Joe Biden can do more to win over voters than react to Donald Trump

Joe Biden can do more to win over voters than react to Donald Trump
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Joe BidenJoe BidenNAACP seeks to boost Black voter turnout in six states Biden touts Trump saying Harris would be 'fine choice' for VP pick Kamala Harris: The conventional (and predictable) pick all along MORE seems more poised to win the election than ever before. After a damaging two weeks for Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district MORE, recent polls show the former vice president with a significant lead all across the nation, in swing states, and with critical independent voters that played a factor four years ago.

In addition to independent voters, some weak Republicans have defected from Trump, who faces widespread criticism about his initial downplaying of the coronavirus, as well as his recent actions related to the current civil unrest and protests, which led military leaders and many members of his own party to denounce him as divisive and unfit to lead the country.

Indeed, Trump has clear electoral vulnerabilities. But Biden can maximize his chance of defeating the president with a campaign that is more than a reaction to the polarization fueled by Trump. For Biden to consolidate his edge and win those independent voters and weak Republicans who have defected from Trump, he must have a resounding message of unity.


This would be the Biden campaign version of “yes we can” used by Barack Obama and would include the promise of a better future for all of us. With this very positive message, Biden would be able to bring together a broad coalition of voters, including whites, blacks, hispanics, progressives, and independents. Biden can accomplish this by crafting a narrative centered around the economy, health care, and advancing equality of opportunity, while spotlighting how Trump has failed as president in these areas.

Biden has to draw a positive contrast with Trump on policy matters, while conveying his ability to bring Americans together to meet the challenges of the nation in a way that Trump is unable to. With 44 million Americans unemployed, Biden needs to push a bold plan to stimulate the economy and create jobs. Moreover, any message on the economy has to address the key underlying issue of systemic inequality between white and black Americans, which has been laid bare as a result of the coronavirus.

Biden must propose a more expansive set of reforms than those enacted in 2009 as part of the stimulus, which he oversaw as vice president. This would include programs such as sending aid to middle class families and not corporations, investing in green infrastructure to create jobs, raising worker protection laws, rebuilding domestic manufacturing, and making the promise to Americans who lost jobs in the hardest hit industries that they will be able to find permanent employment with the economy.

Moreover, another critical component of the Biden agenda will be a plan to provide Americans with quality health insurance backed by the federal government, while creating additional investments for public health jobs. Indeed, reforming health care is an issue that was of primary concern for voters even before the pandemic nearly overwhelmed our health system and devastatingly cost more than 110,000 lives across the country.

Biden has already indicated that he would expand the Affordable Care Act by providing a public option for Medicare. Central to his argument will be his ability to draw a contrast between his plan to cover basic benefits and guarantee coverage for Americans with existing conditions, a high figure of whom are black, with those efforts by Trump to take away coverage for all those with existing conditions, especially during this pandemic.


Lastly, as the protests continue in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, it is clear that the nation is at the turning point for racial justice. Biden needs an overarching narrative of inclusion to speak to this. Floyd was a catalyst for the current civil unrest, yet the systemic inequality in the health system, financial system, criminal justice system, and certainly society as a whole are at the heart of these protests.

Biden has to address the issue of racial justice in a way that is part of a broad narrative of inclusion, with a focus on creating more opportunity and ensuring access to quality health care, and with the clear promise that everyone will have an equal chance to succeed in this nation.

Douglas Schoen is a consultant who served as an adviser to President Bill Clinton and to the campaign of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. His latest book is “Collapse: A World in Crisis and the Urgency of American Leadership.”