Opinion

Biden, Sanders provide best chance of defeating Trump

If you’re a Democrat, a progressive, a moderate Republican, a centrist or even just somewhat liberal, chances are you’re not too fond of the job President Donald Trump has been doing since the beginning of 2017.

It’s the dream of anyone who claims to be on the left to vote Trump out of the Oval Office in 2020, hoping a more intelligent man or woman can undo the damage Trump has done. Left-wing progressives love the idea of politicians like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren running against Trump, eager for far-left policies like universal healthcare, tuition-free public colleges and the breaking up of the country’s largest, too-big-to-fail financial institutions. 

Other potential Democratic candidates include Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke and Kirsten Gillibrand. In addition, Elizabeth Warren has already created an exploratory committee, and Kamala Harris is rumored to announce a run near Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

Regardless of the political views Democratic voters have, there are only two candidates who can without question defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Those candidates are former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Before I talk about why these two men can defeat Trump, let’s look at why it will be difficult for the other potential candidates to defeat the current commander-in-chief. 

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is widely viewed as the top Democratic candidate by the progressive left. They claim her populist policies (similar to those of Bernie Sanders) and progressive vision for America is just what they need to win over working class rust-belt voters who favored Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2020. After all, the election will once again come down to which candidate appeals to the working-class Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, which together accumulate 64 electoral votes. Blue states such as those on the entire east and west coasts, Illinois and Minnesota will most likely vote against Trump in 2020, while red states including those in the entire Deep South, Texas, Indiana, Kentucky and Oklahoma will probably support the current president.

Warren will have a tremendous challenge in winning over the Midwest due to her East Coast roots. Working-class workers of the Midwest will view her as too similar to Hillary Clinton and will be put off by Warren’s ridiculous stunts such as when she tried to prove her Native American ancestry through a DNA test. Warren is not popular among rural working-class Midwesterners due to being from the East Coast, appearing like an elitist bureaucrat, regardless of her intentions as president. While being from the East Coast obviously doesn’t automatically make one an elitist, rural voters may be turned off by her inability to relate to rural America. 

California Senator Kamala Harris will face a similar problem. Harris hasn’t spent much time visiting rural areas and being from California will weaken her chances of winning over rural voters. Harris may also appear too elegant and refined, not being straightforward enough like many voters think Trump is. Trump won in part due to his unfiltered, common-man attitude and carefree personality, not necessarily for his policies. While many did in fact vote for him because of his vision of America, many working-class voters felt Trump represented a revival from the bureaucratic elitism of Washington that has left them behind for so long. Kamala Harris may be viewed as a part of that problem, despite her short legacy in Congress. 

Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand are both East Coast senators who are always “on” as politicians, regurgitating the same talking-points that working-class voters are tired of hearing. Their unoriginality will hurt them against a dangerous candidate like Trump. After someone like Donald Trump defeated a candidate like Hillary Clinton by a landslide, these two senators will be destroyed by Trump unless they drastically change their political styles. 

Beto O’Rourke could possibly defeat Trump, yet I worry he may not be able to debate Trump well enough and attack him in the right manner. O’Rourke ran a terrific grassroots campaign against Ted Cruz and almost defeated him in one of the most conservative states in the country without the help of PAC money. O’Rourke could be an interesting candidate but may be too nice effectively point out the president’s faults to those who are still undecided about their view on Trump. O’Rourke would be the ideal vice presidential candidate for either Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders due to his young age and strong popularity. 

Two lesser-known Democrats have already declared that they’re running for president. Former San Antonio Mayor and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under the Obama administration, Julián Castro, as well as Hawaii’s Representative Tulsi Gabbard face the struggle of not being well-known and will more than likely be drowned out by the strong media coverage of more popular candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. 

So why would Joe Biden be a good bet against Trump? For starters, Biden is a very respected and admired public figure among liberals, moderates and conservatives. Biden has a history of working alongside Republicans while serving in the House of Representatives and as vice president to President Obama, exemplifying his willingness to compromise, which makes him appeal to a wider range of potential voters. Biden has a strong relationship with the voters of the Midwest due to his policies focused on protecting the middle class. 

Despite being a well-regarded international political figure with tremendous foreign policy experience, Biden relates to the working class man in a personal manner that isn’t like other politicians. Biden doesn’t use the same old talking points that most Democrats have grown accustomed to, instead choosing to speak personally while using his own life experiences to relate to his constituents. 

Furthermore, Biden isn’t afraid to get dirty. Trump, being an aggressively tough opponent, would be in for a rude awakening via Biden’s ferocity when debating; he would also do a brilliant job pointing out why Trump is in fact the enemy of the middle class and not the champion that he pretends to be. 

Bernie Sanders also has the potential to defeat Trump. Coming from a rural working-class state in New England, thousands of his primary voters from the 2016 election voted for Trump over Hillary because of Bernie’s populist policies that related to the working class. These Trump voters would switch back to Bernie in a heartbeat, for they voted for him over Trump in the primaries. 

Bernie has never stopped fighting for what he thinks is right for his country, from the moment he entered Congress to the second after he officially lost to Hillary Clinton. While I personally think Bernie’s progressive, democratic-socialist vision for the country is unrealistic and unaffordable, working class voters love how Bernie’s every step as a politician has them in mind, as well as how he refuses to be bought by special interests and super PACs. Senator Sanders would destroy Donald Trump in a debate and point out in simple terms Trump’s fraudulent nature, leaving him embarrassed. 

Whether you like Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders is completely irrelevant at this point in time. These two men may be old, but their age isn’t important. What’s important right now is having a healthy vision for America that can defeat Trump and his atrocious administration. Biden and Sanders have years of political experience and have consistently stayed true to their commitment to the middle class, making them a nightmare for Donald Trump to run against in 2020. 

Progressives like the idea of having a woman president, thus making a female candidate like Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris more favorable to them. However, if progressives want to ever see their policies enacted any time soon, their best bet is to vote for a Democratic candidate who can stand up and actually defeat the biggest enemy to their progressive policies.

If Democrats want the win back the White House and change the course of our nation, Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders are the only two options who could defeat Trump without a fierce struggle.  

Dominic is a sophomore studying political science and environmental studies. Who do you think has the best chance of defeating Donald Trump in 2020? Send all comments to opinion@dailycardinal.com

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