Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
October 23, 2020
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There are 26 days until the presidential election. Voter registration deadlines have already passed in 10 states, and the stakes have never been higher — American voters are being asked to choose who will implement the nation’s long-term response to COVID-19.

Despite contracting it himself, U.S. President Donald Trump remains dismissive of the virus that has killed over 211,000 Americans. He has made countless false claims about treatments and regularly ignores life-saving public health guidelines

The News-Letter endorses former Vice President Joe Biden —  who practices social distancing, endorses a national mask mandate and promises to prioritize scientific advice in managing the pandemic — for President. If the current administration is removed from the White House, we have the potential to save countless more lives.

Yes, we acknowledge that Biden is not our ideal candidate. However, there’s no question that a Biden administration would be better for America than another four years of Trump. Biden won’t bring radical change, but the possibility of progress under Trump is nonexistent. 

We truly wish we could be writing this endorsement about a ticket that more accurately reflects our priorities and values. Both men face accusations of sexual misconduct and have been called out for inappropriate behavior. Neither deserves pardon for his improper and unacceptable actions; we do not seek to excuse the conduct of either candidate. No one should have to vote for someone with even one allegation of sexual assault, but it’s worth noting that Trump faces dozens of allegations and that Biden has never bragged about grabbing women “by the pussy.” 

While Biden doesn’t support universal healthcare, he intends to expand the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Trump supports an upcoming Supreme Court case to strike down the law, eliminating coverage for over 20 million Americans. While Biden won’t ban fracking or support the Green New Deal, he released an improved, $2 trillion plan to address climate change and environmental racism. Trump still does not acknowledge the fact that human activity is largely responsible for climate change. 

Both candidates have been the subject of concern over racist rhetoric. We reject the idea that Black Americans are a monolith, as Biden suggested when he argued that not supporting him was mutually exclusive with Blackness. Yet, the bar is low; his opponent has a lengthy history of inflammatory racist and xenophobic remarks for which he refuses to apologize. 

Amid a national reckoning with police brutality, Biden wants to increase funding for policing. Unfortunately, the alternative is a leader who chooses to completely ignore the systemic issues within American policing and encourages violent suppression of protest. Biden will at least make the effort to enact reforms, even if they are insufficient. 

We struggled with the decision to endorse a candidate who supports increased funding for law enforcement. This policy is clearly wrong for Baltimore, an already drastically overpoliced city.

Yet it would be even worse to re-elect a man who has described Maryland’s 7th congressional district — which includes over half of Baltimore City and most of Baltimore County’s majority-black precincts — as a “very dangerous & filthy place” and “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” 

2020 has hit Baltimore hard. Due to decades of structural racism, the city’s predominantly Black residents are at a higher risk for COVID-19 complications and death. COVID-19 has infected at least 16,000 Baltimoreans and killed nearly 500. This reality exists in cities across the nation because of Trump’s failure to manage this crisis

Biden’s ticket has at least made some commitment to the city, as Kamala Harris selected Baltimore as the home for her 2020 Presidential campaign. We hope that their administration continues to invest in the city if elected. 

The late Baltimore representative Elijah Cummings once wrote, “Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors.” Biden — a man who has actual experience in government and listens to others — will follow this example in his commitment to the American people. Trump has made it clear he’s not interested in fighting for all of his constituents.

A Biden presidency won’t be able to undo all of Trump’s damage, but it could be the first step in the process of building back better. 

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