Don’t beg me to vote for Biden

Courtesy of SecretName101 via Wikimedia Commons.

If you’ve made up your mind to vote for Biden, I’m not trying to convince you otherwise. Thanks to the two-party system, many of you believe that not voting for Biden is akin to voting for Trump. I happen to disagree, and before you begin to belittle the people who will not be casting a vote with the Democratic party, please consider the following.

I have not seen a single case for Biden to be elected beyond “he’s our best chance to beat Trump,” which is a weak case, considering a measly 24 percent of his supporters report feeling “very enthusiastic” about their candidate. Compare this mere 24 percent of enthusiastic supporters to Trump’s 53 percent, and recall Biden’s abysmal track record—opposing desegregation, backing the Iraq War, pushing to cut Social Security, persecuting Anita Hill, sexually assaulting Tara Reade, etc. Do you really wonder why he’s had trouble garnering support from progressive voters? I fail to see how Democrats have convinced themselves to rally around a candidate who is so wholly uninspiring and expect a different result than when we ran an unlikeable moderate in 2016.

Imagine our current leaders saying “we need to unify and rally behind President Trump in the face of the COVID-19 crisis”—indeed, I know people who stand by this sentiment. But the president fired the experts who were trained to deal with a pandemic; he called the crisis a hoax; he ignored the literal handbook on how to deal with widespread contagion; he suggested hospitals and nurses are hoarding or wasting masks, rather than mobilizing the resources at the government’s disposal to obtain more masks and ventilators. In the face of this purely factual criticism, is the best solution still to blindly support our leader?

Think about how disillusioned you are with our incompetent president, and then imagine the same treatment from every politician you’ve ever encountered. Imagine you’ve experienced marginalization, been left unemployed and without healthcare, and then told by Democratic elites that you must vote for their party because they will save you, even though they’ve failed to do anything that remotely addresses your lived experience in decades—that would just be too radical. These are the folks who voted for Trump in 2016, these are the folks Bernie was speaking to, and these are the folks who have no obligation to vote blue in November.

I myself question whether President Biden would be that much less of an evil than President Trump. One supposed appeal of Biden’s campaign is that he’s able to appeal to moderates across the aisle; he’s not promising the idealistic, extreme left, “pie in the sky” policies that Bernie was pushing. He’s all about incremental change. Unfortunately, if we keep countering extreme fascism with anything moderate, anything but extreme anti-fascism, then we are going to continue to be pulled further and further into fascism. Consider Biden’s recent promise to lower the Medicare-eligible age to 60 and the praise he’s received for this concession. Then recall that four years ago, Hilary Clinton suggested lowering it to 55. We’re going backwards. The center is sliding further and further to the right. Universal healthcare, which has dominated our debate stage for decades, is perfectly reasonable and functional for 18 other countries, but the American political and moral compass is skewed to the right after years of attempting incremental change. Incremental change is not good enough—a fact that has become especially clear in the face of the global pandemic.

Perhaps you’re thinking that I need to remember what matters: beating Trump. To this, I firmly say that if I have to set aside a lot of my principles in order to vote for a candidate, what does it matter that candidate’s party? Based on his track record, electing Biden is a win for the Republican Party in all ways but nominal. This year would have been the time for the Democratic party to evolve by throwing their weight behind Bernie Sanders. Instead, they bet everything on Grandpa Joe, a candidate who represents the Democratic party of an ancient time, but has not given any indication that he is prepared to lead Americans in any way (just look at his response to COVID-19, which is at times incoherent). Biden’s campaign website promises a few progressive policies (such as restoring DACA), but when I search for evidence that he will follow through on those promises, there is nothing to be found. Are you really asking me to put my blind faith in someone whose campaign is funded by 44 billionaires, made up of mainly venture capitalists and real estate moguls?

