Biden for Democrats


Photograph by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden on stage at the 2016 National Convention

A race that began historically large and divided with 27 candidates has been narrowed down to one presumptive nominee: Joseph R. Biden, Jr.  It may seem unlikely that former Vice-President Biden has become the symbol for hope and unity in an increasingly polarized Democratic party, but despite differences, there is no one else challenging him going into the summer convention. After a primary race that pitted Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders on the left against Elizabeth Warren, left of center; Pete Buttigieg, progressive yet moderate; and Biden, very much in the middle, Democrats have ended up in what now seems to be a split between moderate and progressive factions.  The big question is: where will Sanders’ supporters land? (see related Spartacus article) As moderate Democrats look toward a future of increased Party unity in the Party and resistance against incumbent President Donald Trump, there is a feeling that Biden is the correct candidate to lead this effort.

In recent conversations with community members, the overriding sentiment is to follow Biden’s lead in their convictions (as reported by the New York Times ) If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are, and I cannot stand by and watch that happen.” Similarly, they hope that Joe Biden will be able to restore and unite the Democratic Party. 

Miami Country Day School alumnus Daniel Gallup (Class of 2019), an early Buttigieg supporter,  says he hopes that “the future of the Democratic Party is a little bit less divided.” The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana appealed to Gallup through his promise to “restore unity in the country”. However, when he dropped out of the campaign, it was a “very natural transition”, as Gallup stated, to put their support behind Biden. While Gallup does agree that the issues that Sanders and his followers advocate for are a crucial part of the national conversation, he also believes that Sanders has a “tendency to alienate” and polarize the Democratic Party. This is why he now supports Joe Biden and his primary goal of “restoring the soul of this nation.”

Daniela Rozjman, while not a former Spartan, is an Aventura native who attends Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. She too was a Pete Buttigieg supporter and now supports Biden for similar reasons as Gallup. He has  “proven to be able to unify […] and is someone who’s been able to do that for his entire career.” During her time at Columbia, she has majored in political science with a focus on comparative and international politics and has helped start the “Columbians for Biden” group. Another reason why she finds Biden to be the right candidate for the Democratic party is that he’s pushing for progress that she thinks the country needs, even though Biden wasn’t her first choice for candidate.

MCDS teacher Peter Konen was initially a supporter of Senator Elizabeth Warren for her central concern of controlling the “unsustainable” dramatic wealth disparity in American society. After Warren dropped out of the race, like Rozjman and Gallup, Konen felt that since a “significant portion of [his] ideology” overlapped with Biden’s, it was imperative he supported Biden as he faces off against Trump in the fall.

Konen sees the future of the Party as “a black box” in that he doesn’t see a future for centrist policies. Yet he doesn’t think the United States is ready for a hard turn to the left, either. While this split occurs, though, he does not want Biden’s platform to be a “sterile hybrid” of centrist policies and progressive policies similar to those of Sanders and other candidates. Regardless of whether he runs as a centrist candidate or if he’s able to incorporate some of Sanders’ ideas, he just hopes Biden is “authentic.” 

Rozjman and Gallup, on the other hand, commend Biden for adopting some of Sanders’ most popular policy ideas. Gallup says that Democrats are better as a whole when they ponder over the benefits of the ideas of all spectrums of the Party and incorporate that into the platform. Rozjman believes that the popular American narrative that, “If people just work hard, they can make it” is extremely flawed and Sanders’ ideas strive to work against that harsh reality. She also added that, regardless of the progressive policies Biden may adopt, he is “the most Progressive candidate ever for any major party”. 

Lastly, all three agreed on a central message to give to Bernie Sanders supporters who are hesitant to vote for Biden: this is the necessary action to vote Donald Trump out of office. Gallup added that though this is the central concern for Democrats at the moment, it needs to be recognized that this “isn’t a ‘greater of two evils’ scenario”, but instead that of “a great man who has fought for issues like [those that the Democratic Party are concerned with today] his whole life” vs. a deeply flawed man like Donald Trump. Rozjman also thinks that the 2016 presidential election was really telling, also, because “the support of the people who were Bernie or Bust could have really helped the Hillary campaign”. 

Konen says that he understands why Bernie Sanders supporters may be hesitant towards Biden, but even though they’re populists, they must also understand the concept of realpolitik  (politics based on practical objectives rather than on ideals, as defined by Britannica). He stated that, “Anybody who thinks there is no significant difference between Donald Trump and Biden is doomed to tilt at windmills rather than ever effect meaningful change.”