Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Amtrak's Pittsburgh Train Station, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Pittsburgh. Credit: Andrew Harnick / AP

The BDN Editorial Board operates independently from the newsroom, and does not set policies or contribute to reporting or editing aticles elsewhere in the newspaper or on bangordailynews.com.

In 2016, we warned that Donald Trump was committed only to himself, lied constantly and displayed a lack of self-control, characteristics that we believed disqualified him from the White House.

Four years later, after winning the presidency, Trump has, sadly, shown our assessment to be correct.

He continues to lower the bar for American leadership at home and abroad, particularly when it comes to basic human compassion and respect.

The list of Trump’s failures is long and begins on inauguration day when he gave a dark and divisive speech foreshadowing that he would not be the president of all Americans, but rather would heap praise on his supporters and unleash hatred, fury and insults at those who dare to disagree with him.

Trump didn’t create the political, racial and economic divides in America, but he certainly has made them worse while cynically and transparently trying to use them to his advantage.

Since taking office, Trump has denigrated immigrants and barred many seeking refuge in America. He has insulted military members and veterans while praising dictators and giving tacit support to hate groups. He’s taken protections away from LGBTQ Americans and rolled back women’s reproductive rights. He’s appointed unqualified ideologues to top government posts and had the most staff turnover of any president.

Most recent on the list failures is the president’s ongoing mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. Since the virus was first identified in the U.S. in March, more than 7 million Americans have been infected and more than 211,000 have died. Both are the most of any country in the world and the result of the lack of a clear, coordinated national plan to contain the virus. This failure is so egregious that the New England Journal of Medicine took the unusual step of calling for U.S. leadership to be voted out of office next month.

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Trump has also so badly mismanaged the federal response to the virus that he has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and his own White House has become a hotspot with nearly three dozen coronavirus cases linked to it.

Even as he recovers from the disease, and is receiving top notch care that most Americans don’t have access to, he downplays the severity of COVID-19 and refuses to follow health safety guidelines from medical experts within his own administration.

At the same time, he’s failed to lead on needed financial relief for American workers, families, businesses and cities and states that continue to weather the coronavirus-related economic downturn.

Replacing Trump with Joe Biden won’t fix things overnight. It won’t automatically make Congress more functional or immediately make Washington more responsive to the needs of the American people. It won’t heal generations of inequality on its own. But it would set us back on a course of working together toward a better America, a more just America, and more civil America.

Biden was not our first choice for the Democratic nomination. But, he will bring much-needed competency and compassion to the White House. Having served eight years as a vice president and 36 years as a U.S. senator, Biden would bring a depth of experience to the presidency that is likely to translate to a more unified, respected and prosperous country.

Biden’s policies on health care, climate change and economic growth, among many others are better aligned with the needs and realities of American people. On health care, for example, he pledges to protect and improve the Affordable Care Act, while the Trump administration is trying to end it without an alternative plan. He would also include a public option like Medicare, allowing people without insurance or with inadequate insurance an affordable option.

Biden would recommit the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce emissions and calls for big investments in clean, renewable energy and infrastructure, which will benefit both the environment and the economy.

A recent economic analysis found that a Biden presidency and a Democratically controlled Congress would lead to a quicker economic recovery. Another four years of Trump would lead to worse economic outcomes because of support of only limited fiscal stimulus, his anti-immigration stance and the prospect of more trade tensions, according to Moody’s Analytics. This belies the notion that Republicans are better for the economy.

Above all, Biden would restore a foundation of empathy, decency and competence to our nation’s highest office.

We recommend ranking Biden and Kamala Harris, his vice presidential running mate, as your first choice.

The BDN Editorial Board

The Bangor Daily News editorial board members are Publisher Richard J. Warren, Editorial Page Editor Susan Young, Assistant Editorial Page Editor Matt Junker and BDN President Todd Benoit. Young has worked...