What’s Left: Biden For Housing and the Working Class

Chase O'Brien-Steele, Maroon-News Staff

After comfortably winning the suburban vote in 2016, President Donald Trump is trying, but failing, to recoup suburban voters. Realizing this, he recently pleaded for suburban women to “please like me [Trump]” at a recent rally. He provided an addendum to his plea, claiming he was getting their husbands back to work — seeming to forget that women have jobs too. Such an appeal represents a consistent focus of Trump’s campaign: the notion of protecting American suburbia in an effort to “Keep America Great.” In fact, Trump draws a contrast to his adversary, former Vice President Joe Biden, whose proposed infrastructure plans would apparently destroy suburban life and bring crime and chaos to sections of America that have long been the bedrock of the classic American dream. Is Donald Trump or Joe Biden the man to help citizens live their American Dream? 

Trump and Biden have two disparate visions for the future of America. That difference is contained in each man’s interpretation of the American Dream. For Trump, the American Dream lies with the preservation of the status quo, stagnating the progress of an America that has always strived towards improvement. He wants to “Make America Great Again,” referring to the heyday of suburban America, the 1950s, when women barely worked and gender and racial discrimination were both commonplace and legal. For Biden, the American Dream lies in opportunity, a political landscape where elected officials use their platform to empower citizens, not lie to them. Biden’s America creates opportunity, Trump’s starves it. 

Trump has failed to deliver on his campaign promises in several areas. For example, while his 2017 tax cut was intended to increase the average American household’s income significantly, the nation’s wealthy benefited the most. In general, the corporate tax cut provisions have done more harm than good. Both wage growth and GDP grew less than half a percent, private investment declined and corporations have paid almost a fourth less in taxes. The national debt now stands at its highest level ever, despite Trump’s 2016 campaign promises to eliminate the national debt as president. It seems he failed to predict the effects of increased spending and decreased taxation. Concretely, Trump has done very little as president. Instead of striving to improve the lives of his American constituents, he’s been spending the last four years tweeting, dodging his taxes and constructing photo-ops. 

The repercussions of Trump’s shortcomings are perhaps felt most deeply among working-class, suburban Americans. While he promised to revitalize manufacturing in regions such as the Rust Belt, Trump’s poor response to the coronavirus pandemic has slammed industrial and manufacturing jobs. Trump also wants to kill Medicare, stripping over 20 million hard-working Americans of coverage they desperately need. The working-class thought Trump would bring back American industrial prosperity. Instead, he abandoned them. He didn’t just leave behind the working class during his presidency — he was never with them in the first place.

Joe Biden is a far more suitable candidate for the working class; he has emphasized this throughout his campaign and has proven it in his political career. Biden wants to empower the working class, not just through his words, but by his actions. Biden is a proponent of the HOME Act, and will try to pass this legislation or something similar through Congress. Such legislation would improve suburban living, affording flexibility for each locality to choose the best conditions to improve their neighborhoods while also supporting renters and homeowners. Its enforcement would also have the added effect of diversifying the suburbs, ending the social and economic stagnation of the Trump era. Instead of ignoring how suburban housing has become a mechanism of racial discrimination and the widening wealth gap, Biden wants to address and fix the problem, allowing long-disenfranchised citizens to live their American dream. He recognizes that suburban and working-class Americans are integral to the fabric of our nation, and will value them accordingly. 

Joe Biden has also proposed a concrete economic plan that raises the well-being of all Americans. For example, his climate plan will revitalize regions that have lost jobs during Trump’s presidency, creating 10 million jobs for working-class Americans. This plan will simultaneously get Americans, who were forgotten under Trump, back to well-paying jobs and ensure our earth is habitable for future generations. Biden’s experience will enable him to address and rectify the complex problems that have led to the unraveling of our social fabric during this pandemic, and he has detailed plans for every step. Biden will ensure America returns to its position as a world leader, not a world laughing stock. And he’ll do that by addressing our country’s many problems, not ignoring them.

While Trump often claims that Joe Biden will destroy the “great” country he’s built during his presidency, this is an empty and baseless accusation. In reality, it is Trump that doesn’t care about the majority of Americans. Trump hasn’t “built” anything. All of his moves in office have either been to maintain the status quo or to reverse previous progress. Only by lifting up all Americans can we move forward as a country and face the global challenges of the 21st century, and Joe Biden is the only candidate with the competence and desire to do it.