Political Issue: Settling for Biden


Morgan Hooker

Biden won the democratic candidacy over fellow frontrunner Bernie Sanders, leading some liberal Democrats to consider voting third party. Others find themselves ‘settling for Biden’.

This November, America will choose the next leader of the country, either incumbent President Donald Trump or Democrat, former Vice President Joe Biden. But for some, neither option is inspiring. Biden won the democratic candidacy over fellow frontrunner Bernie Sanders, who was popular for his more progressive policies. For many liberal Democrats, Biden’s platform is too centrist. From ideological differences to sexual harassment allegations, issues with Biden have led some Democrats to consider voting third party. Others find themselves ‘settling for Biden’. 


In the primaries, Bernie Sanders gained widespread popularity among more liberal Democrats. Many of these Democrats who didn’t support Biden felt more connected to Bernie’s message. Rowan Burba, senior, said she preferred several initial candidates over Biden. 


“The candidate I was supporting for the Democratic nomination, as I was in 2016, was Bernie,” Burba said. “I really hoped that he would have done better. I was also fine with Tulsi Gabbard but she was not nearly as popular. I supported people who are more progressive and don’t have a history of taking corporate money.”


Though Sanders is nearly 80 years old, he was seen by many as the representative of a younger, more progressive demographic. Will Bergman, junior, feels that Biden does not speak to the needs of his generation. 

I will vote Democrat down the rest of the ballot, but I will not betray my morals and vote for Biden.

— Rowan Burba

“I don’t think Biden is the most inspiring candidate because he hasn’t stood for very much as far as specific policy goes, and a lot of his views seem very old-fashioned. I feel like he’s outdated,” Bergman said. “He is an older politician and though Bernie isn’t any younger I do feel like [Bernie’s] more in touch with the younger generation, and has been more vocal about the problems that we’re facing today like the ongoing racism, climate change and healthcare crisis.”


A major shortcoming of Biden’s campaign for many people has been his stance on healthcare. Now more than ever, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, some feel that healthcare policy should be a priority. Many feel Biden has not put enough emphasis on reforming the healthcare system.  


“Something that’s especially alarming with the pandemic going on is that Biden doesn’t support universal healthcare, something Bernie was always a big advocate for,” Burba said. “It’s especially important right now to have an adequate healthcare system to manage this crisis more effectively.”


Eva Geiger-Ferber, senior, knows the importance of federal healthcare firsthand, having relied on it herself. She said she considers a candidate’s stance on healthcare because it will personally impact her life and those of others. 


“There’s a lot of things about Biden’s platform that I don’t agree with. I was in support of progressive candidates like Bernie as the Democratic nominee, especially because of his stance on issues like healthcare,” Geiger-Ferber said. “As someone who has relied on federal healthcare, I know how much work the system needs. I don’t feel like Biden has prioritized universal healthcare enough.”


Beyond healthcare, some Democrats feel that Biden has not fought enough for critical causes. Biden’s comparative lack of activism on issues like climate change and racial inequity concerns voters  like Burba. 


“Biden has not made a livable minimum wage a part of his platform like more progressive candidates did,” Burba said. “You see other politicians supporting ideas like the Green New Deal, whereas Biden takes money from ‘big oil.’ Bernie Sanders was at the sit-ins during the Civil Right Movements, Tulsi Gabbard was at the Standing Rock protests in 2016, they’re actively trying to address these issues. Biden does not have that history and I do not trust him whatsoever to start doing that.”


Both Trump and Biden have been subject to multiple sexual harassment allegations. While both men have come under fire for these allegations, some voters like Burba  feel that Biden is not held accountable enough for that record.  


“We as a society do not hold Democrats accountable. When we saw the sexual assault allegations against Trump everyone jumped on that and held him accountable, as they should, but with Biden everyone just kind of let [the sexual abuse allegations] slide,” Burba said. “It’s just very hypocritical how we hold Democrats and Republican politicians to such different standards for doing the same thing. It scares me that people’s only bar [for Biden] is that he’s better than Trump, because I don’t think he really is.”


Some democrats, though they don’t fully support Biden, feel obligated to vote for him as a vote against Trump. They see Biden as preferable among two non ideal candidates, and would choose to vote for him because of the future decisions and implications of the presidency. 


“I won’t be old enough to vote in this next election, but if I were I would probably vote for Biden just because I think he’s better than Trump,” Bergman said. “Voting for Biden is also voting for decisions like Supreme Court nominations to be made under a Democratic administration.”


Others would rather vote for a third-party candidate, even though they may have a slim chance to win. They might feel a vote for Biden, even as the alternative to Trump, would undermine their beliefs. 


“I’m happy that I can vote, I’m not happy about the presidential candidates. I’ll be voting third party, especially since Trump will almost certainly get all the electoral votes from Missouri.” Burba said. “I will vote Democrat down the rest of the ballot, but I will not betray my morals and vote for Biden.”