Our opinion: Joe Biden for president of the United States

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There is no reason to wait until November to endorse Joe Biden. With a resume that includes decades in the Senate and eight years as Barack Obama's vice president, Mr. Biden's resume offers both a wealth of experience in the political realm as well as a genuine appeal to restoring decency and dignity in a nation wounded by crisis, contagion and division.

Experience

Mr. Biden would not require much in the way of on-the-job training if he wins election in November.

Mr. Biden entered the Senate as one of its youngest members ever, representing Delaware for 36 years. He was instrumental in passage of the Violence Against Woman Act, and as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee he worked on international arms control and sanction efforts against apartheid South Africa. This lengthy legislative experience led former President Obama to tap Mr. Biden as his running mate and subsequently the administration's point person to Congress.

Mr. Biden's honed negotiation skills came in handy, and his diligent background work was key on important measures like passage of the Recovery Act, the stimulus package that rallied America from the Great Recession, and Senate approval of the New START Treaty, a 2009 strategic nuclear disarmament pact with Russia.

With all this under his belt, Mr. Biden would enter the White House with solid experiential credentials in foreign and domestic policy, primed to hit the ground running on a broad agenda aimed at comprehensive national recovery.

While President Donald Trump's Cabinet and advisory circle has been a revolving door of questionable and incompetent personalities, Mr. Biden's time as a Democratic Party elder and Obama administration vet has left him a Rolodex replete with qualified potential picks for key administration roles.

Unified progress

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In a time that calls for unity in the face of crisis, the American body politic has been rent by deep division. While this paralyzing malady's origins predate 2016, President Trump's demagogic leadership model has proved to be a dangerous accelerant.

To move the ball forward on tall orders like rebounding from the coronavirus crisis, the country requires a leader who can defuse this polarization just to get to square one.

Mr. Biden has long demonstrated a prowess in working across the chasms of ideology. This preternatural instinct to seek common ground over divisiveness makes Mr. Biden well-equipped to lead in this fractious moment. After a grueling Democratic primary, Mr. Biden smartly engaged with thought leaders and critics on his left to unite the party's factions in pursuit of common goals. As a result, his "Build Back Better" platform balances ambitious proposals with his moderate instincts toward political pragmatism, offering a comprehensive and realistic agenda.

He favors significantly expanding the Affordable Care Act toward achieving universal access to affordable health insurance. On environmental policy, he calls for $2 trillion in clean energy investment over four years in aggressive pursuit of a carbon-free U.S. energy portfolio by 2035. His housing plan to increase affordability and combat homelessness is arguably among the most progressive and proactive ever offered by a presidential nominee.

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Mr. Biden's slate of genuinely progressive policy goals has not

precluded support from some center-right and conservative constituencies who have become disillusioned with the GOP.

John Kasich, a former Republican presidential candidate, praised Mr. Biden at the Democratic National Convention: "I know that Joe Biden, with his experience and his wisdom and his decency, can bring us together to find a better way."

Mr. Kasich is far from the only Republican that sees a "better way" than backing their party's standard-bearer. Recently, hundreds of former aides to Sen. Mitt Romney, former President George W. Bush and the late Sen. John McCain publicly endorsed Mr. Biden over President Trump. With this bipartisan support, President Trump's claim that his opponent is a pawn of the "radical left" rings hollow.

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Acquiring a critical mass of Republican support for a Democratic candidate with sweeping proposals on climate change and economic inequality is no small thing, and it underscores the potential for crucial progress and real change under a Biden administration. In addition to the White House, Democrats are certainly hoping to take back the Senate. If they don't, Mr. Biden's across-the-aisle bona fides suggest he could mitigate Capitol Hill gridlock and keep his agenda viable.

Resolve on the road back to normal

Of the towering challenges the U.S. faces, Mr. Biden frequently alludes to one that undergirds the rest: "restoring the soul of America." Many Americans see a country perilously lurching toward the unrecognizable, as a reckless administration mortgages our most fundamental values. Mr. Biden succinctly summed up the choice at hand: "Character is on the ballot." So, too, are decency, dignity, institutional integrity and perhaps the very future of our republic as we know it.

A viral pandemic has brought the nation to its knees in protracted mourning for thousands of lives senselessly lost and millions of livelihoods cruelly upended. National leadership will preside over not just recovery, but the grieving process of a traumatized country. That requires not just plans and policy, but compassion and resolve.

Beyond his Beltway experience, Mr. Biden has cited wisdom gleaned from the painful life lessons only grief can teach. His journey from senator to vice president was bookended by the sudden death of his wife and infant daughter in a 1972 car crash and the death of his son, Beau, from brain cancer in 2015.

From this personal adversity, he attests to knowing what it means to be floored and rise again.

In a nation that yearns for healing from the unthinkable, Mr. Biden understands what that entails. His words, deeds and history demonstrate that he is most fit to lead America away from chaos and back to normalcy.

The Reformer endorses Joe Biden for president of the United States of America.


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