Tomorrow, we will watch the victor, President-elect Joe Biden, be sworn into office after millions of Americans went to the polls to vote for the lesser of two evils.
The 2020 presidential election gave voters the opportunity to choose a new leader. However, we weren’t left with much of a choice.
When Biden, previously the vice president for former President Barack Obama, was announced as the Democratic candidate against President Donald Trump, the phrase “settle for Biden” surfaced on social media. It acknowledged Biden is flawed but recognized this country cannot survive another Trump term.
On Nov. 7, 2020, Biden was elected the 46th president of the United States. While we may have settled for Biden, we still must criticize him as harshly as we would Trump.
Despite students’ reluctance to vote for Biden, one of the less liberal Democrats, many celebrated his victory in the streets of Center City Philadelphia on Nov. 7, 2020, including Kevin Reeder, a senior music technology major.
“It felt like a relief,” Reeder said. “I felt like most of the people there were the ‘settle for Biden’ crowd. It wasn’t a celebration for Biden as much as a celebration for Trump leaving office.”
Valerie Levy, a senior English major, and her three friends were also part of the “settle for Biden” crowd.
“We all agreed that we’re not going to celebrate the Biden win: we’re celebrating Trump getting kicked out of office,” Levy said.
While it is fair to applaud the Biden and Harris administration taking over, it is also important to remember that he was not most young people’s first choice because of his moderate-leaning agenda.
“Obviously, putting Biden into office is not the final solution,” Reeder said.
Additionally, few young voters are informed about Biden’s political history, as they were too young to understand his policies when they were enacted.
During his career as a Delaware senator, Biden helped draft the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, signed by former President Bill Clinton. The 1994 Crime Bill was controversial because it exacerbated mass incarceration, which targeted Black and brown populations, Vox reported.
Biden is now working to advance the economic mobility of Black citizens and strengthening his commitment to racial justice. This will be achieved by investing in Black businesses and ensuring equal access to credit and capital, according to Biden’s campaign website.
His Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris, will also be the first woman and person of Black and South Asian ancestry to serve in this role, CBS News reported.
Despite Biden selecting Harris as his Vice President, people are apprehensive because they are more aware of how issues like mass incarceration disproportionately affect people of color.
Biden has been criticized by young voters as being a “blank slate,” meaning he is not progressive enough, as well as for his sexual assault allegations and potential ties to credit card companies. But he has pushed for free college and bankruptcy overhauls, NBC News reported.
“Biden will take half a loaf. That is that most policy is created incrementally,” said Robin Kolodny, chair of the political science department.
Although Biden’s faults are a far cry from Trump’s, it’s up to us to hold him accountable.
“In a country with a lot of different demand, you’re going to have to settle for the best you can do, not the perfect,” Kolodny said.
He has chosen a diverse Cabinet to help him roll back Trump’s climate and immigration policies, NPR reported.
I would like to see Biden address the issues Trump neglected, like increasing access to affordable healthcare, decreasing gun violence and standing up for LGBTQ and women’s rights.
Biden isn’t perfect, but he is the first step to reversing the past four years. We settled for him to win the election. Now, we won’t be satisfied until he follows through with his campaign plans.