Opinion: Biden is a Loyal Democrat Holding to His Party’s Platform
Senator and former Vice President Joe Biden has been a longtime Democrat who has found himself as the candidate of a shifting Democratic party in the 2020 Presidential Election.
Biden began his career by practicing law in Wilmington, Delaware and won an election for the New Castle County Council, according to his presidential campaign website. In 1972, Biden ran for and won a U.S. Senate seat for the state of Delaware, becoming one of the youngest senators elected at only 29 years old. He made an unsuccessful run for president in 1988 and served six terms in the senate until he was elected vice president under Barack Obama in 2008; he served in that capacity for eight years.
As a long-serving senator and prominent vice president, Biden was a spearhead for the modern Democratic party in terms of the introduction of policies that are now the Democratic banner. He introduced one of the first climate change bills, the Global Climate Protection Act of 1987. For gun control, he supported the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1994 and assault weapon bans that included high-capacity magazines during a strong push to stop gun control legislation.
He supported the now controversial Crime Bill of 1994, a defining policy on crime for years during his time in the Senate, according to the Los Angeles Times. Originally against same-sex marriage as a senator, he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, which defined marriage between a man and woman, according to the LA Times. The Equality Act, which Vice President Biden supported, promoted marriage equality for the LGBTQ+ community in 2012 as detailed in a New York Times article.
In his years as senator and vice president, Biden has fronted U.S. foreign policy, specifically in the midst of the Cold War, where he led a coalition of representatives to Moscow to present the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks to implement nuclear arms control. He also promoted a global end to apartheid and terrorism. As vice president, he encouraged the Senate to pass the New START Treaty with Russia, which brought deployed strategic nuclear weapons by Russia and the U.S. to the lowest level in history. He was in charge of pushing the Recovery Act under the Obama administration in response to a recession that began as the Obama-Biden ticket took office. Additionally, he oversaw the passing of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, a significantly Democrat-led healthcare legislation.
In terms of policy, the former vice president has served as a Democrat in the formation of modern Democratic policies and a more recent shift in the party toward more overt, left-wing policies. According to PolitiFact, former President Barack Obama claimed Biden “already has what is the most progressive platform of any major party nominee in history.” On the topic of health care, Biden would build on the Affordable Care Act and provide a public option for insurance, according to his campaign website.
As president, he would push pro-choice legislation, such as Roe v. Wade, into law, according to Politico. For immigration policies, Biden would welcome immigrants and work towards more open borders. He supports raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Biden says he will work to fight against climate change, but has been inconsistent on whether or not to ban the controversial practice of fracking, “the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside,” according to the BBC. He has said, “We would make sure [fossil fuels, including coal and fracking, are] eliminated and no more subsidies for either one of those, either — any fossil fuel,” as USA Today quotes from the Democratic Presidential Debate.
Many of these policies are mainstays of the modern Democratic party, although a significant portion are newly encouraged policies from the emerging far-left wing of the party that has grown significantly over the past few years. Regardless of the shifting politics of the Democratic party, Biden has been and would be a consistent, loyal Democrat in office.
Keaton Browder is an Opinion Writer.