It was over a year ago that political strategist Symone Sanders listened to Vice President Joe Biden’s reasons for why he was running for president against Donald Trump. Now, she tells HollywoodLife why she’s more committed than ever to get him elected.
When Joe Biden spoke to the nation on the morning of June 2, 2020 from Philadelphia’s Town Hall, he conveyed a striking contrast to Donald Trump’s performance with an upside down Bible, the evening before, one of what America really needed – true ‘presidential leadership’. “I promise you this. I won’t traffic in fear and division. I won’t fan the flames of hate. I will seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued this country – not use them for political gain”, Biden vowed to the American people.
He was calm, he was reassuring as he told Americans that “I’ll do my job and take responsibility, I won’t blame others”, AND he promised to usher in an “era of long and overdue concrete changes” as part of an “era of action to reverse systematic racism.”
“Enough” was what Biden had tweeted following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police officers. And standing for “Enough” and vowing concrete change is why Symone Sanders had decided that she would sign on as Senior Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign over a year ago.
“I really believed in the reasons that the Vice President was running for president – that he wanted to restore the soul of America and could rebuild the backbone of this country. The economic backbone of the country is the middle class” she told HollywoodLife in an exclusive interview. “I also believed that he could beat Donald Trump. And I’m doing everything I can to make him the 46th president of the United States.”
Now more than ever, after the coronavirus pandemic, the loss of 40 million American jobs and deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery & George Floyd at the hands of police, Sanders is even more convinced that Joe Biden must be elected to be the next president on November 3. “President Biden will save lives”, she wants Americans to know. “The devastation we are experiencing didn’t have to be this way”.
In contrast to President Trump, who threatened to “shoot” looters, to use vicious dogs to attack protesters, and whose administration directed protesters in Washington D.C to be teargassed and shot with rubber bullets, and who is now threatening to use the US military against American citizens, Joe Biden would be “calling for calm, justice and healing”, Sanders says. “We would have had a Department of Justice on the ground in Minneapolis right away (after the killing of George Floyd), he would have held the prosecutors accountable and would have the ability to go in and investigate the police department.”
Biden himself in his June 2 speech urged Congress not to wait until he can be elected president, but to take immediate action on police reform. He called on Congress to pass a bill outlawing choke holds and to give “each and every police department resources and tools to review their hiring, training and de-escalation practices.” Biden talked specifics, not platitudes – and that’s a quality about the Vice President, that Sanders wants voters to know about “Joe”.
When she first met him, she couldn’t believe how open he was to seeking her out and hearing her out – a 30-year-old woman from Nebraska. “It shocked me that he was willing to seek my counsel. It impressed me that he valued my opinion and that he valued the opinion of young people around the country”, she relates. She has since observed him speaking to young people at campaign events and then later discussing what they had to say – taking their concerns and opinions seriously.
“He is the kind of person who seeks counsel and values the power of young people. We need their brain power and energy”, she points out.
She tells HollywoodLife that who America votes for president in 2020 will deeply affect young women, very much, including young women of color. “I felt that he [Vice President Biden] got that. He has a plan for women and it addresses issues that were pressing before the pandemic, but the coronavirus pandemic put a spotlight on these inequities. He will champion women’s healthcare and reverse all of the Trump administration’s efforts to limit a woman’s right to choose, he will reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and expand it, he will restore federal funding for women’s reproductive care, including restoring funding for Planned Parenthood and he will increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, which will help women, since they are a majority of the low income workers in the country. This way, they can make a living wage”, she points out.
It’s in some of our darkest moments of despair that we’ve made some of our greatest progress — and we have that chance once again. We’re not just going to rebuild this nation — we’re going to transform it.
There is nothing we can’t do if we do it together. pic.twitter.com/iozMdaLtAw
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 3, 2020
For anyone who is skeptical that Joe Biden actually has very specific, detailed policies that he would like to implement to help women, then you must go to his website, click on “Joe’s Vision” and then scroll down to “Joe Biden’s Agenda For Women”and then dig in.
