By the time this is published, Election Day will have come and gone. Hopefully, we will know the outcome. But regardless of who wins, Donald Trump or Joe Biden, there are two guaranteed losers: the American people and the working class. This is not to say that Donald Trump and Joe Biden are equally bad. It is clear to me that Joe Biden is the better choice. But while Donald Trump represents continued, fast, large-scale negative change, Joe Biden represents neutral stagnation.
A continuation of Trump’s presidency will mean a continuation and probably a strengthening of his racist, sexist, classist and neo-fascist policies. It will mean no change to the human rights violations occurring in his immigration system. It will mean more of Trump’s at best tacit support and often blatant support of racist and far-right groups and actions in the United States. It will mean a continued rejection and downplaying of the Coronavirus pandemic as it continues to infect millions of Americans and kill over 200,000 Americans. Finally, and most importantly, it will mean a continued rejection of science and climate change and a lack of basic intervention to lead the United States and the world to a carbon-neutral society. A Trump win in 2020 is a loss for the American people and the working class.
As Biden said to his wealthy donors at the beginning of his campaign, under his presidency “nothing will fundamentally change.” We are living at a time where large-scale fundamental change is necessary to prevent environmental destruction and economic collapse. Biden’s plan for climate change is an incremental solution to get the United States carbon neutral by 2050. According to the IPCC Report on Climate Change, the world needs to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030. Implementing Biden’s plan or returning to the Paris Climate Agreement will not suffice to reach this target. If current trends continue, the world is expected to reach one-third of its goal set in the Paris Agreement. As Hope Jahren says in her book “The Story of More,” “Donald Trump announcing that the United States will not comply with the terms of the Paris Agreement is like me announcing that I will not rule England after Queen Elizabeth dies.” These plans are not enough to save us, and even they are not being completed.
In regards to health care, Biden has defended the private health insurance industry and does not plan to rein them in. Rather, he plans to create a public option and build off of the Affordable Care Act. In the United States today, 45,000 people die every year due to lack of health insurance. We do not need a bandage to fix this problem; we need a fundamental change to the health care system in this country. Those 45,000 deaths are preventable. The United States government and the private health care system chooses not to save them. The American people and the working class cannot afford having nothing fundamentally change. They know that. That’s why we have seen the rise of populism in the United States be it right-wing populism under Trump or left-wing populism under Bernie Sanders.
All of that being said, I want to reiterate that I support Biden for president if, for nothing else, harm reduction. I hope that by the time this is published, he will be the president-elect. But the fight for what is right and necessary is not over, regardless of outcome. Biden is not our savior. He is a conservative Democrat. If Trump continues as president, the fight for equity and justice will have to be nasty and tenacious as it has been. Under Biden, this fight will have to be much of the same. Neutral stagnation will always be better than fast, negative change, but it will require us to make the positive change we need.