfect, it’s an improvement, a common theme in his campaign. A big part of his immigration promises comes from his plan for his first 100 days in office. One of his major promises that he hopes to accomplish in his first 100 days is to protect Dreamers and their families. DACA was created in 2012 while Biden was VP, and the Trump admiration has continuously tried to terminate it. Biden’s plan includes keeping the DACA program and extend protection to their families as well. Another one of Biden’s biggest priorities when considering immigration are to reverse the policies that separate parents and children at the border. Those policies are frankly just inhumane and cruel I will be glad to see them gone. To go alone with that, he also promises to prioritize reuniting separated families and eliminating the intimidation tactic of prosecuting parents for minor immigration violations.
Other plans include: End mismanagement of the asylum system, rescind “Muslim” bans, hold ICE and CBP accountable for inhumane treatment, and protect and expand the opportunities for immigrants who served in the military.
- His Adminstration
When you vote for a president, that is not the only person you are voting for. You are also voting for those who the president will surround themselves with. With Biden you are also voting for his vice president nominee, Kamala Harris. If elected, Harris would be the first female vice president in the history of our country. She is also the first woman of color to accept the VP nomination for a major party. This is so exciting, as it would move America forward. A great wish of mine is that throughout my life I will stop seeing Presidents who all look the same and, while Harris would be VP, it is a step towards that reality. Besides Harris, a huge point for Biden is that you will be voting for Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement on the Supreme Court. If Biden wins, RBG will be able to retire and we can avoid another Kavanaugh taking her place.
While Biden may be another old, white, straight man I believe he knows the importance of surrounding himself with those who have different experiences then him. While we do not know exactly who Biden will pick for his cabinet, I think that his choice of Kamala Harris proves that he is not against choosing people who challenge and push him while Trump has always picked people who will follow him blindly. A president needs to be held just as accountable as any other American and I trust Biden to choose an administration that will serve the nation, not just him.
Is Biden my perfect candidate? No. Will I be giving him my vote in November? Absolutely. I understand the anger over his nomination and I definitely experienced it myself, but if we want any chance at improvement for our country, Biden is the one. I find that a lot of people accuse me of hating America when I voice my disappointment in it. That could not be further from the truth. I love America, it is my home, and I want to make it better. When you love someone, you don’t blindly accept everything they do, especially if it is hurting them. When you love someone, you want them to grow and be the best version of themselves that they can be.
I love America, so I will be voting for Joe Biden in November, and I encourage all of you to join me.
*All plans come directly from https://joebiden.com/ , please click on the link to explore further plans under each issue I discussed, as well as the ones I didn’t*