I’ll Vote for Joe Biden, But I Won’t Pretend It’s a Good Day for Humanity
Over the past several months, I’ve been hard on Joe Biden, mostly because I know America can do better. Unsurprisingly, I don’t have high hopes for a man who’s lied about his college education, his first wife’s death, or his voting record — just for starters. I’m hard on a man who apparently sees nothing wrong with pawing all over women (or young girls) while talking to the fathers, brothers, and husbands like those women are mere property.
No, I’m not a fan of the idea of a Biden presidency, and not even with Kamala Harris, but in this sick game of “Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire,” I do understand that Trump is the reigning champion with thousands upon thousands of lies under his belt.
So, rest assured that this typical non-voter will do her civic duty to “vote blue no matter who.” But that doesn’t mean I’m going to quit being critical of Biden or the party that made this entire shitfest of an election happen.
You see, I’m one of those lefties whom the purebred democrats are starting to hate because I’m — remarkably!— not happy about everything they serve us. In fact, you might say that I’m pretty damn sick of the neoliberal corporate leadership.
As many of you know, I’m not one for conspiracy theories, yet the 2016 and 2020 elections seem to be something straight out of The Family’s playbook. White men who love Jesus and have a funny way of showing it. And it’s the people who pay for that misguided fervor.
On one side you’ve got Trump, the guy who’s clearly using the evangelical platform to further his own interests. And on the other side, you’ve got Biden, the Catholic career Democrat who’s been more Conservative than Christ. I mean, really. We’re talking about the dude who brags about “writing” The Patriot Act.
And those VPs. Mike Pence is probably the most forgettable Vice President since Joe Biden which is a pretty impressive feat in and of itself. As for Kamala Harris, she’s thankfully not so forgettable and she’s got the benefit of being more liberal than Joe. Depending upon how you look at it, of course.
As Branko Marcetic points out in Jacobin, Harris and Biden are pretty much the same politician — once you look at their actual records.
But maybe we can be honest.
Like Ro Khanna?
In case you missed it, the California Representative made headlines for announcing in a Common Dreams op-ed that he’s voting no on the Democratic party platform. When I shared his statement on Facebook, liberal friends were quick to complain that Ro Khanna was “acting petty” and that this sort of behavior was the stupid sort of shit that’s going to get Trump re-elected.
First of all, no.
Khanna has been clear. He will do everything he can to support the Democratic ticket, as in Biden/Harris. He understands the importance of getting Trump out of office. But the ticket is not the platform, and this “no” vote is about getting the Democratic party back on track.
Some may ask: "Why does the left have such a hard time understanding that you don’t get 100 percent of what you want, that the truly great gains are made incrementally?"
To this I say, nobody understands the realities of incrementalism better than progressives. Harry Truman ran and won on universal healthcare in 1948, and it was part of Democratic Party platforms until 1980. Thirty-six years later, the 2016 platform merely called for lowering the eligibility age for Medicare to 55. The 2020 platform proposes raising the goal to 60. That is not incrementalism; that is moving backwards.
So, in the midst of a global pandemic, Representative Khanna has the audacity to demand healthcare for the American people, something that Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and the corporate Democrats at large refuse to endorse. In a fucking pandemic. But Khanna’s the crazy one?
Thankfully he’s not alone in this.
Before the convention, more than 700 delegates signed a petition pledging to “vote against any platform that does not include a plank supporting universal, single-payer Medicare for All.” Opposition to the party’s platform isn’t about getting in the way of Joe Biden and his third bid for POTUS. This is certainly not about making things easier for Trump to get re-elected.
This is about making Joe’s bid for the presidency significantly stronger, by giving people access to the medical attention they desperately need.
It’s already crazy that “the best” America can do is choose between two quickly aging, and frankly, conservative white men with boundary issues. It’s crazy that the best the Democrats can do is select a man who’s spent more than 40 years on the wrong side of most issues. No matter how much the Trump Dynasty attempts to paint Biden as a socialist, the sad truth is that Trump and Biden share far more commonalities than differences.
It’s the difference, of course, that matters in this moment. As much as I dislike Biden’s track record, even I have to admit his level of evil isn’t as bad as Donald Trump. I don’t have much faith in a man who fails to see healthcare as a basic human right — and in a viral pandemic, no less — but I do trust that Joe won’t waste precious time being a dick on Twitter or spreading debunked rumors about COVID-19.
That’s how low the bar is set for presidential candidates today. They get gold stars for trusting science.
Even so, let’s not pretend that it’s Donald Trump who brought us here. It’s not. There’s a growing battle between progressives and democrats because the party has been problematic for a damn long time.
As Ro Khanna said, universal healthcare hasn’t been a part of the democratic party platform for forty years. Coincidentally, Joe Biden is one of the founding fathers of the democratic party as we know it, becoming a senator in 1973.
To be perfectly honest, this party hasn’t done much better than the Republicans. It’s still been “profits over people.” Democrats love Bill Clinton for his economy, but turn a blind eye to all of that — failed — tough on crime, for-profit prison bullshit.
Democrats condemn Trump for separating families and putting children in cages, but conveniently overlook Obama’s part in it all. Or, you know, Joe Biden’s.
If we’re honest, the Obama administration left a lot to be desired. Yes, the face of civility is sorely missed, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are currently wading through the effects of that administration’s failures.
It would appear that the Democratic establishment never learns. Here we are, backed into a corner and forced to pick a proven problematic politician on the mere fact that he’s not the other idiot. And the establishment has the audacity to call its 2020 platform the boldest one yet?
So bold, it can’t even envision healthcare as a basic, and necessary right. So bold it chose to raise the eligibility age for Medicare. And once again, they did this in the middle of a global health crisis.
Trump doesn’t deserve the credit for bringing us here. He made the pandemic worse — there’s no doubt about that. And basically, all he does is lie to the American people. But Trump is merely the pus draining from a gross boil on America’s butt. The democratic commitment to neoliberalism is the staph infection that brought us here.
We can hope like hell that Biden gets elected, but we’d better be willing to treat the infection or it’s only going to fill up with sludge again.
I applaud Ro Khanna and every delegate who stands up for our right to access affordable healthcare. It’s not easy to push back when it seems like the whole damn party expects progressives to simply “fall in line.”
I applaud every person who can see through the “blue no matter who” rhetoric. The people in charge might be better than Trump but they are still not people to be trusted
After all, who really thought it was a bright idea to bring in Bill Clinton as an esteemed DNC speaker? Aka yet another man credibly accused of rape? Or John Kasich — the anti-choice republican who legislated the prohibition against rape crisis centers to counsel survivors about abortion?
Sure, the platform is so bold that the minute someone on the Left questions where it leaves women, climate change, or healthcare, folks lose their shit about “progressives and their purity tests.”
It’s incredible, really. In 2020, speaking up for human rights and common sense will quickly get you branded a Karen. And anything but complete and utter allegiance to the blue guys will get you blamed for Trump’s possible re-election.
But we’re the ones with the purity tests?
Don’t worry. I’ll vote for Biden simply because Trump is a raging infection. But that doesn’t mean I feel good about our choices. And it doesn’t mean I’m going to shut my mouth about Joe Biden.
We’ve had nearly four miserable years with Trump. If we are “fortunate” enough to get four years with Biden, it will be on us — the progressives — to try and mitigate the damage Biden can do by pushing him left. Because after this election, I don’t think the democrats can hold the party together without some serious change.
In his op-ed, Ro Khanna mentioned previous brinks of a split among the democratic party. As the establishment continues to push its neoliberal platform, it seems that a split is imminent.
Maybe it’s time to deal with that issue?