We don’t have two parties. We have a ruling class of elite politicians who work for lobbyists and look out for their own interests. The two parties are simply a “false choice,” like choosing between two brands of shampoo at the drugstore that both come from the same parent company. Democrat versus Republican is a distraction. The Democratic party has betrayed the ideals that it supposedly represented; it’s time to disrupt the two-party system.

If you are truly willing to “vote blue no matter who,” that means that you are willing to compromise on any number of your values in order to keep a Republican out of office. I shudder at the potential for “compromise” to become a willingness to brush aside significant issues in order to vote for a rapist whose policies have historically been very very bad for Black Americans. That’s privilege. Furthermore, if you are pushing that slogan, we will never be able to hold a single Democratic candidate accountable for progressive policies, because they know they will capture your vote regardless. We cannot keep pretending that rewarding a candidate with our vote doesn’t mean anything. I know that my vote has value; that’s precisely why I can’t just give it away to a party or a candidate that doesn’t represent me.

Instead of voting for a meaningless party demarcation, I will vote based on policy. If tens of thousands of people said, “Hey, Biden, we refuse to vote for you unless you support Medicare for All,” then maybe he would listen, and I could consider voting for him. But it is simply not sufficient for the media (or for our peers!) to take a candidate and demand our unity. Ideally, a candidate that actually represents the needs of the people will unify us with their actions. If Biden wants to be that candidate now, he needs to actually earn the progressive vote. 

If your daily life does not drastically change based on the policies of whatever president is in office, and yet you are campaigning with all your might for a presidential candidate, then you might be imagining politics as a reality TV show you get to participate in. How fun, how inhuman! I understand that Biden will reinstate civility. He will restore America’s facade of liberalism and development. He will be less overtly xenophobic and vulgar than our current president. He will let you sleep better at night because you can feel as if you did your part to support progressivism by voting blue no matter who. This peace of mind is exactly what’s so terrifying about Biden becoming president: I worry we will stagnate. Both Trump and Bernie, from opposite ends of the political spectrum, succeeded in stirring people up. Trump’s open racism enraged liberals—and rightfully so. Obviously it’s harmful and embarrassing to have this current incompetent idiot in the White House. But I fear that liberalism, forcibly stirred up by the overt injustices of the current administration, will die a silent death if Biden, a covert conservative, is handed the office. Once we acknowledge the truth—that voting for Biden is mostly symbolic—you have to ask: what’s the benefit of preserving that symbol?

In the 2016 election, the DNC told hundreds of thousands of disenfranchised American citizens that they don’t matter. That is what led to Trump’s election; he was an anti-establishment candidate who (disingenuously) appealed to people who were reaching out for help. Bernie was our only shot at beating Trump; he was our progressive answer to the anti-establishment candidate. Many of the states Biden won during the primary (Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, etc.) are dependably red in the general election anyway. I don’t believe he has even a fraction of the magnetism required to swing the states that really count, and I sincerely doubt that his debate performances will contradict that perception.

If you’re voting for Biden, I won’t try to convince you otherwise, but I will urge you to stop trying to guilt progressive voters into choosing him. Perhaps if we make the DNC worried about winning, they could urge their puppet to adopt better policies in order to attract voters. And even if that doesn’t happen, I still believe we are justified in refusing to choose between two rapists. Ultimately, what’s the point of directing energy toward a campaign that will ultimately change nothing about our society, and a candidate who is far from likely to win the general election?

Instead of trying to convince disenfranchised people to believe in a system that excludes them, let’s demand more from the Democratic Party. Instead of wasting our votes on a candidate who will continue their corruption, let’s show them that we’ve had enough of incremental change. If the Green Party receives just 5 percent of the national vote, they receive federal funding for the next election as an officially recognized national party. Their candidates can begin to appear on ballots. They will begin to receive attention and resources to further their progressive campaign. We can break away from the two-party system if we stop wasting our votes on party loyalty.

