I’m endorsing Joe Biden for President. Here are my reasons.
- He’s empathetic. One of the big jobs that will consume a lot of time for the next president will be rebuilding and restoring confidence in core American institutions. There are so many pieces of the American fabric that are frayed and torn, including confidence in our justice system and even more basic tools of our democracy such as the voting process. People are rightfully aggrieved–on both ends of the political spectrum–about injustices and inadequacies of many core institutions. A primary Biden strength is his ability to listen and work cooperatively to make substantive changes. I appreciate his willingness to admit mistakes and to continue to learn. Those traits will serve him well.
- He knows foreign leaders. A big job for a vice president is to represent the United States at funerals for foreign leaders. It offers a chance to network informally and forge and strengthen important alliances and coalitions. The European Union has its flaws and individual countries have their own odd agendas and personalities. Even so, Europe is our best ally (outside of Canada and–with a bit of work–Mexico), so repairing relations to address a range of threats from Russia, Iran, China and North Korea is a must. Japan and South Korea also are key strategic partners and a President Biden will do well to reassert a strategic approach to relations and not merely a policy of one-off transactions.
- He understands the existential threat of climate change. The causes and consequences of a changing climate are complex and are having immediate and tangible impacts across the U.S. Wildfires in the West are one thing. Coastal flooding as sea levels rise affect places like Miami and the important ring of energy infrastructure along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Greater amounts of rainfall in the Upper Midwest are affecting agricultural production. The climate change-driven derecho that devastated large parts of Iowa cropland earlier this year was ill-timed for its effect on that state’s farmers. A transition away from fossil fuels really is a priority, and is a goal that business and industry have been pursuing even without recent support from the White House or the Senate. Detroit automakers are embracing electric vehicle technology and the steady deployment of renewable energy resources like wind and solar make it possible to think about producing enough green hydrogen to achieve zero-emission electric power generation that can be called on as readily as a fossil-fueled plant. I’m not convinced that renewable energy generation will result in huge numbers of jobs. At best, solar and wind farms need only a handful of people to operate and maintain them. But opportunities exist for everything from R&D to manufacturing…if we can retain those jobs in the U.S.
- He understands how government works. This skill is particularly important in addressing the pandemic. I found it shameful that states found themselves competing with one another this past spring for critical medical supplies, even striking deals with international suppliers. Caring for any American in a health crisis as serious as Covid-19 should not have been allowed at the federal level to sink to the point of us vs. them. Our Covid-19 response was a lost opportunity to make beneficial use of our government institutions that were created to serve the American people. No doubt, tens of thousands of lives could have been saved with a more comprehensive, more compassionate, more coherent and coordinated response from the federal government.
- He has a vision for the next generation of leaders. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Keisha Lance Bottoms represent an exciting and diverse group of leaders who admirably represent the sort of diverse and dynamic American future that Barack Obama made possible. As an aging white guy I readily acknowledge that we need to embrace the undeniable evolution of the American narrative.
So much good, hard work needs to be done; healing needs to occur; and the groundwork needs to be established for an economic transition that protects our planet for future generations. I hold no illusions that Joe Biden will somehow magically solve all of our problems. But his temperament, experience and vision all give me hope that we can effectively address the myriad challenges that face us. I hope you will join me in voting for Joe Biden.
I took this photo of Independence Day patriotic bunting in Ohio in 2018.