Jessica Valenti

Joe Biden Can’t Save Us

There’s little reason to believe the former vice president is the person who can beat Donald Trump in 2020

Jessica Valenti
GEN
Published in
3 min readApr 30, 2019

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Credit: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Joe Biden, who announced his candidacy for president last week, wants us to believe he’s the one person who can save us from Donald Trump. In a launch video calling Trump a “threat to our nation,” Biden warns that the president “will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation.”

He says, “I cannot stand by and watch that happen.”

But Biden and his supporters have given Americans little reason to believe he is the person who can beat Trump in 2020. Beyond name recognition and an amorphous idea of returning to “normalcy,” the former vice president hasn’t yet distinguished himself from his fellow candidates.

At a time when the Democratic field is more diverse than ever, the prevailing argument for Biden, though, is largely unsaid: He’s an old white man. Trump’s election was a stark reminder of just how racist and sexist this country still is, and betting on Biden feels safer to those who wonder whether America is “ready” to elect anyone other than a straight white man. Though we’re unlikely to hear anyone describe a vote for Biden as driven by identity politics, that’s exactly what it is.

We need a president who understands the shifting political and cultural landscapes.

But a supposedly safe vote can’t save the United States, because 2020 can’t just be about beating Trump. Ousting the president is just one part of the country’s way forward; what the U.S. really needs is a rebuke against Trumpism more broadly.

Right now, we need a president who understands the shifting political and cultural landscapes. Frankly, someone who cracks jokes about asking permission before touching others is not that person.

Women have watched as the most explicitly misogynist president in modern history — a man accused of sexual assault and who once implied that one accuser was too ugly to attack — has risen to power. We watched as Trump populated his administration with bigots and abusers. We watched as he put another accused abuser

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Jessica Valenti
GEN
Writer for

Feminist author & columnist. Native NYer, pasta enthusiast.