Before you wage war on the enormous coalition of voters who desperately want change, consider devoting that energy into something that matters a lot more. We can flip the senate to blue. We can support Shahid Buttar and other progressive challengers of incumbent politicians. We can donate and volunteer with local grassroots campaigns. We can support local candidates who will make change in our communities. If we can’t have top-down change, let’s make it happen bottom-up. Without a truly progressive president, that happens a lot more slowly, but it’s still possible. Activism doesn’t begin or end with a vote. Let’s not lose sight of the battles that are really worth fighting.

[Corrections and Notes (04.18.2020): A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Joseph R. Biden (D-DE) voted to confirm Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Biden was the chairman of the committee that approved Thomas. The clause referring to that vote has been removed. Note that the previous version also referred ambiguously to the enthusiastic approval rating among supporters of Donald Trump, which is 53 percent; the sentence did not refer to Trump’s overall approval rating, which at the time of this corrections notice is approximately 44.1 percent (with approximately 53 percent disapproval). Please additionally note that Opinions articles do not reflect the views of The Miscellany News as a whole, but solely those of the author.]

34 Comments

  1. If we do not vote against Trump and the republican party, who are actively making our country hostile to progressive issues ( i.e. hollowing out American’s faith in the government, placing young and far right conservatives to judicial positions, blocking any bills that come from the House, and CONTINUOUSLY MAKING IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR PEOPLE OF MARGINALIZED IDENTITIES TO VOTE!) we all have to fork over our “progressive” cards because we are complicit in longterm authoritarianism and subjugation. period.

      • Bernie Sanders is in support of Biden! This argument just can’t be made in good faith. Biden’s policy platform is the most liberal of any presumptive democratic nominee ever! Yes, Joe Biden is far from perfect, but like most other people have no problem seeing- he’s leaps and bounds better than Donald Trump! To equate the two is simply false, and frankly disrespectful to Joe. Please compare the two once more for yourself.

        I think it’s important to realize Bernie’s ideological influence on the Democratic Party. For example, a single payer health system is at this point, in my opinion, an inevitability in this country, in large part because of Bernie.

        And let’s not forget. This race was NOT close. Biden won by a MASSIVE margin against Bernie. Far from it even being a competition. Bernie hit a ceiling, and it was low. Bernies black vote numbers were abysmal, just as they were 4 years ago. I guess he couldn’t figure that one out, or maybe he didn’t even try.

        Let’s be productive here. Let’s make change where we can. Let’s force Joe to elect high impact progressives to his team. He’s already very inclined to do so. He even pledged to chose a woman for VP! What if he chose Warren? Would you stay on top of your privileged ideological pedestal then too? No pledge has ever been made like that! Frankly I don’t care it’s performative, and to widen his appeal- it’s fantastic either way!

    • It’s basically equivalent to looking at a mother separated from her child at the border, or a Muslim blocked from entry to the country, and saying, “Sorry, can’t help you. Biden just isn’t Bernie.” THAT is privilege.

  2. This article makes me sick. Many people have died unavoidable deaths under the Trump administration. Children are being locked in cages at the border. The supreme court and federal courts have been packed with radical anti-choice judges. Some people do not have the privilege to vote based on ideological purity. Biden is not as progressive as I would like either, but come on! He proposes a $15 minimum wage, strong gun control, tuition free public college for families making under $125k.

    The Republican party has literally systematically destroyed our democracy over the last four years. We need to vote Democratic or PEOPLE WILL DIE.

  3. Have you considered that our most recent ~moderate~ president (Barack Obama) was followed by the most popular progressive candidate in American history (Bernie Sanders)? In no way will progressivism under Biden (presidents are figureheads anyway), but the entire country is at dire risk under Trump. This article makes it seem like what we have to save here is progressivism, not abolishing the death penalty, eliminating private prisons, minimum wage raise, lowering cost of college for many, expanding debt relief, boosting teacher pay, universal background checks, ending offshore drilling, reducing carbon emissions, voluntary gun buybacks, lowering prescription drug costs, improved infrastructure, ending past marijuana convictions, increasing capital gains tax rate, increasing taxes on the wealthy, expanding healthcare coverage, etc. All of those are REAL policies that Biden supports. In no way will Biden’s more moderate (in comparison to Bernie) beliefs kill progressive policies, but they will give them somewhere to start, and will move MUCH further on them than Trump could ever. This election isn’t about saving the soul of progressivism, because it is not at risk under Biden, but it (and MUCH more) is under Trump! It’s irresponsible to base an article off of what you’ve heard alone instead of researching the policies of people you are discussing.

