Andrew de Koeyer| Writer
March 12, 2020
By now the democratic field has been reduced to two clear candidates, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. What began as one of the most crowded fields in party history, each with a reasonable amount of support and a set of unique policies, has culminated into the two final serious bids for the democratic nomination for the presidency. Following voting on Super Tuesday, the majority of the remaining candidates at the time dropped out of the race, and rushed to endorse Joe Biden for the presidential bid. Now, as Biden continues to collect delegates by means of his endorsements and substantial backing by moderate voters, it is more inevitable than ever that he will gain the nomination. But Biden’s track record when it comes to policy is shaky at best. His shifting views and carelessness on the campaign trail makes him vulnerable to attack by the Republican party and from his own party. These are the arguments against Joe Biden’s bid for the presidency:
Biden’s shifting political positions
Throughout his political career, Biden has been everything but consistent when it comes to his policy on everything from gay rights and abortion to foreign policy. In a time where many believe they should be more sure of their stances and ideals than ever, Biden’s shifty record is a turn off for many of the more liberal voters.
One example that is commonly pointed to his position on same-sex marriage. In 2008, when asked if he supported the idea, he publicly rebuked it. When asked about it again in 2012, he expressed that he didn’t have any objections to it. This pattern of shifting stances is proof to many Democrats that Biden isn’t true to his ideas and values.
“Consistency is everything right now,” San Clemente High School senior Jenna Yeam said. “I don’t believe it’s a winning strategy to put up a candidate that hasn’t held the same stances over the course of their political career.”
However, this record doesn’t tend to phase too many voters. Other politicians who have shared these shifting views such as former President Barack Obama experienced little backlash when it came down to actual polling. As their political stances matured over time, they have all openly regretted their previous stances as they were a product of previous political climates, which has been enough to reassure many voters.
Appeasement to the Republican party
From within his own party, Biden has received extensive criticism for being too “bipartisan” and for working closely with politicians from across the aisle. During the Obama administration, Biden worked closely with Senator Mitch McConnell to raise taxes in an effort to display his bipartisanship. He was intensely criticized in 2019 for refusing to apologize for some formerly segregationist Republicans like McConnell. In response to Senator Cory Booker’s demand for his apology, presidential candidate Joe Biden stated “Apologize for what? He knows better. There’s not a racist bone in my body.” While more liberal Democrats cite this as a sign of weakness by the former vice-president and senator, some view this as a sign of an attempt at unity and to bring together a politically divided country. Most recently, Biden announced to the media that he would even consider choosing Republican vice-president if he wins the nomination. Though very unlikely and an obvious political move, it shows that Biden is not afraid to work with Republicans in order to appeal to centrist voters.
This argument exposes a fundamental difference in Democratic voters this election cycle. As some voters want nothing to do with the Republican Party, others believe it is necessary to gain some bipartisan support in order to bring a Democrat to The White House in 2021. Furthermore, this bipartisanship has worked to his party’s advantage multiple times during his political career. During Obama’s first term, it was Biden’s close work with some conservative legislators that resulted in multiple pieces of progressive legislation.
Voters have two very different options in the remaining Democratic primaries. A candidate in Bernie Sanders who has been true to values and policies for the entirety of his political career, or a candidate in Joe Biden who has wavered in his positions and is unapologetic when it comes to working with members from across the aisle. It is now when voters must decide which agenda will be the best to defeat Donald Trump, and which agenda will successfully bring progress to the United States of America.