OPINION

Biden, not Trump, is the leader America needs now

Joe Biden’s campaign has mirrored his character, showing the calm, compassionate leader Americans need in this moment.

The Democratic United States presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, arrives to speak at a rally with former President Barack Obama in Flint, Michigan on October 31 [File: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik]
The Democratic United States presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, arrives to speak at a rally with former President Barack Obama in Flint, Michigan on October 31 [File: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik]

Radical socialist, corrupt, inept – these are just some of the labels that the campaign of United States President Donald Trump has tried to pin onto Joe Biden over the past few months.  Still, polls show Biden with a significant lead as Americans vote on Election Day.

Four years ago, it was Trump who seemed impermeable to attack, as controversy after controversy did little to shake the loyalty of his supporters.

Four years later, the tables have turned, with Biden not only maintaining a lead over the incumbent, but even causing worry among Republicans that states such as Georgia, Arizona and Texas may be in play.

Trump’s barrage of attacks has failed to connect with voters for a variety of reasons.

From the administration’s failed attempt to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, to the fact that Biden is viewed positively by most Americans, on Election Day, the country is poised to end its failed experiment with Trumpism and the Republicans’ politics of hate, division and chaos.

To start, the Trump administration’s ability to deal with the coronavirus pandemic has left many frustrated. Suburban voters who reside in areas around major cities, in particular, are fed up with the economic uncertainty that business and school closures have caused in their communities. Additional stimulus payments would be well received, but discussions over another round have ground to a halt as Republican leadership in the Senate has ended negotiations.

Where has Trump been during all the commotion? He has not been forging alliances, brokering deals – despite his supposed aptitude as a dealmaker – or providing a soothing, calming voice to the thousands who have lost loved ones during this health crisis.

Instead, Trump has been on the campaign trail, railing into Biden, stoking fears that if the Democrat wins, then the Supreme Court will be fundamentally altered and cities will burn.

Never mind that it has been on Trump’s watch that cities have been burning as protests take place against racial injustice, or that his party essentially forced a nominee onto the Supreme Court despite the fact many Americans would have preferred to wait until after the election to fill the seat of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Biden, meanwhile, has not been on the campaign trail as much as Trump for the simple fact that he is following coronavirus protocols. Where Trump leads mega rallies with maskless followers, Biden speaks at events that feature people sitting at a safe distance from one another in their cars.

Some say that one of the best ways to see how candidates would be as presidents is to see how they run their campaigns. This is especially true now, when daily case counts of coronavirus shoot up around the country, and Biden is leading a campaign that is cautious when it comes to the wellbeing of his supporters and calming when it comes to widespread anxiety.

These qualities also show how Biden’s campaign mirrors his character. To illustrate, just look at how Trump has consistently tried to make Biden the centre of a corruption controversy that revolves around the Democratic nominee’s son’s dealing with the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma.

The former vice president has taken the opportunity that the Burisma scandal has created to showcase his empathy. Reports document that even when on the campaign trail, Biden takes the time every day to call his son to check in. The reason is quite simple – Biden’s son, Hunter, is recovering from drug addiction, and his dad wants to see how he is doing.

This picture of a caring, calming figure has come to characterise Biden over the years. It was early in his political career when his first wife and daughter were killed in a car accident. When Biden was serving as vice president in the administration of former President Barack Obama, Biden’s son Beau died from brain cancer.

It is true that Biden is a career politician with more than 50 years of experience. What is also true is that over this time, the Democratic nominee has learned a significant amount from his trying experiences of loss and pain.

At a time when thousands around the US are reeling from the loss of loved ones, Biden is the candidate who has over the years developed an authentic sense of compassion.

Four years ago, high unfavourable ratings characterised both presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. This time around, the polls show something different. While many continue to see Trump unfavourably, a majority of Americans view Biden positively. That Americans see the Democrat this way is in part due to his personal history and character.

There has been much speculation about what a Biden administration would entail. Some see a series of progressive policy proposals, whether to address climate change, the infrastructure needs of a country that is seeing its bridges and roads fall into disrepair, or our flawed healthcare system.  Others see in Biden a moderate centrist who would introduce no radical changes if elected.

Regardless of the outcome, what is shared by American voters is real displeasure with how four years of Trump’s divisive rhetoric – whether the target is immigrants, Democrats, or Dr Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – has led the country headlong into chaos.

The country wants a president who will help us resolve our many problems, not contribute to them. And it is Biden – not Trump – who has the personal history and vision that this moment in time requires.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.



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