Biden Should Move Left, Not Right

Cassandra Bristol, Staff Writer


   President-Elect Joe Biden’s platform, since the very beginning of his presidential campaign, has emphasized the need for unity, as easing tensions with Republicans can help the country “heal” from the sudden political polarization that came with Trump’s presidency. On the surface, it seems like a good plan, a way for the people of this nation to come together and compromise from left to right. However, the Republican party has embraced a far-right ideology that must be faced with bold action, especially after a pandemic has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans and caused many more to lose their jobs, right-wing ideas like climate change denialism is literally killing the planet, and riots at the U.S. Capitol by fascist extremists were downright encouraged by prominent conservatives.

   With the confirmation of Representative Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock from Georgia into the U.S. Senate, Democrats will not only have the presidency, but also a majority in both bodies of Congress. With this advantage, there is absolutely no excuse not to take the necessary steps towards a more equitable and safe country. Ideas outlined in Biden’s own climate and healthcare plans are absolutely vital to the survival of the planet and working people in the United States; they are not “radical” or “extreme” in the slightest. Before Democrats reach across the aisle and consider the big tax cuts and corporate bailouts the Republicans want so badly – all for the sake of “unity” – they should look to cooperate with the more progressive wing within their own party first if they really want the change they claim to support. According to The Washington Post, “Biden embraced a remarkably progressive agenda during the campaign, but… It will likely fall to progressive leaders and movements to force Biden to step up…” (

   In times of economic depression, bold action is necessary. The first politician from the past that comes to mind for many people when it comes to helping citizens in times of poverty is President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was an example of a politician who, although often frustrated with the left, listened to the cries of the working class and took action, despite the wishes of leading capitalists and more conservative opponents. His New Deal allowed recovery for many laborers, funded public works projects, and set much-needed regulation on wages and prices for consumers. This was all during the Great Depression, which the economic depression caused by the current-day pandemic is often compared to. Like the progressives of FDR’s era, Biden’s goal should not be to compromise with Republican politicians and play to political theatrics, but to listen to the needs of the people, first and foremost. 

   Most Americans, even if they voted for Trump, would benefit greatly from progressive policies, and the only thing in the way of those policies are establishment Republicans and the Democrats who enable them. Even Trump supported the move for 2,000 dollar stimulus checks, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who moderates seem to want to collaborate with the most, stood in the way of them. U.S. History Teacher Michael Brown offered insight into the viability of Biden taking from Roosevelt’s past platform: “It’s going to be difficult with a divided Senate, even with Senator Kamala Harris breaking the vote…. For generations, Republicans have been the champion of fiscal responsibility and reducing government spending…. After these massive tax cuts in 2017, and certainly the pandemic, the federal government isn’t bringing in the revenue that it previously had.” Nevertheless, the government should direct whatever resources it can into stimulating consumers in order to bring back our economy.

   According to a survey conducted by The Washington Post, just 27 out of 249 congressional Republicans acknowledge that Biden won the election. The survey did not question whether they liked Biden or whether they would have preferred Trump, just if Biden had won the election. This has been proven time and time again, yet less than 15 percent of Republicans in Congress acknowledge it. It has become abundantly clear that the GOP is a party of lies, especially when it comes to this issue. These politicians’ refusal to accept the democratic institutions of the United States directly caused the riots at the capitol of the United States on January 6. This is not hyperbole; this is reality. Republicans enabled Trump’s narrative of lies, so their cult of supporters took action. So why in the world should the Democratic party have any respect for their lies? Why should they keep perpetuating this narrative of centrism when the other side clearly has no respect for democracy? Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar put it well in a recent tweet: “It’s not possible to unite with people who want to overthrow our government. No unity without accountability. Pass it on” (

   There is a common argument that the GOP is misrepresented by Trump and his allies, that the true spirit of the Republican party is much more diplomatic and respectful, which is perpetuated by many “Never-Trump” Republicans, namely Senator Mitt Romney and members of the Lincoln Project. Moderate Democrats often use this as a reason to call for unity – they want to work with “real” Republicans, not the MAGA cult enablers. The issue is, whether they like it or not, Trump is not an anomaly among Republicans. 

   Republican politicians have always supported policies that hurt the poor, immigrants, and minorities. President Ronald Reagan (coined as one of the founders of modern conservatism) popularized the idea of “trickle-down economics” which, although it has been arguably disproved numerous times, is the rationale behind the rich receiving massive tax cuts to this day and the poor being told that they are lazy for wanting welfare. President Richard Nixon’s War on Drugs, according to Business Insider, “hasn’t saved the US from the dangers of drugs, but has fueled migrant crises and the mass incarceration of minorities in the US” ( President George W. Bush’s rhetoric surrounding anti-terrorism has fueled blantant and bigoted Islamophobia within American culture. When asked to name a blatantly classist, anti-immigrant, and xenophobic politician, most liberals would rightfully point to Trump. But the one missing piece of the puzzle for many moderates is that Trump was not elected in 2016 in a vacuum: a nominee like him was inevitable. The majority of Trump’s policies align with the GOP’s perfectly. The only difference is that Trump used populist tactics and outlandish rhetoric to gain him the necessary votes. That is why “unity” and “compromise” – even with anti-Trump Republicans – should always be met with caution.

   None of this is to say that the U.S. should remain socially divided and polarized. It is important to remember not to blame family and friends for voting Republican, as personal political ideology is largely not the issue. The real issue is the politicians that continue to remain corrupt and dishonest, whether they are Democrats or Republicans. Democratic, Republican and Independent voters in America are all dying of poverty, of disease, of violence,  because of an utter lack of attention from both sides of the aisle. True bipartisanship should be acknowledging the needs of all Americans, especially the ones hit hardest by the way American society is built. True centrism should be putting the needs of the people before a few corporate interests. Working with Republicans on policies regarding tax cuts and anti-labor sentiment is not the answer when people are in dire need of help. Conservatives had no desire to compromise with Democrats throughout the last four years, so if they are now outraged when Democrats step up and enact the policies they see fit, that’s just tough luck.