  4. If Trump is re-elected then you might never have the chance to vote in another presidential election for your more progressive candidate. Do they study 1930s Germany at Vassar? It’s good to have some historical perspective on how democracies die before doing your part to kill off this one.

  5. I find that an educated person abstaining from voting for the Democratic Party is actually more selfish than progressively selfless. To stop Donald Trump means to slow authoritarianism as seen in social media, in his rallies, in his policies, and in the attitudes of his supporters and American life. It means saving literally thousands, if not millions (because who knows what will happen in the next four years) of people. If you are so bent on constantly zeroing in on your preconceived and “moral” values for the sake of making yourself feel better rather than focusing on actually trying to make life for an immeasurable number of people better, then not only are you ignorant of the lessons of history and politics, but you are also acting “immoral” in your false and poorly justified sense of morality. This coming election is not between a Democrat and a Republican. It is between Donald Trump and somebody who wants to stop Donald Trump. And that somebody is Joe Biden, who contrary to your belief, is a progressive who is labeled as a moderate! Biden’s policies and propositions are based off of compassion, accommodations for the disadvantaged in all walks of life, and truth.

  6. There are a couple factual errors with this piece. First, Trump doesn’t have 53 percent overall approval; he has 53 percent overall *disapproval*. And related to this, it is inaccurate to say that Biden has less support than Trump. You can’t compare “very enthusiastic” support for one candidate to overall support for another, but that’s exactly what this article tries to do. In fact, according to a recent Ipsos poll (https://www.ipsos.com/sites/default/files/ct/news/documents/2020-04/2020_reuters_tracking_-_core_political_coronavirus_tracker_04_15_2020_0.pdf), among all adults Trump has 25 percent “strong approval” (statistically equivalent to Biden’s 24 percent cited in this article)–and 36 percent “strong disapproval.” Furthermore, the same poll found that, were the election to happen today, Biden would win 42 percent of the vote (or 45 percent just among registered voters) to Trump’s 38 percent (40 percent if among registered voters). So it is in fact false that Biden would lose to Trump.

    But more importantly, there is a more nuanced reason to support Biden, and that regards what a president actually has immediate powers over: military action, executive orders, and nominations to cabinet and judiciary–including to the SCOTUS, that gang of nine able to strike down your most desired policies for unconstitutionality. Right now, the SCOTUS–because of Trump nomination Brett Kavanaugh–as a 5-4 conservative majority. Most of those conservatives would be happy to overturn, for example, Roe v. Wade and Casey, and strike down single-payer healthcare, M4A, the Green New Deal, campaign finance reform, gun bans, etc. Remember that RBG is also quite old and has already had cancer several times. Chances are she will die within the next 4 years. Trump would have the opportunity to nominate a conservative in her place–and it also looks like the Senate is going to remain in the hands of the GOP. That will give the SCOTUS a 6-3 conservative majority for possibly 40 years. Even if Bernie or AOC becomes president within that timeframe, any kind of change you want will likely be blocked. With Biden, at least the SCOTUS won’t have that opportunity. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t want to see progressivism fall dead in the water before it even had a chance; and I’m not willing to wait until I’m nearing retirement age to finally have that chance, just because one presidential nominee was not perfect. Especially if you live in a swing state, not voting for Biden is voting for your indifference to the success of the progressive movement.

