Joe Biden’s Promise to America: His Past, Present, and Future

On Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020, Joe Biden was elected to become the 46th president of the United States. However, the election results were taken up with much hesitation, and the validity of the results is still being questioned.

Biden has rallied an abundance of support due to many Anti-Trump sentiments. (Credit: Gayatri Malhotra)

Gayatri Malhotra

Biden has rallied an abundance of support due to many Anti-Trump sentiments. (Credit: Gayatri Malhotra)

The election has left us with an eventful conclusion to 2020, but there is still more to come. Many are ecstatic with the outcome of the election, expressing this excitement through mass celebrations in the streets. However, others have been hesitant to accept the results. These people claim it was a fraudulent election and that they stand with President Trump, expressing expectations of Trump being inaugurated this January 20th, 2021.

The chance of a Trump second term was officially nullified as Joe Biden’s win was affirmed by the Electoral College vote that was held December 14, 2020, confirming that the election resulted in 306 electoral votes for Biden and 232 for Trump.  

Now that Joe Biden has been officially confirmed as President-Elect, it is important to learn about Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ campaign and the policies they plan to enact.

In a poll conducted on Instagram, out of 120 responses, 63% claimed they do not feel that they know enough about the president-elect. Additionally, on a quiz given about Joe Biden’s proposed policies, the average score was 66.32%. After the quiz, many expressed concerns about their lack of knowledge of his policies and conveyed a desire to learn more.

To start learning about their administration, it is important to acknowledge Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ professional pasts. 

President-Elect Joe Biden has gained a strong group of supporters throughout his campaign, and he hopes to gain even more during his Presidency. (Donna Celentano)

As most students know, Joe Biden was the Vice President under the Obama administration from 2008 to 2016. But a less commonly known fact is that he served in the United States Senate from 1973 to 2009 and served as a member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary from 1987 to 1995. 

It was during this time that Biden aided in passing the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, also commonly referred to as the 1994 Crime Bill. This bill is extremely controversial because it has been linked to mass incarceration, which disproportionately affects minority Americans, and especially Black Americans. The crime bill had authorized the death penalty which made it so that 74% of defendants with recommended death sentences were people of color. It is also very important to note that of the total, Black Americans made up 44%, and Hispanic Americans made up 61%.

Not only that, but the 1994 Crime Law also targeted these minorities by imposing mandatory life sentences for individuals with three or more felony convictions and creating stricter penalties for youth connected to crime, allowing minors to be charged as adults. Some claim that this policy was necessary. However, critics say it just highlighted the racial disparities in the juvenile justice system. 

Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris also has a controversial past. She worked as a district attorney from 1990 to 1998, and in 2004 became the first female district attorney in San Francisco.

In 2015, when called upon by the Legislative Black Caucus to support bills that would have mandated that all police officers wear body-worn cameras and that the Attorney General’s office investigate fatal officer-involved shootings, she declined

This and the 1994 Crime Bill were a major cause of concern for Biden and Harris during the campaigning process.

Now onto more current subjects: Many of Biden’s currently proposed bills and plans relate to undoing much of what the Trump administration has done in the last four years, with the Coronavirus pandemic being a main focus.

The COVID-19 pandemic has become one of the most pressing issues all world leaders have had to face. Some have been very successful at mitigating its impacts, while others have not.

The coronavirus mishandling is one of the key aspects that Biden recognizes as a failure, and he has pledged to rectify and change the policies that led to these mistakes. He has proposed an extension of crisis unemployment insurance and is a large advocate for free Coronavirus testing across the nation. 

One other major aspect of Biden’s Covid Plan is that he will administer 100 million vaccinations within his first 100 days in office. This is a notable proposition, especially considering that the coronavirus vaccine was just released to the public a few weeks ago. 

The last significant part of the plan is that he will sign a mask mandate on his first day in office. This is to further his goal of preventing and limiting the spread of the virus and attempting to abolish it from the country.

Outside of COVID-19, other widely known policies that Biden has advocated for are the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and expansion of Obamacare. He intends to implement these in the next four years to give every single American access to free and exceptional quality healthcare.

Biden not only strives to provide Americans with healthcare, but he also aims to combat large prescription drug corporations due to the extensive overpricing of essential life-saving drugs, like insulin. 

Another significant policy that Biden has promised to implement is to create millions of jobs for Americans. Biden aims to improve the economy while simultaneously bettering the quality of life for American citizens. He hopes to do this by mobilizing America and creating jobs in numerous industries. One of the main industries that Biden expects to produce the largest amount of jobs is the energy industry. He hopes to invest $2 trillion in accelerated investment to create these jobs and to make for a better environment.

Additionally, Biden claims that he will invest over $2 billion in small businesses, especially those owned by minorities, to spur their activity and aid them not only in the midst of this pandemic but also jump-start their future. He promises to distribute “restart packages” that would help small businesses in the rehiring and rebuilding process and to support them as they grow. 

Biden and Harris are also aiming to address racial disparities in two ways.

Firstly, he believes that raising the minimum wage to $15 will improve the racial gaps because this raise would positively impact people of color who, in the status quo, are the majority of people receiving minimum wages. 

Secondly, Biden and Harris aspire to make many criminal justice reforms. 

Although they have a disputable history concerning criminal justice, Biden and Harris have plans to relieve some concerns that have arisen regarding their past.

They plan to abolish mandatory minimum prison sentences which have resulted in many unjust and cruel sentences for low-level offenders based on an outdated law. They also intend to abolish the death penalty, which Trump has been heavily utilizing in his law few weeks in office. Just this week, Trump has ordered the killing of 2 men, Alfred Bourgeois and Brandon Bernard, and aims to execute at least 3 more before leaving office in January 2021.

The policies stated and many others proposed by the Biden administration aim to alleviate, as much as possible, the burdens and disparities of people targeted by the criminal justice system.

One of the most controversial topics Biden has been vocal about is immigration. Biden has pledged to try and reunite children with family members that were deported under the Trump administration and claims he will increase the maximum amount of immigrants legally allowed to immigrate to America from 15,000 to 125,000. 

However, many have brought up concerns about his claims because he will be forced to adopt some of Trump’s immigration policies, at least for some of his term. Biden will be forced to make many precautionary steps towards his goals because he is not allowed to suddenly change the limitations on the number of immigrants allowed to the U.S. If he did this, there would be many issues caused by the sudden surge of new immigrants flooding into the country all at once and thus any are wary of the fact that Biden will live up to his promises because he has seemingly overlooked this inevitable situation. 

Lastly, onto one of the issues Biden and Harris have been the most vocal about: climate change. 

Biden has acknowledged the major threat climate change poses against our earth and has been very forceful about the change he hopes to enact during his presidency. For example, he has expressed enthusiasm towards plans relevant to the Green New Deal and its framework, which advocates for the U.S. to turn away from the use of fossil fuels and to take steps towards renewable and clean energy. He aims to produce millions of jobs in which they would hire a diverse and well-trained workforce. Biden hopes to help America reach his goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and to have a 100% clean energy economy. 

There is still much to learn about what Biden and Harris hope to do for our nation, but as we wait to see what they do in their first days in office, we can still advocate for change and hope to become the nation we aspire to be. 

Although they have a disputable history concerning criminal justice, Biden and Harris have plans to relieve some concerns that have arisen regarding their past.