A Letter to Joe Biden

Now that the Democratic primary is over, it’s worth briefly discussing what’s ahead of us.

I’ll be frank with you. Joe Biden was not my first choice to be the Democratic nominee.

As many of you may know, I was a major supporter of Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic primary. I, and many others, worked their butts off for her campaign because we not only believed that she’d make a great president, but because we believed in the vision she presented on the campaign trail.

I believe Senator Warren presented the best vision for how we could not only defeat President Trump this November, but at identifying and fixing the real, structural issues that got us here. Donald Trump didn’t become president purely by luck, though that certainly played a role. His win in 2016 was the culmination of decades of injustices and inequalities coming to the fore.

He was the end result of Republicans spending decades passing laws that gave the rich and powerful more and more money, while the rest of us fell further and further behind. He was the perfect encapsulation of the racism and xenophobia that Republicans leaned into to distract people from their corruption. He was the symptom of everything that had gone wrong, and is wrong, with our government, not the cause. His victory should have destroyed any notion that our country was on a healthy and proper track.

Once Senator Warren dropped out, I believed that the progressive vision that Senator Bernie Sanders was advocating for best represented the path that we needed to take to truly fix our government. Now that he is out, and Joe Biden will be the nominee, it’s worth discussing what Biden needs to do to unite our party and the country, and win progressives over.

Vice President Biden, his team, and everyone else who supports him have their work cut out for them. Many of us pushed for the real, structural changes we needed. Too often, the former Vice President, and those around him, were dismissive of those positions in this primary. He was wrong to do this.

He’s also talked extensively about restoring us to where we were the day before Donald Trump took office, rather than acknowledging the major problems that got us here. He appears to think he can work with a Republican party that is hell-bent on destroying our institutions to maintain power, rather than gearing up for the fight that’s needed to defeat them at the ballot box and remove them from power. That hope and vision is misguided. It won’t bode well for him, or our party, if he continues to advocate this.

Whether it’s the pandemic that’s happening, the economic depression were falling into because of that pandemic, or the failure of democracy in Wisconsin, ALL OF THIS proves that the more moderate wing of our party was wrong about what has led us to this moment. Our systems are failing in every single way right now. It’s not enough to nibble around the edges on major policies. We need bold changes that actually help tens of millions of Americans, and which root out the corruption at the heart of our government. THAT’S how we win the election.

Saving our democracy may be the biggest thing on the ballot this November, and is something we should ALL unite behind. That alone should be reason enough for us to vote for Democrats up-and-down the ballot, including for Joe Biden. However, people also need to see real, positive changes that actually improve their lives if we’re going to save this country in the long haul. It’s what we need if we’re truly going to bring those people that Senator Sanders brought into the political process into our party.

To date, Vice President Biden has fallen short on many major issues, such as health care, addressing income inequality, criminal justice reform, democratic reforms, or taking on the existential crisis that is climate change. It’s incumbent on him to address these issues NOW if we are to win in November. We need bold solutions to address our problems. He must be willing to work with progressives on these issues, and continue to embrace better policies than what he has advocated for so far.

Failure to successfully act now could be devastating too. Think Trump and the Republicans are bad? People will look to someone even worse down the road if we win in November, but fail to meet the substantive needs of tens of millions of Americans after getting back into power. We could lose an entire generation of young voters too who’s faith in our government is rightfully on thin ice if we don’t put in the work to make them feel welcome and included in our party.

Failure to meet the demands of this moment could see us lose our republic for good. That’s why it’s so critical that Vice President Biden, and those around him, acknowledge what they got wrong, remedy those mistakes, and do everything in their power to include those who’ve fought for these righteous causes in their campaign. It’s also why he must embrace bolder solutions than he advocated for so far. That’s how we build a lasting coalition that doesn’t just win in November. It’s how we build one which can endure for generations.

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