Editorial: Biden for president — please

Tribune Content Agency

We enthusiastically endorse Democrat Joe Biden for president. The Scranton, Pennsylvania-born, six-term senator from Delaware and two-term vice president alongside President Barack Obama has half a century’s worth of experience in public service. He has a solid respect for the democratic process and has a demonstrated history of working across divides to bring people together — but he also has wisdom enough to know when to scrap efforts at compromise and fight like hell for what’s right.

His blue-collar roots — his dad was a used car salesman, and Biden washed windows to help pay his Catholic high school tuition — taught him the importance of hard work and perseverance (and the thrill of eschewing both sometimes in favor of partying in college). And it gave him a practical understanding of the struggles and desires of the average American that he retains today.

He knows what it is to face adversity in both politics and his personal life, overcoming a childhood stutter and enduring the devastating deaths of his first wife and their young daughter in a car crash in 1972 and of his adult son Beau from brain cancer in 2015. He is known for having a deep well of empathy and a rare willingness to listen.

Of course, he’s not without flaws. He has a problematic record on racial equity, both in positions he’s taken through the decades on school integration and mass incarceration, and in certain statements he’s made about race. And allegations of sexual misconduct, which he vehemently denies, have recently joined old claims that he plagiarized closing remarks in a 1987 debate and that he’s prone to misspeaking.

In normal times, these might be enough to disqualify him from our endorsement, if not the actual office. But these are not normal times. Biden is outmatched by the incumbent Republican in appalling behavior in most every area.

President Donald Trump has openly supported white supremacist groups. He has been publicly accused by more than two dozen women of sexual misconduct and assault. He plagiarized a real estate publication in his Trump University textbooks, an op-ed by Ben Carson and Ronald Reagan’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan; and his wife infamously stole from a Michelle Obama speech when addressing the Republican National Convention in 2017. And as for misspeaking, we have one word for you: covfefe.

No, whatever his faults, Joe Biden still represents a marked improvement over the current officeholder in terms of both human decency and policy position. On immigration: Biden supports pathways to citizenship, while Trump is unfailing committed to his border wall. On health care: Biden will build on the Affordable Care Act, which led to more Americans being insured than ever before, while Trump has never offered a comprehensive health care plan and badly mishandled COVID-19, exacerbating the public health crisis. On taxes: Biden plans to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy to lessen the burden on the everyday American, while Trump thought it was a good idea to temporarily cut payroll taxes, which really just amounts to a loan workers will eventually have to pay back.

And on national security, we trust the recommendation of 489 generals, admirals and former national security officials from both parties who endorsed Biden on Thursday, saying he “has the character, principles, wisdom, and leadership necessary to address a world on fire” while “Donald Trump cannot rise to meet challenges large or small” — whether they be managing climate change, North Korea’s nuclear program or international relations.

The country is more divided than at any time in recent history. We have lost face and place on the world stage. Americans are dying from a mishandled public health crisis and taking to the streets to demand racial justice. It’s time for a uniter. It’s time for President Joe Biden.


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