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Opinion: Did President Trump”Make America Great Again”?
Justin Ahn '24 Staff Writer
November 22, 2020

America isn’t doing great right now, at the end of Donald Trump’s presidency: he accomplished the opposite of his campaign slogan. Election week was a nerve-racking emotional rollercoaster, where we saw our weaknesses on display. But Joe Biden is now president-elect, and I believe that he is the right person to make America great again, to recover and heal this country post-Trump.

Firstly, he will unify America. Today, our political, social, and economic divides are incredibly heightened. Yet, Biden is about as moderate and un-extreme as high-profile politicians get, representing the most centrist faction of the Democratic Party. He can bridge the gap, cooperating with both socialist Bernie Sanders and reactionary Republicans. In fact, his instinct and strength is in compromise, always wanting to strike a deal, even if it is imperfect and sometimes disappointing. As Vice President, he continuously  negotiated with Mitch McConnell, and the Republican Senate Majority Leader praised his deal-making. Instead of stubbornly pushing an agenda, he prefers reaching a mutually agreeable solution, as he often emphasizes. President-elect Biden does not bash the other side. He “will work as hard for those who didn’t vote for [him] as [he] will for those who did vote for [him],” governing as an American president rather than a partisan candidate. “It’s time for America to unite,” he writes in a campaign email, to “come together as a nation.” This was a common theme in his victory speech.

Secondly, he will respect and restore our democratic systems and institutions, unlike Trump, whose authoritarian tendencies supported the unitary executive theory. Biden is above all a Senate man, whose approach and mindset toward government comes from a legislative career, of traditions and rules, and relationships with Lindsay Graham or Strom Thurmond, people he vehemently disagrees with but has worked with. On issues of American democracy, he is very conservative—he seeks to preserve our system of government—and is hesitant on ‘dirty tricks’ to manipulate loopholes. When many Democrats in Congress protested Trump’s victory in 2016, he, as president of the Senate, immediately shut down those efforts because he put democracy before party, taking a loss when the system offered him one. Even internationally, he believes in America’s role endorsing liberal democracy. At the very least, he will not constantly seek to undermine democracy or voting, and understand the limits of his authority. He believes in the functional 20th century Congress that became his home, and he will always put his faith in the system, not bypassing it.

Finally, he will move America into the 21st century. As Andrew Yang said, Trump identified many of the right problems, only he got the solutions wrong: to make America great again, we shouldn’t return to the past, but look to our future. In this era of a changing economy, Biden understands that new industries like technology and mega-corporations need regulation. He acknowledges that climate change is serious, listens to the scientific consensus, and has a plan to achieve zero emissions by 2050 while creating jobs. Infrastructure is falling behind, and Biden brought it into the political discourse, wanting to make significant investments. He is fighting for racial justice and will push for equality—he will make sure all of us, regardless of the color of our skin, will have opportunities and an acceptable standard of living. His detailed plans are listed on Whether his platform is not progressive enough or too progressive, it at least looks to the future, and not the past. He understands our world and our biggest issues, and will actively take steps to ensure they are addressed with 21st century solutions.

In conclusion, we should celebrate and look forward to the next four years of Biden’s presidency. Even if the GOP obstructs, a president always matters. I sincerely believe that Joe Biden isn’t just the ‘lesser of two evils,’ but the person who can do a lot of good. The election of Biden means we can begin the process of making America great again, undoing what Trump and years of decline has done. Not a charismatic messiah, but a normal, insider, democratic Democrat will achieve that. I am cautiously optimistic and excited, as his recent appearances have reminded us of what a true president is. Biden is the right person for this moment, after so much craziness.