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Sunday, April 21
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

OPINION: Why should I vote for Biden?

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In November 2020, I cheered when Joe Biden was elected. 

After four years of Trump, I was relieved to hear that the country had chosen not to reelect him. Maybe, just maybe, Biden would be able to instate some of the more progressive policies I cared so much about. 

Now it’s February 2024, and I’m not cheering anymore. 

As the country gears up for another Trump and Biden battle at the polls, I find myself wondering what difference I’ll make if I even vote this year. Despite my initial optimism for Biden’s term, looking back on his tenure brings up blanks. 

So I ask myself: Why should I vote for Biden? 

I know what many people reading this are screaming at me. “We don’t want Trump back in office! You’d throw away your vote so an insurrectionist charged with dozens of felonies could regain office?” 

No, I don’t ever want Trump back in office.  

But, Biden’s fans have to accept that the current president hasn’t given young people many reasons to want him back in office, either. I’m not alone in this assessment. Only 38% of Americans approve of Biden according to Reuters’ polling aggregate, with a mere 33% of 18- to 39-year-olds approving of his administration. The reason for that is simple: the very promises that got young people excited about Biden’s campaign have failed to be accomplished. 

First, there’s the thing Democrats have been holding over our heads for years: Roe v. Wade. Biden vowed to codify Roe into federal law, even after it was overturned in June 2022. But that won’t stop him from trying to get votes again in 2024 while invoking the idea of fundamental bodily autonomy — restoring Roe is his “day one priority.” Why should I trust him – or any Democrat, that is — to codify abortion rights now? It’s only taken the Democratic Party 50 years. 

As far as LGBTQ rights go, it’s been a mixed bag. To be fair, Biden convened the first Interagency Working Group on Safety, Opportunity, and Inclusion for Transgender and Gender Diverse Individuals to enhance federal funding for trans people and overturned Trump’s ban on transgender individuals in the military. However, he hasn’t fully delivered like he promised. 

Biden’s proposed plan to prohibit bans on the participation of trans athletes drew mixed reactions from activists, with some citing loopholes that still allowed schools to ban athletes due to their gender identity. As of Feb. 19, 429 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced across the U.S. in 2024 alone. As a trans person, I don’t find comfort in the idea that any day, the only state I’ve called home could outlaw necessary rights for myself and my community. Unfortunately, Biden isn’t doing much to assuage that fear. 

For students, the president’s biggest promise was to forgive all federal tuition debt for public universities. But like many of his biggest ideas, he hasn’t fully delivered. 

As of last year, Biden’s administration vowed to divvy out around $127 billion in student debt relief, which seems like a lot until you realize that students federally owe more than $1.6 trillion. To deliver on canceling all federal student loan debt, Congress would have to relieve 12 times the amount they already promised. It’s a start, but ultimately it only scratches the surface. 

Granted, the Supreme Court struck down Biden’s forgiveness program in June, which promised to cancel up to $400 billion. On the other hand, many Democrats have criticized his newest plans, which don’t add up to the relief millions of Americans desperately need. 

And then there’s Israel. As of Feb. 19, Israeli forces have killed more than 29,000 Palestinians in Gaza since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. Of the 2.2 million people who live in Gaza, 47% are children; Israeli forces and airstrikes have killed over 10,000 children since Oct. 7. The International Court of Justice has preliminarily ruled on Jan. 26 that Israel has violated anti-genocide rules in its bombing campaigns; destruction that the president himself described as “indiscriminate.”  

As of December, a dismal 20% of voters under 30 approve of Biden’s handling of the current war. The Israel-Hamas war is a huge issue for young voters, and the president has failed to address the humanitarian crisis in full depth. 

In October, Biden requested $14 billion in funding for Israel and its military. That number has been retained in a Senate bill that approved funding for air defenses and even more U.S. military operations in the Middle East. The same legislation set aside $9.2 billion for Palestinian relief – but what help is that when we’re also funding the very bombs dropped on them? Even though Biden allegedly has privately disagreed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his policy hasn’t changed publically — which is what actually matters. I just can’t justify voting for someone who stands by as this sheer amount of destruction occurs. 

All this hasn’t even scratched the surface of Biden’s failed promises. I didn’t mention his promise to end the death penalty, which hasn’t happened. Or his increased funding to police departments despite being elected in the midst of the biggest call to defund law enforcement in recent memory. Or his rule restricting asylum seekers. 

I won’t say that Biden’s administration has been a complete failure, but it’s let myself and many other young voters down. 2024 will be the first year I’m heading to the polls for a presidential election. I’m struggling to find a real reason to advocate for Biden. While I don’t want Trump back in office, I don’t see why it’s unreasonable to hope for someone better instead. 

Our current president will have to do a lot to convince young progressives like myself. For now, many of us are still left pondering the same question: Why should I vote for Biden? 

Danny William (they/them) is a sophomore studying cinematic arts. 

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