The bar to Mr Biden being an improvement is therefore not high. He clears it easily. Much of what the left wing of the Democratic Party disliked about him in the primaries—that he is a centrist, an institutionalist, a consensus-builder—makes him an antiTrump well-suited to repair some of the damage of the past four years. Mr Biden will not be able to end the bitter animosity that has been mounting for decades in America. But he could begin to lay down a path towards reconciliation.
Although his policies are to the left of previous administrations’, he is no revolutionary. His pledge to “build back better” would be worth $2trn-3trn, part of a boost to annual spending of about 3% of gdp. His tax rises on firms and the wealthy would be significant, but not punitive. He would seek to rebuild America’s decrepit infrastructure, give more to health and education and allow more immigration. His climate-change policy would invest in research and job-boosting technology. He is a competent administrator and a believer in process. He listens to expert advice, even when it is inconvenient. He is a multilateralist: less confrontational than Mr Trump, but more purposeful.
尽管他的政策和前几届政府相比偏左，但他并非革命者。他“重建的更好”的承诺将价值2-3万亿美元，刺激经济部分的年度支出占GDP的3% 。他对公司和富人的增税将是重大的，但不是惩罚性的。他将寻求重建美国破旧的基础设施，加大对医疗教育 的投入，允许更多的移民。他的气候变化政策将投资于研究和促进就业的技术。他是一个有能力的管理者，是流程的信奉者。即使是再不方便的时候，他也会听取专家的意见。他是一个多边主义者：没有特朗普那么强的对抗性，但更具有目的性。
Wavering Republicans worry that Mr Biden, old and weak, would be a Trojan horse for the hard left. It is true that his party’s radical wing is stirring, but he and Kamala Harris, his vice-presidential pick, have both shown in the campaign that they can keep it in check. Ordinarily, voters might be advised to constrain the left by ensuring that the Senate remained in Republican hands. Not this time. A big win for the Democrats there would add to the preponderance of moderate centrists over radicals in Congress by bringing in senators like Steve Bullock in Montana or Barbara Bollier in Kansas. You would not see a lurch to the left from either of them.
摇摆不定的共和党人担心，年老力衰的拜登，将会成为强硬左派的木偶。民主党的激进派确实正在活跃，但他和他挑选的副总统 Kamala Harris 都在竞选中表明，他们能够控制住这种局面。通常情况下，选民们会被建议，通过确保让参议院仍然被共和党控制来限制左派。但不是这次。如果民主党大获全胜，那么通过引入像 Steve Bullock 和 Barbara Bollier 这样的参议员，国会中温和的中间派人士对激进派的优势将会增加。你将不会看到他们任何一个向左边倾斜。
A resounding Democratic victory would also benefit the Republicans. That is because a close contest would tempt them into divisive, racially polarising tactics, a dead end in a country that is growing more diverse. As anti-Trump Republicans argue, Trumpism is morally bankrupt (see Lexington). Their party needs a renaissance. Mr Trump must be soundly rejected.
In this election America faces a fateful choice. At stake is the nature of its democracy. One path leads to a fractious, personalised rule, dominated by a head of state who scorns decency and truth. The other leads to something better—something truer to what this newspaper sees as the values that originally made America an inspiration around the world.
In his first term, Mr Trump has been a destructive president. He would start his second affirmed in all his worst instincts. Mr Biden is his antithesis. Were he to be elected, success would not be guaranteed—how could it be? But he would enter the White House with the promise of the most precious gift that democracies can bestow: renewal.