People change their opinions more often and more easily than they think they do. They are also quick to call out when a public figure changes their stand on a polarizing issue. Any such change in standing is swiftly labelled as a political ploy. Of course, sometimes it is just that.
Both Biden and Kamala have a record of taking contentious positions on policy matters and backtracking on them.
Biden led the passage of a controversial tough-on-crime law in the 1980s, later calling it a ‘big mistake’. Kamala has said that she’s ‘personally opposed’ to death penalty, yet she pursued death sentence for convicts and defended California’s death penalty law in court. Biden has been historically opposed to legalizing marijuana, while Kamala has tilted towards its legalization only recently, seeing the tilt in public opinion. Both have voted for an amendment which bars the use of federal funds for abortions, except in certain cases.
The question of whether Biden and Kamala have gotten genuinely more progressive over the years is moot. America is a land of lobbyists with pockets as deep as their connections in high places. Corporate America’s lobbying strategy has moved from trying to prevent the government interference in their businesses to bringing the government in as a partner. Biden and Kamala will be under constant pressure to preserve the capitalist-friendly systems that Trump installed in his 4 years as POTUS.
If the duo manages to not succumb to lobbyists, white supremacists or their own ego, they might manage a roll back of Trump’s roll back of Obamacare, devise a fairer immigration policy and a plan to deal with climate change, and re-establish multilateral ties.
Trump might still win or he might refuse to accept the results if he loses. If he decides to play this trick from the Dictator’s Rulebook and illegally holds on to power, he will continue weakening institutions, diluting regulations and lying. Biden and Kamala are likely to pause the savagery that Trump started in 2017, but they cannot be expected to ‘build back better’, as Biden’s campaign slogan promises.
In 2009, Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize for Not Being George W. Bush. If Biden and Kamala manage to gather the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election, America might just get a Nobel for not voting for Trump again. As for their presidency, only time will tell whether Biden and Kamala are able to trump their moderate credentials.
Former President Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2009. The nomination deadline for the award is 31 January, which implies that he was nominated within 11 days of his presidency (which began on January 20th).
This editorial was originally titled ‘This is America: On Choosing Moderates for Activism’.
All editorials are written by Tushar Kohli and his small team and represent the collective view of the Editorial Team.