The past four years have been a rather tumultuous time for the world. Former President Donald Trump’s legacy will be of many populists: disdainful and disgraceful. Whenever he wasn’t pushing for tax cuts for his fellow billionaires and corporate elites he was targeting minorities, attacking LGBTQ+ folx, ignoring the climate crisis, and neglecting a growing pandemic which has seen over 480,000 Americans dead. Former President Trump even assaulted the very democratic values this country was founded upon by pushing endless conspiracy theories of how the presidential election was rigged. Quite simply, Trump’s whole presidency was a disaster.
So then, with a new administration what can we expect? I’m sorry to disappoint anyone hoping for sweeping reform but that won’t be happening. President Joe Biden is a centrist through and through and there is no getting around that fact.
Some of his day one executive orders may seem like solid steps forward, but in reality we are just getting back to Obama era normalcy. President Biden lifted former President Trump’s ban on transgender folx in the military, stopped ICE deportations, and has taken steps to have the US receive more COVID 19 vaccines; however, these are things that are just bringing us back to a place of decency. All of these steps are bringing us back to a place before President Trump took office, and while they are all very positive, they don’t bring the US very far forward.
Besides the steps to fix what former President Trump broke, what else can we expect President Biden to accomplish? In all honesty, not much. To be fair, we will see some very good change, such as reimplementing individual mandates, lowering drug prices, and allowing undocumented immigrants to buy into Medicare as well, however we won’t see Medicare for all despite the fact that most Americans support it. Gun legislation?
There definitely will be some, such as eventually banning assault weapons and high magazine weapons, as well as promising to hold gun manufacturers accountable, but Biden’s plan completely neglects to enact handgun control which on average kill far more people than high magazine rifles do. Banning assault rifles will make mass shootings much harder to carry out; however, according to Pew Research, 64% of American gun murders are due to handguns. Education?
Those going to a community college for two years, another training program for two years, or state university students whose families make less than $125,000 a year will receive a free education. While this is certainly commendable and a good step forward, it still isn’t for all. Many parents won’t help pay for their children’s education even if they make over $125,000 a year. The trend here is that President Biden will only pass watered-down reforms of bigger ideas championed by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Despite the fact that President Biden may not be as progressive or as reformist as some would like, his win is a sure fire win for the US. At least with him in office and Vice President Kamala Harris at his side, we can expect to see our government institutions stay intact rather than erode as they had been under President Trump. We can expect better handling of the ongoing pandemic under this new leadership.
Hopefully, we will even see some support for marginalized communities. We’ve already seen some evidence with President Biden’s executive order on racial equity that is meant to find ways to increase racial equity in the United States, but I remain skeptical on how this will actually play out. In the past, President Biden has made some questionable decisions on issues of racial equity, such as his infamous negative stance on providing desegregated busing for schools in 1974.
While President Biden’s reforms are not quite what many want, they are important steps forward. Lukewarm reforms are still reforms and will result in change, and change is what we as a country need. The way forward may be slow, but at least there is a way forward with this administration. Just don’t get your hopes up for some of the more “radical” changes that Bernie Sanders and other leftists championed.