To Biden and Harris: Don’t keep your best policies packed away
Some of the best parts of the Biden-Harris platform remain packed away and go unmentioned by the campaign. In the debates and at events, the two candidates have missed easy opportunities to talk about the Democrats' alternatives to Trump's disastrous handling of the pandemic and the economic depression. | via Demcast USA

The Biden-Harris campaign is doing a good job of presenting a small-d democratic alternative to the neo-fascist Trump and his followers in and around the White House and Republican Party.

The good job the Dems are doing in this respect was reflected in the Trump-Biden and the Pence-Harris debates.

Both Biden and Harris, however, missed an opportunity to present in a clear way one of the most important alternatives the Democrats have to Trump’s disastrous pandemic and economic policies.

When asked to describe how they would deal with the pandemic, they talked about following the science, encouraging masking and social distancing, and promoting the role of trustworthy doctors, researchers, and scientists. What they did not talk about, however, was the multi-trillion-dollar rescue package already passed by the Democratic-controlled House.

Millions are hurting because the $600 unemployment payments that are a big part of the HEROES package have stopped. People are hungry because this lifeline has been cut. People are losing their homes because this lifeline has been cut. Many already lost their health care when they lost their jobs, and now without the $600, they’re struggling to even stay fed and housed.

Winter is coming. Without adequate food, clothing, and shelter, many more people will get sick and die because of the combined threats of the coronavirus, the seasonal flu, the cold weather, hunger, homelessness, and stress.

The Trump-McConnell conspiracy to kill the Heroes Act, stopping the funds desperately needed by the unemployed, should be something Biden and Harris talk about in every single debate or campaign event; they should be bringing it up every time they discuss the coronavirus.

It is true that Biden has on his website a detailed and progressive program addressing a broad array of issues.

Having a strong platform on a website is one thing but putting that platform forward and clearly explaining it to masses of people is another. The slashing of funds for the unemployed in the biggest jobs crisis since the Great Depression and in the middle of a pandemic is something Biden and Harris should never stop discussing.

Harris did not mention the $600 even when Pence wrongly said the Democratic platform on the coronavirus was nothing but a copy of what his administration was already doing.

The truth, of course, is that the Republican solution to the coronavirus pandemic offers nothing for the many millions desperate to put food on their tables and keep a roof over their heads. This truth, along with the Democratic alternative, the $600 jobless benefits and the rest of the Heroes Act, should be put forward by the Democratic candidates for the White House every chance they get.

While the Democratic candidates are light years ahead of Trump and Pence, they must not hold back on using their progressive platform to build the massive turnout that’s needed to defeat Trump.

They must fight the battle on their terms, not on the terms set by their Republican opponents.

When the Republicans make outlandish claims that Biden is manipulated by communists and socialists, Biden must hit back by talking about the countless dictators and right-wing strongmen Trump is in league with, always to the detriment of working people at home and abroad.

When Pence talks about Democratic opposition to fracking in order to appeal to property owners who earn money by leasing their land to frackers, Harris must talk about how the environmental policies of the Trump administration leave people with air they can’t breathe and water they can’t drink.

When the Democrats have something as powerful as passage of the Heroes Act and aid to the jobless under their belts, they must not be afraid to boast about it and put it forward. It’s the way to win people.

Failure to do so is taking a chance that we see a repeat of the tragedy of 2016 on Election Day 2020.

As with all op-eds published by People’s World, this article reflects the opinions of its authors.


John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.