After an Op-Ed was published with 10 Reasons for a Frum Person to Vote for Trump, Avraham Yosef Baez, Devorah Leah Backman, Laura Melnicoff, and Miriam Levy-Haim of Ker A Velt penned 12 Reasons for a Frum Person to Vote for Joe Biden.
- He fights white supremacy and anti-Semitism. Biden’s initial motivation to run for president was the white supremacist and neo-Nazi rally at Charlottesville in 2017. Trump’s comment on the rally, which included marchers chanting “Jews will not replace us,” was to remark that there were “very fine people on both sides.” Trump has never outright condemned white supremacy and embraces the support of a strong base of white supremacists who are antisemitic. Biden has always been a strong proponent of Holocaust education, and in 2013 he launched an initiative to provide $12 million in new funding to support aging Holocaust survivors.
- He is Pro-Israel. Biden is outspokenly anti-BDS and has a long record of meaningful support for Israel. At this year’s AIPAC conference, he said, “Israelis wake up every morning facing an existential threat from their neighbors—a rain of rockets from Gaza … threats and missiles from Iran and Hezbollah.” Biden was centrally involved in the $38 billion military aid package to Israel, the largest in history.
- He has a clear plan for COVID-19. Trump denied the urgency of the pandemic while it devastated our community, and continues to minimize it. Biden speaks in terms of saving lives and of funding to save businesses. He wants to depoliticize the response and use common-sense, science-approved strategies to get kids back in school and businesses back to work without sacrificing lives and health.
- He has a clear healthcare plan: Biden’s healthcare platform is extremely comprehensive, building on his work creating the ACA and reforming the insurance industry. It has taken Trump until these last few weeks till the election to roll out some health reforms that mimic Biden’s, but Trump’s new, lower-cost insurance packages are not required to provide comprehensive benefits or cover preexisting conditions.
- Biden has a plan to make childcare affordable. The cost of daycare and preschool is a huge burden on large frum families. Biden wants to pass a plan to provide universal free preschool to all 3 and 4-year-olds—much like NYC’s UPK program. Also, he would create a system of tax credits and subsidies so families earning less than 1.5x the median income of their area would pay no more than 7% of their income in child care. The plan also incentivizes workplaces to create onsite childcare options. It would also ensure that childcare workers are paid fairly, and the centers themselves are safe for our children. This isn’t wasteful government spending—it’s an investment in parents and children that has been proven to pay off in the long run.
- He respects the right to abortion. Abortion is not halachically forbidden at all times and is even mandated by Halacha when it is necessary to prioritize the mother’s health. There is no way to outlaw or restrict abortion that accommodates Halacha’s more nuanced and compassionate approach. Women die when abortion is outlawed. (For more on the halachic perspective on abortion, see here: https://www.jta.org/2019/05/22/opinion/what-jewish-law-really-says-about-abortion)
- He is a man of faith, decency, and empathy. Biden doesn’t name call, doesn’t swear during his speeches, and treats people with dignity and respect, even if they don’t agree with him. The presidency is the highest office we have in this country and the person holding that office should be respectable.
- He has a long history of bipartisanship, and is positioned to heal a divided country. Biden is known in the Senate for working with both Democrats and Republicans. America is strongest when it is united and Biden stands for maintaining the union, not dividing it. He was lifelong friends with John McCain and has received endorsements from dozens of establishment Republicans: former governor John Kasich, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former GOP candidate Carly Fiorina, four US Senators including Jeff Flake, conservative personality Joe Walsh, and a group of 73 national security officials, including former heads of the FBI and CIA. (For a comprehensive list of Biden’s Republican supporters, see https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewsolender/2020/10/30/biden-racks-up-more-republican-endorsements-in-final-days–the-complete-list-of-bidens-gop-backers/?fbclid=IwAR1nitAJqw1Rvcds_f3xblvswypBaSWowHEQUDNxIfEVhbP-aF1jpiAqyd4)
- His career has stood up to scrutiny. Numerous independent and Republican-funded investigations over Biden’s entire career have consistently discovered that Biden behaved according to ethics guidelines. Biden believes in democracy and fair elections and is able to state without equivocation that he will accept the results of the election. On the other hand, Trump has a troubling history with ethical violations in his personal and political life. As a real estate developer, he was notorious for stiffing contractors and employees, and using his wealth to intimidate his victims into not suing him. He paid almost no taxes for many years, relying on both ethically questionable loopholes as well as fraudulent deductions claims. As president, he forces federal agencies to spend millions at his hotels, and makes it clear to foreign governments that paying to stay at his hotels is the way to receive favorable treatment from the US government. Trump claims that all this fraud and grift makes him “smart”—but as Jews, ethical integrity in business is one of our highest values (Shabbos 31a). One final way Trump reminds us that he thinks following the rules is for suckers—he refuses to commit to respecting the election results if he loses.
- He cares about immigration. As many Crown Heights Jewish immigrants know, we need easier and clearer pathways to citizenship. Biden offers a detailed policy to fix what is broken in our immigration policies—prioritizing the immigration enforcement that actually keeps us safe while treating lawful refugees and asylum seekers with compassion and providing the legal recognition for DREAMers that nearly all Americans support. Trump has used his administrative law to restrict refugees and attack the asylum regulations, creating a human rights crisis on our own borders. This has serious consequences to national security down the line. The Torah tells us to treat the “stranger” with love and compassion—immigration laws are fine, but chaos and cruelty is not.
- He has a tax plan that supports us. 83% of Trump’s tax cuts only help 1% of America. During the pandemic, large businesses and corporations were given support and raked in huge profits, and small businesses were left to suffer. Trump could have pushed for the Republican-controlled Senate to create an emergency tax relief plan for the middle class and small businesses, but he didn’t. Biden has a tax plan that will help the majority of Americans, not just the rich. History has shown that making the rich pay their fair share doesn’t stifle innovation or growth—it just means that the government can fund basic essential programs like infrastructure and disaster relief that have been neglected in recent decades.
- Biden believes in supporting people who have fallen on hard times. Biden proposes increasing the SNAP budget by 15% and temporarily providing low-income families with an extra $100/month for healthy food. In addition, Biden supports three plans (a policy to make Section 8 more accessible, a plan for a $3,000/year child allowance, and a new tax credit for low-income families), that would together lift over 20 million people out of poverty, according to the Center of Poverty and Social Policy. These are programs many members of our community rely on, especially with the high cost of Jewish living.
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