Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Michigan State Fairgrounds in Novi, Mich., on Oct. 16. (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Michigan State Fairgrounds in Novi, Mich., on Oct. 16. (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

Editorial: Joe Biden can restore nation to normalcy

His nearly 50 years of public service can guide the country in confronting a range of challenges.

By The Herald Editorial Board

At this point some might question the utility of an endorsement regarding the race for the President of the United States; supporters of President Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden will have long ago locked in their decisions, and thousands in Snohomish County have already returned their ballots.

Yet, more than a few are undecided or — more likely — are noncommittal about which way they are leaning and whether they should bother returning a ballot. Supporters for the competing campaigns do not need — or will not care to listen — to further persuasion. But for those uncertain or wavering, the following is offered:

Our recommendation: Yes, return your ballot, marked for Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris.

On a range of issues, the case for Biden — and against Trump — is made clear:

On the coronavirus pandemic: Trump boasts of his order to shut down travel from China early in the pandemic. In truth, the restrictions were limited and delayed action on travel from Europe, which allowed significant infections on the East Coast. Trump refused to make full use of his authority to mandate the manufacture of personal protective equipment and testing supplies and support for contract-tracing that earlier would have been effective in controlling the spread of the disease and limiting deaths in the U.S. that now total more than 221,000. And he has belittled Biden and others for use of perhaps the most-effective means we currently have for confronting the virus: wearing face masks.

Biden — by Trump’s own mocking admission — “will listen to the scientists” and has outlined plans for a public health response that will limit the disease’s spread while work progresses on vaccines and treatments. Biden’s leadership also will be crucial in reestablishing public trust in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in health officials, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, that Trump has sought to undermine.

On the environment and climate change: After the pandemic, the largest crisis facing the United States and the world is that of climate change. A devastating wildfire season in the West and a hurricane season of storm names that couldn’t be contained within one alphabet offered ample proof that the last four years under Trump have been wasted in denial of the scientific evidence and a reversal of environmental regulations and standards meant to address carbon emissions and limit degradation of the air, water and land.

Biden, in addition to his promise to return the U.S. as a partner in the Paris Climate Accords, recognizes that the goals of reaching a carbon-neutral future will not come at the cost of jobs or the economy but instead can help fortify both through an investment in clean energy and building resilience to the effects of climate change.

On health care: Throughout his term, Trump has promised something better than President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the future of which now may rest in the confirmation of Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. Beyond vague promises, however, details of his plan have never been delivered.

While the debate over plans such as Medicare for All will continue, the nation has what it needs right now in the ACA. But four years of neglect and sabotage have threatened to blunt its effectiveness. Biden has promised to revitalize the ACA and build on its provisions to reduce costs and make its navigation easier.

On issues of leadership and bipartisanship: Trump promised he would “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C., of self-dealing and corrupt politicians. He, instead, stocked it; Trump administration officials — only some of whom resigned — were caught reimbursing themselves for personal travel or ordering expensive office remodels. And when the law caught up with cronies, crooked campaign supporters and white-collar criminals, he approved questionable pardons.

Biden’s selection of Harris as his vice presidential running mate offers confidence in how he will select a Cabinet and fill other positions within the administration, guided by records of competence and experience. Harris was one of Biden’s fiercest critics on the Democratic nomination trail, yet Biden bucked advice from some advisers to skip over the California senator. Harris, as a senator, on the campaign trail and during her debate with Vice President Mike Pence, has proved the wisdom of that choice. Risking the ire of some on the left, Biden also reportedly is talking with a few moderate Republicans about positions within the administration.

A host of other issues prove the case for Biden over Trump; on immigration, on trade and the economy, on infrastructure investment, on international relations and the promotion of democracy across the globe.

Four years ago, with the election still a couple of months away, the Republican presidential nominee visited Everett for a raucous rally, in which the crowd greeted him with chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump!” and “Lock her up,” mocking Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Trump, during the rally, addressed what he said were the dangers of allowing illegal immigrants and refugees into the country, by quoting a 1960s-era R&B song, based on a fable and known as “The Snake.”

The fable and the song tell of a “kind-hearted woman” who finds a snake, half-frozen, along her path. The snake begs to be taken in; the woman obliges and saves him from death. But instead of thanking her, the woman is shocked when the snake returns her good deed with a poisonous bite.

The crowd, quiet for Trump during his dramatic reading, laughed with satisfaction at the final verse: “‘Oh, shut up, silly woman,’” said the reptile with a grin. “‘You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.’”

The president, as recently as this February, continued to reference the song at his rallies, oblivious to a new interpretation.

That irony will not now be lost on a majority of voters.

Once bitten — by Trump’s deadly mismanagement of a pandemic and its economic fallout; defiance of the rule of law and the norms of democratic leadership; his mockery of science, education and experience; his vilification and bullying of fellow Americans who would question or criticize him; and his elevation of his ego and his and his family’s personal financial interests above the good of the nation — voters will now be twice shy of extending Trump their trust and another four-year term.

Biden, as president, will make his share of mistakes, gaffes and misjudgments; all presidents have.

But Biden, throughout nearly 50 years of public service as a senator and vice president has exhibited the political experience, the reputation among world and national leaders, and the ability to form coalitions among diverse partners to restore neglected and abused standards for normalcy, the rule of law — and most importantly — the desire to serve the needs of the country and the well-being of its people.

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