Why I’m Eager for Joe Biden’s Presidency
With Kamala Harris at his side, Likely President-Elect Biden is ready to fight Covid, the recession, the climate crisis, and more. He will move the nation forward again
At this writing, Joe Biden is not yet the president-elect. In the early hours of Saturday, 7 Nov. 2020, he and the rest of the world wait for votes to be counted in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada. It is Day Five of our Election Week.
But we have a clear idea of why Joe Biden is ready to be the president we need. His remarks a few hours ago on Friday night in Wilmington, Delaware, were pegged as an election update rather than a victory speech. Yet they revealed why he is getting off to a fine start at the president we need.
Biden begins with a majority of the nation behind him. Thanks to voter turnout efforts on both sides building intense interest in this year’s election, Biden also begins as the recipient of more votes than any president in history.
Is this a mandate? I think so. Landslide would be quite a stretch, given the closeness of the election in the final states, the loss of a hoped-for majority in the Senate and loss of Democratic seats in the House, and the undeniable reality that President Donald Trump received the second-highest number of votes ever cast for a presidential candidate. But Biden can be confident that more than 74 million American adults start off with him, and that number is a record and therefore a mandate. Biden and Likely Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris are vessels for the hopes of those Americans.
But beyond vote totals, this election was conducted in full view of a nation convulsed with protest and on the cusp of a movement for racial reconciliation. Biden knows he will have re-built the Democratic “blue wall” in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, as well as captured Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada, because of his campaign’s close work with African-American and Latinx political leaders. He knows that he owes the resurgence of his campaign and political career during the spring to U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., and the black voters of South Carolina in its presidential primary.
Biden wants to be the agent of change for Americans.
“What’s becoming clear each hour is that a record number of Americans of all races, faiths, religions chose change over more of the same. They’ve given us a mandate for action on Covid, the economy, climate change, systemic racism. They’ve made it clear they want the country to come together, not continue to pull apart,” Biden said on Thursday, stretching his hands apart to illustrate the last point. “The people spoke.”
Biden said that he and Senator Harris received briefings Thursday on Covid-19, public health, and the economic crisis. “The pandemic … is getting more worrisome all across the country. Daily cases have skyrocketed and it is now believed we could see 200,000 [new] cases in a single day.”
Biden demonstrated, as he so often does, his empathy for Americans who have lost family members to tragedy, such as the nation’s 225,000 Covid-19 deaths in nine months. He said, “We’ll never be able to measure all that pain and the loss, the suffering, that so many families have experienced. We know something about what it feels like to lose someone, and I want them to know they’re not alone. Our hearts break with you.
“I want everyone to know that on Day One we’re going to put our plan to control this virus into action. We can’t save any of the lives lost, that have been lost. But we can save a lot of lives in the months ahead.”
Concurrent with fighting the coronavirus, Biden pledged that he and Harris would work to strengthen an economy hard-hit by the virus with 20 million Americans unemployed and millions worried about making housing payments and affording the necessities of life.
But in the final portion of his remarks on Friday, Biden exuded optimism for restoring a national purpose that will push the nation forward to solve critical problems rather than wallow in political division and anger.
“You know, we’re proving again what we’ve proved for 244 years in this country: Democracy works,” Biden said.
“But we have to remember, the purpose of our democracy isn’t total unrelenting unending warfare. No, the purpose of our politics, the work of the nation isn’t to fan the flames of conflict but to solve problems, to guarantee justice, to give everybody a fair shot, and to improve the lives of our people. We may be opponents, but we are not enemies. We are Americans.”
“We have to put the anger and the demonization behind us. It’s time for us to come together as a nation to heal. It’s not going to be easy. But we have to try.”
He said that as president, he will work for all Americans. “That’s the job. It’s called the duty of care for all Americans.”
I cannot wait to inaugurate a president who once again cares for the people more than self-interest.