US election 2020: Is Joe Biden a socialist?

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The US Presidential election is drawing close, with 53 days to go until Americans vote for a new leader. Donald Trump has the odds stacked against him right now, as the responsibility falls on him to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and social unrest. Millions of people across the country have signalled their discontent with the President’s modus operandi with the virus, which has given the US the highest death rate in the world.

Is Joe Biden a socialist?

President Trump has caught on to his weak position in the race ahead and has recently turned to attacking “socialist” Mr Biden.

The Republican National Convention featured numerous speakers who referred to this accusation, including Republican Senator Tim Scott, who said he and his running mate Kamala Harris would build a “socialist utopia”.

Essentially, Mr Trump and his allies have created a far-left boogeyman in an attempt to reframe the race against the Democrat.

Mr Biden is not to the far-left of the Democrat Party, which already lies on the left of the political spectrum.

In fact, he is far from it, and even saw pundits once brand him an “imperial corporatist wrapped in the bloody flag of Charlottesville”.

He gravitates towards the more business-friendly wing of the party, as his voting record proves.

As Senator for the state of Delaware, he has either sponsored or voted in favour of financial deregulation and trade deals, bolstering US capitalism.

At his core, Mr Biden sits among some of the least radical members of the Democratic Party.

The closest Democrat to a socialist is Bernie Sanders, who also ran this year before dropping out and allowing Mr Biden to take the nomination for his party.

The Senator for Vermont made socialised medicine a centre of his platform during the primary.

He proposed free healthcare as a solution to the problems caused by health insurance, which often leaves Americans unable to pay for healthcare.

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Senator Sanders also backed the Green New Deal, a measure proposed by Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez which would empower the US government to wean the country off fossil fuels, a backbone of the US economy.

He has also frequently spoken about levying further taxes against the rich, who hold most of the wealth.

Mr Sanders once said: “In our society, theoretically a democratic society, you have a handful of people who control our economy.

“You have maybe two percent of the population who owns one-third of the entire wealth of America, 80 percent of the stocks, 90 percent of the bonds.”

The taxation debate is where Mr Biden and Mr Sanders’ ideals intersect.

He would eliminate tax deductions for high-income earners, repeal Mr Trump’s tax cuts and increase those on fossil fuel emissions.

His campaign has also called for reforms which would increase taxes on the rich, and make the tax code increasingly progressive.

He has also proposed taxation on earnings above $400,000 (£304,000), with revenues from this drifting into higher social security benefits for the poor.

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