This isn’t complicated. Joe Biden is a terrible candidate, and very likely a terrible person. At the very least, we can all agree he’s done some terrible things. Of the top five contenders for the presidential nomination, he’s got the worst track-record and has seemed to run his campaign almost as an afterthought (‘walking’ his campaign, or ‘ambling’ his campaign, would be more accurate). His political positions going forward–beyond being against left-wing ideas like free health care, college debt forgiveness, and taxing the wealthy–are so vague as to be almost laughable. And his past voting record is a horror show of war, incarceration, and a friendliness to corporate interests that, even for a centrist Democrat, is pathetic and weak.
The only reason he’s even within sniffing distance of the presidency is because his opponent, our current president, is worse. Way worse. Like way, way, way worse. We’re talking hey, where did the Constitution go? levels of worse.
So there you go. Biden is a better choice for president. Vote for Biden.
Unfortunately, the Democratic party, by putting its thumb on the scale in order to help his cause–through staging in-person elections during a pandemic, coaching other candidates when to stay in and when to drop out of the race in order to achieve maximum Biden-victory-optics, and most importantly, incorporating absolutely zero leftist positions to date–has basically told every person who supported Bernie Sanders to go fuck themselves. And for those people, it’s hard not to feel that a vote for Biden tells the Democratic establishment that all of this is okay.
Sounds simple enough, but when a friend of mine went on F—book the other day after Biden’s “You ain’t black” statement, and posted this:
I’ve defended voting for Biden on here, but I’m less and less convinced it’s wise. Sorry to anyone I’ve slighted for opposing him from the left.
The “you ain’t black” nonsense is staggeringly bad.
He is truly a garbage candidate, and the Democratic Party will continue to serve up terrible candidates until the leadership is reprimanded.
I understood where he was coming from. I personally will almost certainly vote for Biden in Novemeber–even though I’d much rather have voted for Sanders, Warren, Harris, Yang, Mayo Pete, and Klobuchar (in that order, for what it’s worth), but I can respect my friend’s dilemma. Torn by the desire to prevent another Trump term versus giving his tacit consent to what feels like an eternity of Bidens, he had the fucking nerve to…waiver slightly in public about what he will do.
When I saw my friend’s post, I almost left a comment along the lines of “RIP your mentions buddy.” Because my friend is also friends with some of the dippier dipshits in town. One dude jumped in to vehemently argue how the Tara Reade accusations aren’t true, which is weird for a couple of reasons: 1) He doesn’t know whether they are or not (nobody does! that’s why people get to argue about it forever!). And 2) You can’t defend Biden against the Reade accusations without sounding like all the Brett Kavanaugh defenders a year ago, and those guys all sounded like assholes. Choosing to sound like an asshole to show your support for Biden–someone I think we can all agree is not a perfect person–seems like, oh I don’t know, an unproductive waste of fucking time and a bad look to show to your community.
Another guy said that because black voters chose Biden, then my friend needed to respect their choice–basically implying my friend would be racist if he didn’t vote for Biden. There’s so much straw in this argument that three horses died of malnutrition while this guy was typing. The Sanders/Biden divide was more about young vs. old than black vs. white. Just like every other demographic, older black voters supported Biden over Sanders. And just like every other demographic, younger black voters supported Sanders. Also, Hispanic voters in Nevada voted overwhelmingly for Sanders. By that guy’s logic, supporting Biden means you don’t care about Hispanic voters. Third…I forget what three was for. Or was it four?… There was a part where the I-know-Tara-Reade-is-a-liar guy talked about how he gets his hair cut at a black barber shop (spoiler: he’s white) so he’s the authority to tell my friend about the black community, but I’m afraid to go back and read it.
I guess it’s fun to try and sound smarter than everyone else. I am voting for Candidate X because I am smarter than you, and because I am a better person than you. People espouse theories. They make emotional arguments, most of them in bad faith. In order to convince someone to vote the way you want them to people throw whatever argument they can think of–ethical or emotional. They will use racial arguments, gendered arguments, sexuality arguments. You won’t vote for Pete because you’re homophobic, Bernie because you’re anti-semitic (or you will vote for Bernie because he’s anti-semitic thinking Israel should chill the fuck out with the ethnic cleansing). You won’t vote for Liz because you’re a misogynist, and so on forever. Bernie supporters are sexist goes the Received Wisdom, so if you vote for Bernie over Liz you must be sexist. Liz supporters are college-educated goes the R.W., so if you vote for Liz over Kamala you must be elitist. Kamala threw a lot of people in prison goes the–well that’s true. Don’t vote for Bernie because he hates women, but it’s okay to vote for Biden because Tara Reade’s a liar. Don’t vote for Liz because she lied about being Native American, but it’s okay to vote for Biden even though he voted to put black people in jail because we have to defeat Trump. We’re all a nation of ratfuckers, Lee Atwaters, and wanna-be James Carvilles. Except those assholes get paid, even when they’re wrong.
Nobody knows anything, and you should vote for whoever you want to. If we all knew the way to make a better society through the strategic use of our vote, we’d live in a much better country right now. The fact that most of us live in a third-world shithole at the moment kind of tells me we don’t.
If Tara Reade’s allegations make you uncomfortable voting for Biden, and you choose not to vote for him, that’s your goddamn choice. If her allegations make you uncomfortable, but you choose to vote for him anyway, that’s also your goddamn choice. And if you don’t care about her allegations at all and think she’s a liar, that’s your choice too–though I am definitely cocking a skeptical eyebrow in your direction.
If Biden’s long established history of racist votes, racist statements, and his attitude that he doesn’t owe black people shit, makes someone uncomfortable voting for him, it takes a hell of a lot of bad faith mental gymnastics to argue they are actually the real racist. To be a Democratic voter who believes people deserve more than tax credits and neoliberal hegemony has meant eating endless shovels of shit when voting in a presidential election since at least 1988. And if forming the largest left-wing populist movement this country’s seen in three decades isn’t enough to move the party even a tiny little bit from its center-right economic stance, you can’t blame people for wondering if “voting blue no matter who” may not be the best idea.
Well, I guess you can. But it doesn’t make you sound smart, and it damn sure doesn’t give you any kind of moral high ground. As a politician, Joe Biden has shown himself to be a cynical prick time and again. Morality has nothing to do with voting for him. It’s only a question of whether you can handle the stink in your eyes when you mark the box next to his name.
It says a lot about our current president, and our current situation, that, in spite of all this, I hope Biden wins all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and any other territories we might own by November. But my vote for Joe Biden won’t be rooted in any kind of principle. It will be as nakedly cynical and corrupt as the candidate I’m voting for.