#SettleForBiden: The New Progressive Voting Agenda

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The front cover of the print edition of ‘The New York Times’ from November 5th, 2020, shows Joseph Biden, our President Elect.

President Elect Joseph Biden’s relatively progressive policies gave him the reputation of being the “lesser of two evils” for progressive voters during the Presidential Election which occurred on November 3rd, 2020. But why did influencers and social media put pressure on progressives to “settle”?

The phrase “Settle for Biden” is known as a social media hashtag and as a political organization. Both aimed to increase voter turnout during the November 3rd Presidental Election, in order to prevent current President Donald Trump from having a second term in office. Many of President Trump’s current policies, like the Zero Tolerance Policy for undocumented people, and the rollback of Obama-era policies like Obamacare and the revision of Title IX, have put the rights of many Americans in jeopardy. The Trump Administration’s handling of COVID-19 and his responses to the 2017 Charlottesville rally and this summer’s Black Lives Matter protests also have made many Americans view him in a negative light. 

Some Bronx Science students believe that it was necessary to #SettleForBiden during the 2020 Presidential election because of Donald Trump’s divisive use of rhetoric alone. “The main reason that I feel we should ‘settle’ for Joe Biden is that President Trump is just a terrible person,” said Maurice Burbridge ’22. “Trump has made racist remarks several times, would not denounce white supremacists when put on the spot, and has referred to COVID-19 as the ‘China Virus’ multiple times.”

Some progressives had an issue with this voting strategy because of the impact that it could have upon the other political parties. Five percent of the popular vote would give a political party access to Federal funding during major elections. Due to the high stakes of this election, however, many believed that voting beyond the two major parties was not worth it, given that Green Party candidate Jill Stein was a factor in President Trump’s defeat of Hilary Clinton with the Electoral College in the 2016 Presidential election.

“Democratic change must occur within the system. Those unwilling to vote for Biden because they believe the options are the same are unaware of the policy positions of Biden compared to Trump, and the impact with the rise of progressives in the Democratic parties,” said Rahib Taher ’22. “Voting for other parties will not do anything to challenge the bureaucratic powers of the current dominant two parties, Republicans and Democrats. The only tangible way to enforce change at the moment is to vote for and support your local representatives and to put pressure on the major political parties so that they will listen to the interests of the people.”

Maurice Burbridge, ’22 believes that was necessary to settle for Joe Biden for the 2020 Presidential election. “The president and his administration should have to follow the law just as much as any American, and Biden sees that. I don’t completely love him, but he at least has a few ideas that I agree with, unlike President Trump.” (Victoria Diaz)

I’ve recently exchanged emails with Aditya Bhalla, the Social Media Director for the Settle For Biden organization. Bhalla said, “I think the Trump administration has had a number of harmful policies that make Biden the clear choice in this election. As a young person, I really do believe action on climate change is incredibly important, and this [current Trump] administration has not only refused to take action on climate change, but actively made it worse by rolling back Obama-era environmental regulations,” Bhalla said. 

Bhalla continued, “Joe Biden has a (relatively) progressive platform, and we’re going to try our best to hold him to it and to push him even further left. Right now, Biden is campaigning on a $15 minimum wage, free public colleges for those making less than $125,000, ending cash bail, and a fairly aggressive climate plan.”

Some Bronx Science students also believe that Joe Biden’s policies made him the best candidate for progressives during the 2020 Presidential election. “I don’t think that President Elect Biden is my ideal candidate for the leader of the country, but he’s far better than President Trump. Biden actually believes in climate change, Medicare for All, and the severity of the Coronavirus pandemic,” said Arianne Browne ’22.

Candidates with more progressive platforms, like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, were immensely popular during the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries. However, because Joe Biden was the Democratic Presidential candidate and has the power to lead America in a new direction, many Americans believed that it was necessary to settle.

Now that the November 3rd, 2020 election results are in and fully tabulated, Joseph Biden is our President Elect, having won the Electoral College with 306 votes to Donald Trump’s 232 (270 or more are needed to win). In addition, Biden won the popular vote with 79,662,486 votes (51%) to Donald Trump’s 73,681,959 votes (47.2%); Biden won by 5,980,527 votes, a sizable margin of victory. 

“Joe Biden has a (relatively) progressive platform, and we’re going to try our best to hold him to it and to push him even further left. Right now, Biden is campaigning on a $15 minimum wage, free public colleges for those making less than $125,000, ending cash bail, and a fairly aggressive climate plan,” said Aditya Bhalla, the Social Media Director for the Settle For Biden organization.

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