How Joe Biden's Win Will Affect Your Life

Now that Biden is the president-elect, here are some of the promises he has to fulfill.

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) speaks about the Coronavirus

Image via Getty/Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) speaks about the Coronavirus

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, as the likelihood of a second term began to fade, President Donald Trump prematurely announced a victory for himself in a way that Jake Tapper from CNN unflinchingly called “undemocratic, false, and premature.” And while we await the final certified tallies, we now know, days after the election, that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris wrested the White House from Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

According to LivingFacts, 10% of eligible voters for the 2020 presidential election were members of Gen Z. But long before the election, young folks were stepping forward to make their political voices heard. In what might be considered the digital Boston Tea Party of its time,  TikTokers pretended to sign up online for a June Trump rally in Tulsa Oklahoma (which they had no intent in attending). The scheme left the place largely barren and the president completely embarrassed and upset. 

Irrespective of party affiliation, young people see neither the Democrats nor the Republicans as progressive enough. This reality—in theory, anyway—forces both parties to push for relevance. But voters also recognized that concessions are part of the game.

“You don't have to agree with someone 100%  to vote for them,” Sam Weinberg, the 19-year-old behind Seattle for Biden, told The Hill. “You can recognize one candidate is flawed, and also have to recognize the other candidate is an existential threat to our democracy and to our ecosystem and to humanity.” 

Biden pulled off a victory by working from coast to coast, notching unexpected wins in Arizona (who saw that coming?), Michigan, and, decisively, Pennsylvania. Now, with less than 75 days to go until inauguration, America is taking stock of the situation and Biden’s promises—and the challenges he’ll face in fulfilling them, including a divided Congress—as it prepares itself for what’s to come. Here’s how the Biden presidency will affect us.

Under Biden’s leadership, seeking higher education could become more of a right than a luxury. The president-elect promised to work towards making state colleges and universities free to families making less than $125,000 a year. Additionally his campaign website notes that “individuals making $25,000 or less per year will not owe any payments on their undergraduate federal student loans and also won’t accrue any interest on those loans. Everyone else will pay 5% of their discretionary income (income minus taxes and essential spending like housing and food) over $25,000 toward their loans.”

With the uncertainty of the job market and most schools moving to the digital space, younger people have a better opportunity to get a college education. As for new and older graduates, student loans could become more manageable under the Biden administration.

Joe Biden has said he’s committed to criminal justice reform. His campaign site reads, “Our criminal justice system cannot be just unless we root out the racial, gender, and income-based disparities in the system. Black mothers and fathers should feel confident that their children are safe walking the streets of America. And, when a police officer pins on that shield and walks out the door, the officer’s family should know they’ll come home at the end of the day.”  

Biden also said he expects police officers to do better by the communities they are hired to serve. “I don't support defunding the police,” Biden told CBS News. “I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness and, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community and everybody in the community.”

At the same time, Biden seeks to protect targeted marginalized groups. Non-violent drug offenders could see jail sentences morph into rehab visits, and if Biden keeps his campaign promise, we could also see fewer race-based prison sentences. The legalization of recreational cannabis in Arizona, New Jersey, and South Dakota is a sign of the times. Though the president-elect did not present a strong weed policy during his campaign, we can only hope he supports more progressive laws in this area.

For American women, the arguments around reproductive rights have always been a hot-button issue. President Trump worked long and hard to overturn the decision of Roe v. Wade. Many fear it is now under attack after the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Biden said that he plans to codify Roe v. Wade, pledging his Justice Department so states cannot violate the constitutional right to an abortion. Additionally, Biden said he will seek to get rid of the laws mandating parental notifications. 

We can also look forward to a new White House Council on Gender Equality, and with a woman—a Black woman, to be specific—operating as second in command of the country, Americans are witnessing an overdue historical moment. American women should be proud, no matter what side of the political line they stand on. Expect Biden to “reissue guidance specifying that states cannot refuse Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood.” Further, we should anticipate the reversal of the Trump administration’s policies that currently prevent Planned Parenthood and similar organizations from getting Title X funds, a federal grant program supporting family planning and reproductive health services for low-income patients.

The issue of immigration for President Trump has highlighted what many say are some of his most cruel policies. Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy has been upheld by the U. S. Supreme Court, forcing families back across the border to wait appear in American immigration court. This administration has dismantled families, leaving hundreds unable to find their loved ones after being separated at the border. Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh had the vomit-worthy audacity to say many of the parents “do not want their children returned.”

Jumping in with both feet, President-elect Biden has assured voters that he will “welcome immigrants in our communities and reassert America’s commitment to asylum-seekers and refugees.” We should expect the president to be hard at work modernizing America’s immigration system and undoing the damage from Trump’s four years in office. Does this mean immigrants will have a better chance at becoming U.S. citizens? Only time will tell.

On issues facing the LGBTQ+ community, we have watched President Trump dance off-beat repeatedly, chiseling away at LGBTQ+ rights. Biden, on the other hand, has possibly been more evolved, in word and deed, than any politician of his generation.

But does the LGBTQ+ community have a true ally in the president elect? Per his campaign site, Biden has pledged to “Protect LBGTQ+ individuals from violence and work to end the epidemic of violence against the transgender community, particularly transgender women of color.” Under the Biden administration, the LBGTQ+ community could see fairer treatment in health care and criminal justice, along with strides in overall rights.

Once in power, President Donald Trump began to dismantle many of the innovative steps taken by President Barack Obama. Trump reversed a ban on coal leasing on federal lands that was put in place to reduce carbon dioxide and methane emission. Since Trump lifted the ban, American energy production increased at the expense of the environment, several states, and a host of American Indian groups, leading to lawsuits against the Trump administration. With Biden in office, environmentalists have a much better ally.

Biden has promised to recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement on climate change and go much further. Under his leadership, Americans should expect the U.S. to lead an effort urging every countries to ramp up the ambitions of their domestic climate targets. Our new president promises to make sure those commitments are transparent and enforceable. He has pledged to initiate actionable steps to preserve the environment for all Americans where our national security and foreign policy is concerned. 

Over the next four years, our country should be moving in a direction that fully integrates climate change into its foreign policy. On his campaign site, Biden announced a Clean Energy Revolution, saying, “We can lead America to become the world’s clean energy superpower.”

COVID-19 has affected chains like Friendly’s, Sizzler, and even Pizza Hut, but small businesses are bearing the brunt of the ongoing pandemic. Biden has promised to make sure that big corporations don’t get first priority on emergency loan programs, but there’s still no telling what the full economic impact of coronavirus will be. Regardless, Biden said he will seek to make sure the local business people get a first crack at staying afloat. 

Biden also said, “It is unacceptable to have a small-business program that is leaving minority business owners out in the cold, or that firms with fewer than 20 employees received only about 20% of the money—even though they make up about one third of payroll. Small non-profits—including churches, mosques, and synagogues—should also be eligible for this fund.” We will have to wait and see how Biden assists religious establishments, nonprofits, and small businesses once he’s been sworn into office, but if his actions follow his words, these groups could see more opportunities.

Adisa the Bishop is an old-school hip-hop journalist and author from the West Coast. He is the host of The Bishop Chronicles Podcast (@bishopchronicles) on YouTube and is known in the hood as the Black Ron Burgundy.

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