Joe Biden actually co-sponsored the original 1994 Violence Against Women Act, to protect women against violence including domestic violence. It was reauthorized every year until 2019 when it was passed in the House of Representatives, but then Senator Mitch McConnell ( hmm ) refused to bring it up for a vote in the Senate. He has sat on it ever since. Biden vows to get it reauthorized if he is elected.
Biden also supports repealing the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding being used for women on medicaid who need an abortion, and he wants to pass legislation to protect Roe V. Wade, so that the right to an abortion would be legislatively guaranteed throughout the country. Biden’s proposed public health insurance option would – good news – also cover the cost of contraception. Sanders is also excited to point out that as part of Biden’s Agenda for Students, he will make four-year public colleges and universities tuition-free for all students whose family incomes are below $125,000. The Trump administration hasn’t even attempted to offer anything like this.
And as for student debt, Biden has a detailed plan for how to relieve it, where Donald Trump has done nothing to ease this terrible burden affecting so many.
Sanders emphasizes that Biden’s website full of plans for women, students, Black America, the Latino community, LGBTQ equality, climate change, criminal justice reform and more, “aren’t just platitudes, they are foundational policies that the Biden team has put numbers to. They intend for these to be policies that he can enact.” And getting laws passed that can improve people’s lives has been a goal for Sanders, who first decided she wanted to become a political strategist as a student at Creighton University. in Nebraska. “I thought that being a politician was one of the most powerful things you could be because once elected, a politician can write laws. I decided I wanted to be the strategist behind messages. To help create messages that would resonate with people like me – a young woman from the midwest.”
Sanders has been hugely successful at that, landing a key position as the National Press Secretary for Senator Bernie Sanders during his 2016 presidential campaign, when she was just 25. She is determined to harness young people to support Joe Biden. “There’s not a more powerful person in the world than a young person with a vote. They can protest but if the people holding political offices don’t hear you then we can’t affect real change, and real change won’t happen if Donald Trump is president for the next four years”, she warns.
“If you look at the protests, people’s cries for justice led them to the White House. Who sits there matters – the protesters know that”, she says in response to anyone who thinks that voting doesn’t matter.
As for Biden’s choice of a female Vice President, Sanders reveals that “his running mate will be sympatico with him and have a relationship with him similar to the one he had with President Obama. She will be a strong governing partner.” While there is no way that she will name names or respond to any of the speculation about Fair Fights’ Stacey Abrams, Congresswoman Val Demings from Florida, Senator Kamala Harris or Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, among others, she does hint that Biden’s vice presidential pick “could be a woman of color”.
As tens of thousands of young people take to streets across the nation in protests against systematic inequality, Sanders urges America’s young voters to get involved by joining the Students for Biden group or League 46, for young working people to help the campaign, and to find a practical outlet for their anger. “Young people have a right to be frustrated – it’s warranted. There’s a whole generation who lived the last three months of school in quarantine”, Sanders points out. And, that was before the killing of George Floyd which exposed systematic racism in such a visceral way.
“I know there is enormous fear and uncertainty and anger in the country. I understand. And I know so many Americans are suffering. Suffering the loss of a loved one. Suffering economic hardships. Suffering under the weight of generation after generation of hurt inflicted on people of color and on black and native communities in particular”, Joe Biden recognized in his June 2 address to the country. But he ended his speech with hope. “This is the United States of America. And there is nothing we can’t do. If we do it together.”
It’s that understanding, empathy and pledge of drawing America back together that motivated Sanders to join Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign. Now, she is working harder than ever to elect him at this most critical of times for America.
If you want to volunteer to work on the Joe Biden campaign, go to League 46, Students For Biden or Women For Biden on JoeBiden.com AND, if you haven’t registered to vote yet, do it now using the Register To Vote module below.