The lukewarm candidate many are struggling to get excited about
Last year, I attended an NDSU Democrats meeting in the fall. Everyone there went around and listed their favorite nominee for the 2020 Presidential race. Warren and Sanders were clearly top favorites, a few native Minnesotans said they were rooting for Kloubacher and some hopefuls in the room said names like Booker or Buttigieg.
What I remember most clearly though is when everyone was finished, one girl let out a huge sigh of relief and said, “Ugh, thank goodness. Can we all just appreciate that not one person said Biden?” And around the room laughs (rightfully) erupted.
Joe Biden was the problematic, creepy uncle amongst a sea of candidates who promised progress and a willingness to listen. He was, and is, the wet blanket of the Democratic candidacy race and now he’s our only choice.
I don’t like Biden. Why would I want a man to be president whom I wouldn’t even feel comfortable being alone with? So this November I urge you to do what I am doing: don’t vote for Biden.
Don’t vote for him, instead, vote for what it could mean to have a Democratic president back in the position and vote against four more years of authoritarian malpractice coming from our current (racist? rapist? xenophobic?) president.
You may be putting a check next to Biden’s name on the ballot, but you’ll be voting for so much more than the man himself.
It’s important to really address why Biden isn’t ideal for the position. Unfortunately, there are some people who would happily put some of Biden’s problematic history aside to pretend he’s the perfect candidate. This type of behavior is akin to pretending a failed businessman would make a perfect president, something Trump critics have been rallying around for years. Repeat after me: “In this house, we don’t do hypocrisy.”
Here’s the biggest issue for me, according to Business Insider, Biden has been accused of inappropriately touching at least 8 women. From kissing the back of women’s necks, to putting his hand on the thigh of a woman who had just shared her story of sexual assault. He’s been repeatedly inappropriate.
I’ve spent the last four years in disgusted awe that a man with 17 allegations of sexual assault or sexual harassment was able to get elected to the highest office in this country. The idea that Americans could support a man whose response to most allegations is, “I would never do a thing like that in a place with so many cameras,” felt like we were ruining decades of progress.
So, after four years of feeling hopeless having a sexual predator as a president, we get to choose between two men both accused of sexual misconduct. This was meant to be the age of #MeToo, of believing women and holding their attackers accountable and instead, we are sending a clear message to female survivors in our choice of candidates about how we as a nation really feel.
Then there’s an element that is out of Biden’s control but is still a reflection of him nonetheless. Biden is an old, white, straight, cisgender, Christian man. This country has a long, long, long history of old, white presidents; briefly disturbed by Barack Obama. The other frontrunners in the campaign all promised something different for that history: Sanders would have been the first Jewish president, Warren the first female president, Buttigieg the first (openly) gay president, or Harris the first female and black president.
While a person’s identity isn’t the only thing to recommend them to a position like presidency, our history as a country of only electing old, white men reflect what we value in leadership. And Biden just represents more of the same.
Within Biden’s control has been his history of problematic policy, his treatment of Anita Hill, his opinions on healthcare and immigration. If we weren’t currently being run by Trump, we would probably look at Biden’s political past and call him a moderate Republican, but anything short of dictatorship looks pretty democratic right now.
Not to mention Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as his Vice Presidential candidate. The United States is facing the biggest uprising against police violence and he chooses a former district attorney with a casual friendliness to law enforcement as his running mate. Biden is clearly disconnected from the events surrounding him.
So, we’ve established that Biden isn’t ideal. Against any other candidate and after any other presidency, I would be incredibly hard-pressed to cast my vote for the guy. But come November, I will vote for Biden so swiftly and with so clear a conscience because I know that a vote for Biden isn’t just a vote for the one man, but for what having him sitting in the oval office will do for this country.
What you’ll actually be voting for is the chance for a government free of authoritarianism. The moves Trump is currently making against his own citizens are straight out of Authoritarianism for Dummies. Putting blame for social unrest on ‘anarchists’ or ‘ANTIFA’ (which is not even a real organization) shifts the blame from the institutional and governmental systems inflicting injustice and back onto the citizens themselves.
Trump’s attempt to designate protesters as terrorists are eerily similar to the ways past dictators have slowly stripped away the rights of their citizens, labeling their political enemies as enemies of the state and eliminating them through force. There are Americans slowly emerging that are encouraging the incarceration and expulsion of political enemies (I’m looking at you QAnon), but this is not World War II-era Germany. America is meant to be the land of the free and voting under Biden’s name is a step closer to that freedom.
You’ll also be voting for a new supreme court justice and for the rights of women everywhere. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 87 people, she was born in 1933. RBG is older than the ballpoint pen and she’s sticking around out of sheer force of will at this point in order to keep the freedom of this country intact.
RBG doesn’t have another four years and if Trump gets one more justice on the supreme court, Roe vs. Wade will immediately be overturned. This does not mean an end to abortion, just an end to safe abortions for disenfranchised women in this nation, because the rich will still have the means to get abortions.
Regardless of your personal feelings about abortions, a vote under Biden’s name means protecting the rights of women; those who you agree with, those who you don’t and those whose situations you will never understand.
You’re voting for fair election procedures. The moves Trump has already made to curb his opposition from voting against him means that in another four years he will likely dismantle the election system completely. In a TIME article, experts discussed how Trump has already made pushes against COVID safe voting procedures, has tried to eradicate laws already in place that could help voting during a pandemic, advanced practices that make it harder to vote, used rhetoric meant to challenge the election system only if he should lose and has admitted to slowing down USPS to stall mail-in ballots.
If Trump is given another four years, there will not be another fair election in this country for a very long time. Were Biden to win by anything but an enormous majority over Trump, Trump will most definitely challenge the election results. This will lead to a precedent that losing opponents need not leave office if the loss isn’t substantial enough (and who’s even to say what losers will qualify as ‘substantial’).
You’re voting for a leader that is malleable enough to change for the better, and if nothing else, will not revert to the past. You’re voting for a conversation on healthcare, as Biden has promised to listen to Harris, an open supporter of Sanders’ Medicare for All bill. You’re voting against white supremacy, against children in cages, against nazi sympathy, blatant sexism and frivolous lies.
You’re also voting for the environment, for the absence of Russian interference in our elections, for the chance of a leader who will not allow 180,000 plus American deaths to go unanswered for.
You may literally be casting your vote for Biden, but what you’re really doing is casting a vote for democracy, freedom and progress. Biden is just one man, one man we have seen is flexible and open to change. Trump has become so incredibly dangerous because he folds to the will of his followers, this has led to devastation and widespread bigotry. What if the base supporting Biden pushed him to be the progressive and substantial leader this country needs right now?
If you don’t vote for Biden in November, either by not voting at all or writing in a third party candidate, you will have voted for Trump as sure as if you had filled out the ballot with his name instead. You don’t like your options? That’s tough. It’s time we all grow up, this country has some serious work to do.