Patrick Mann is a recreation, park and tourism sciences senior and John Harkins is an industrial distribution junior. Both are members of Students For Biden.
On Jan. 20, 2017, politics in the United States took a big leap in a new direction. The populism of Donald Trump replaced the technocracy of Barack Obama’s presidency. It is a version of populism distinct from the progressive populism of Bernie Sanders in that it takes place on the right side of the political spectrum. Trump's nationalistic populism disdains globalism — the economic system that developed in the 1980s and 1990s through Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. In contrast, Sanders' populism has a disdain of the 1 percent and growing economic inequality.
Young people like us empathize with the issues globalism presents. Although globalism has led to the rapid growth of the U.S. and World Economy into the 21st century, we recognize that it has left some Americans behind.
We believe Trump's attempt to fix the adverse effects of globalism is ineffective. Worse, it has devolved into a series of isolationist policies which, in the long run, do not put America first. If Trump cared about people in the Midwest and the Rust Belt, he would not look to the 1800s for his economic and social policies. Instead, he would look toward the future, one that understands you cannot undo commercial entanglement with other nations without dire consequences to American citizens and our long-term allies around the world.
Trump’s dog-eat-dog foreign policy has hurt our long-term post-WWII allies and bumped America down from the leader of the free world to the disciple of autocratic leaders. Instead of leading long-standing partners such as Israel, the UK, France and Canada against authoritarian regimes such as Russia, China and North Korea, we have abandoned them and, in the process, lost our prestige and position.
Enter Joe Biden. We think the Democratic Party selected the former Vice President as its nominee because of the current political climate. Americans are tired of the toxicity and polarization the 45th President has created. They want Joe Biden because he can lead our nation with dignity and restore the soul of this nation.
The young people who have joined Students For Biden are not of one mind. We have individuals ranging from engineering students to English students, from social democrats to pro-lifers, from political activists to average Americans. All of us are patriots. All of us want the best version of America possible. While we disagree on many topics, as American patriots we cannot stand by while America is made weaker by its current leadership. We recognize any dreams we have about improving the American Experiment rest upon removing Donald Trump and moving past his toxic influence.
To our conservative-minded members, Trump's religious views represent all that is antithetical to Christianity. They believe the president is weaponizing religion as a political tool. Clearing the streets of peaceful protesters to stand in front of a church, which Donald Trump rarely attends, our President held the Bible up for pictures while showing no empathy or compassion. The day after the church photo-op, a devout Christian member of our group sent one of us this quote from the book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 9:23), “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches.”
The progressives of our group see the courts as an essential part of this election. A Supreme Court with more conservative judges could mean a generation of stagnation for marginalized and discriminated groups, as well as the halting of much-needed reforms for prisons and healthcare.
This diversity of ideologies is why we titled this piece “The Big Tent Movement.” To our generation, this election is about stamping out the remnants of discrimination and injustice while paving a way forward to a better America and a better world. One where we have the security to pursue a good life because of a well run and respected government.
We believe Joe Biden’s bi-partisanship will create an era of politics modeling his willingness to find compromises and common grounds. We trust having Joe Biden as president means having a leader who listens to experts and advocates for policies that put country before party. We know that to restore American dignity and power, we need to overwhelmingly elect Joe Biden to unite us again.
After 243 years of the American Experiment, we must realize it was never about being a Democrat or Republican. It's about fighting for the soul of this nation.