No, Joe Biden Doesn’t Hear Us.
If he was actually listening, his proposals would be radically different.
On April 13th, not long after Bernie Sanders officially endorsed his campaign, presumptive democratic nominee Joe Biden took to twitter with a statement, saying:
“To Bernie’s supporters, I see you, I hear you, and I understand the urgency of what we have to get done in this country.”
I see you, I hear you.
Does he, really?
For a moment, lets put aside Bernie Sanders’ supporters and the fact that he was specifically addressing them in this statement. When we consider the policy proposals gaining traction in mainstream political discourse on the left overall that Joe Biden supposedly represents, what exactly has he done to show the average voter — not just Bernie’s core base — that he hears them and understands their concerns?
In an April survey, Medicare for All had a nearly seventy percent approval rating.
According to The Hill:
“Sixty-nine percent of registered voters in the April 19–20 survey support providing medicare to every American, just down 1 percentage point from a Oct. 19–20, 2018 poll, and within the poll’s margin of error.
Popularity for Medicare for All grew slightly among Democratic voters, with a 2 percentage point increase from 2018.
Support among independent voters was steady at 68 percent.”
Joe Biden said he would veto Medicare for All legislation if it came to his desk. His idea of a “compromise”, it’s worth noting, is lowering the Medicare enrollment age to sixty as opposed to sixty five. Considering the overwhelming popularity of a universal healthcare program, Joe Biden’s alternative is more of a slap in the face than a meet in the middle approach.
But it doesn’t end there.
When it comes to young people in particular, student debt cancellation and the idea of tuition free public college is understandably one of the most pressing issues. Joe Biden, or at least the members of his team, are all too aware of the fact that the student debt crisis has risen to such an extent it prevents young people from owning homes, opening businesses, and starting families. But not only is Joe Biden against tuition free college and cancelling student debt, he helped to create the crisis itself.
When it came to how Joe Biden’s role in the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act — the legislation that made it far more difficult for students to discharge their debts — Ed Pilkington of The Guardian writes:
“…Despite his protestations, it is indisputable that Biden was an avid supporter of the 2005 bill as a whole and of its overall thrust of tightening up the bankruptcy code largely to the benefit of lenders at the expense of distressed families who would find it harder to file for bankruptcy.
“Biden was one of the most powerful people who could have said no, who could have changed this. Instead he used his leadership role to limit the ability of other Democrats who had concerns and who wanted the bill softened,” said Melissa Jacoby, a law professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill specializing in bankruptcy.
Other leading Democrats and consumer advocates did say no. In the Senate debate on the 2005 bill, Ted Kennedy was scathing about its implications.”
Not only did Joe Biden vote for this disastrous bill, he used his power and influence to prevent his democratic colleagues from lessening the blow.
Recent events have also come to remind us how uninterested Joe Biden is in having authentic, real conversations with voters about the issues. As calls for defunding the police grow as the protests across the country continue after the murder of George Floyd, Joe Biden has already asserted that he is not in favor of such a proposal. Rather than taking some time to meet with African American community organizers and discussing the meaningful change they feel needs to happen, Biden has instead stood by his proposal to add an additional $300 million in local police department funding.
Our politicians need to earn our vote, not expect it. A lawmaker is meant to be held accountable, and Joe Biden is not exempt from that. If his supporters feel that any critiques no matter how substantive or warranted are just going to harm him in the upcoming election against Donald Trump, then perhaps they should have gone with a stronger candidate. For months now, I’ve heard that it’s absolutely critical that I “grow up” and vote for Joe Biden, while also being told that he doesn’t need my vote and he’ll win anyways. Which one is it? What Mr. Biden and countless of his fellow democratic colleagues fail to understand that among my generation in particular, we are not bound by party loyalty after growing up witnessing how democrats have continuously failed and ignored us. If Joe Biden really hears our concerns, he has a funny way of showing it.