2020 Election Op-Ed: Biden-Harris’ Uphill Climb

By Vynateya Purimetla (’21)

Although Biden has won by a decisive mandate, the new administration will face momentous challenges. Fortunately for America, Biden, the leader of the 2008 Recovery Act, and spearheaded as the “Comeback Kid” can do it. The most pressing issue, that 94% of Biden voters ranked as their most important motivator, is the coronavirus pandemic. As of November 13, coronavirus cases are at an all-time high. Schools are closing, hotspots are going into lockdown, and as always, thousands of small businesses (including restaurants, hotels, and bars) continue to permanently close. Associated with this pandemic are the greatest public health crisis in a century coupled with the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Fortunately, President-Elect Biden has already made some inroads in this crisis. Firstly, he has appointed a COVID-19 task force featuring the best doctors and public health experts in the country- including Marcella Nunez-Smith, a Yale physician and researcher, Vivek Murthy, a former U.S. surgeon general, and David Kessler, a former FDA commissioner. This diverse and accomplished body is translating the Biden campaign’s plan into a series of executive orders and legislation to enact a national mask mandate, contact tracing, business stimulus, and increased access to healthcare.

Another important goal that the Biden-Harris team seeks to achieve is reversing some of the Trump administration’s environmental deregulation by restoring the structure of the EPA and rejoining the Paris Agreement. The progressive bloc of the Democratic party ranks climate change as the most pressing issue that they would like Biden to act on. Although Biden hasn’t formally adopted the Green New Deal, his policy platform emphasizes creating new jobs around clean energy and using the Green New Deal as a framework for achieving independence from fossil fuels. While Biden can’t make monumental changes without Senate control and progressive lobbying, his promise to rollback the 100 Trump deregulations and rejoin the Paris Agreement, is a consequential step in the right direction.

Americans have placed their faith in Joe Biden- to address the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the subsequent economic disaster, the resultant deep societal divisions in the country, and climate change before it was too late. However, Biden is more than up for this challenge. His 2008 Recovery Act, that worked marvelously for the recovery of the Detroit automobile industry following the housing recession proves his ability to make structural reforms for the benefit of the American people economically. His action on the H1N1 and Ebola outbreaks proves he puts science first and this is evidenced by his competent and well-qualified COVID-19 advisory board. Although it is clear that progressives must continue pushing for progress on the healthcare reform agenda and a more substantive climate change timeline, without a doubt, Biden is a vast improvement from the previous President.

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