Throughout the primary, I argued with everyone from my editor here at The Typescript to my best friends in “real life” that we should not vote for Bernie Sanders because he was an impractical choice. His ideals are the best ideals out there, but he lacks the ability to pass anything of consequence. Fast forward to last week and the announcement that Kamala Harris will be Joe Biden’s running mate, and boom! I am on a Facebook rant about how I will not vote for this ticket and I will write Bernie’s name in instead.
In a matter of months, I went from a “I hate Bernie Bros and their lack of reason” to a complete “Bernie Bro” myself.
A few weeks and a few political conversations later and I have changed my tune… slightly.
I agree with what our editor Matthew Friedman has made clear, we cannot browbeat people into voting for more progressive candidates, we can only browbeat them into never supporting our candidates in any election.
For that reason, and because people who lack the straight, white Christian privilege that I have are less likely to survive another four years of Trump, I believe that we should all vote for Biden. His policies are not great, but Trump’s policies are inhumane. Biden may not be the change that we need, or want, but his Presidency will at least stop the bleeding caused by the Trump administration.
Having said that, we should not be happy or view a Biden win in November as an out-and-out victory for the American middle and working classes or for minority communities in this country. Bien’s Harris helped prop-up the same laws and legal structures that we on the progressive left – and even Harris herself in recent years –hate because they promote systemic racism. To think that somehow a person like Harris will tear down the same structures that helped make her rich is laughable. Her integrity must also be called into question as she joins the Biden team after she declared during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings that we must believe the claims of rape victims, and that someone accused of rape might not be fit for public office. I suppose we should believe every woman but…Tara Reade.
Biden is problematic on his own terms, even without Reade. He has said that he will never support a Medicare for All System… He has not proposed any real policies that would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants… And are we to believe that the same man who, as a Senator, helped author the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 is supposed to tear down the racist justice system? His whole campaign promise has been to return us to the joys of 2012 and the Obama presidency, but at the end of the day the Obama presidency was not great for the working-class; which is what led to the ascension of Trump in the first place.
So, the question becomes: if I hate this ticket so much then why am I voting for it?
The answer is simple. As Represetative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and other members of the “Squad” gain both social and political influence, they are going to need an administration that will at least listen. As the progressive wave crashes across the cities of this country and we see young powerful women like Cori Bush ride the “Squad’s” coattails to victory, freshmen like Bush are going to need an administration that will work with them.
The Trump administration will never work with the progressives because the whole existence of the Trump presidency is built on the promise of defending conservativism, white privilege and power. The Biden administration will more than likely only offer minor changes to policies to appease the young progressives, but even those minor concessions will could be the start that this country so desperately needs.
We need to understand that this is a marathon. not a sprint. The accomplishment of our goals may take several election cycles, not just this one. So, we need to plan and be ready to push for those gentle nudges in the right direction. We cannot go quietly into the night after the election in November. We must stay loud, and we must stay vocal. And we must, as dirty as it makes us feel, pull the lever for Biden/Harris 2020.