  7. Al Gore lost Florida by 537 votes. If 538 more people had voted blue in 2000, George W. Bush would not have been president. That means no Iraq War, no state-sanctioned toture, no economic collapse in 2008 (or at least less severe). Al Gore would’ve appointed O’Connor and Rehnquist’s replacements on the Supreme Court. That means a solid liberal majority. Citizens United, Obergefell, Heller, and every other terrible conservative decision of the past two decades would’ve gone the other way. Voting rights and reproductive rights would not be so endangered today. Most importantly we would’ve had early and agressive action on Gore’s signature issue: the climate crisis. Back in 2000, a lot of stuck up “progressives” like you said the same things about Al Gore as you’re saying about Joe Biden now. “He’s too centrist”, “he’s too establishment”, “Gore and Bush are basically the same”. Lots of “progressive” activists told people to vote green party, like you are now. The Green Party candidate, Ralph Nader, won just under 100,000 votes in Florida. “Progressives” that valued purity over reality cost Al Gore the election and the world is much worse off for it. Marginalized folks who’ve had their voting rights ripped away by the Roberts court, the victims of the war on terror in the Middle East, the billions of people in the global South endangered by climate change, the thousands of students killed in mass shootings, the millions of workers crushed by the 2008 crisis were all worse off because purist “progressives” like you thought they were entitled to cast protest votes. Shame on you.

  8. This is why republicans win elections and it is one of many reasons why Trump won in 2016. Liberals are too picky about their candidates. Joe Biden was not my first choice either, I wanted a progressive candidate as well (Warren) but that is not what we got because the people spoke and chose Biden as the nominee. Voting green party is a nice idea, but it is throwing away your vote. With the way the American political system is setup currently there is a 0% chance that a third party candidate can come remotely close to winning. It is not the system I want either, but it is the one we have. To say Biden is just as bad as Trump is not just an exaggeration, it is uninformed. There is nothing worse for this country right now than another four years of Trump. He has blood on his hands, his mishandling and outright denial of the coronavirus has cost people their lives, he has locked up children who have committed no crime in inhumane prison cells at the border, he has subverted every institution we hold dear and he is openly encouraging racism, and people listen and respond to that. The list goes on and on. Joe Biden is not perfect, he has a lot of issues and a long track record in politics. But there is no questioning he would be better than Trump. He would work with Pelosi and the house effectively, he would put someone who is not a scumbag on the supreme court if a spot opens, and maybe most importantly he would appoint smart and capable people to all cabinet positions, including the heads of organizations like the NIH or EPA! You say the people voting for Biden even if they don’t love him is “privilege” but I think burning your vote on a third party instead of taking down Trump because “Biden is not the ideal progressive” is a very privileged position to be able to take. If your choices are eat something you don’t like or starve to death, I think the choice is pretty clear. Trump absolutely must be defeated, and although he has shortcomings, if you critically look at Biden he is lightyears ahead of Trump in every way. Not voting for Biden is irresponsible.

  9. “Let me begin by stating that, no matter the results of the primary, the Democratic party must unite behind whoever wins the nomination.”

    “I would never want the ire of Bernie Sanders supporters to detract from [the] campaign.”

    “If he [Sanders] does not win the primary, I will gladly campaign for Warren (or whoever wins the nomination) with everything I have.”

    -Alice Woo in an op-ed published on February 6th.

  10. Wow! Sloppy (if not borderline dangerous) journalism from the misc. Has any of this been fact checked? Never thought Vassar people could be to blame for four more years of Trump.

    • Why did the Misc allow this to be published? Does anyone do any kind of fact-checking or editing? Almost every sentence has some kind of blaring factual error, gross mischaraterization, intentionally misleading bad-faith claims, or a mixture of all of the above. Some of her “points” in this are just asserting her feelings as facts without any kind of data to back then up. Just bizarre. Really slop journalism if you’d even want to call it that. This reflects really poorly on the Misc and whoever is supposed to be proofreading these opinions before publication.

  11. Y’all, I’m angry too. So angry. Angry that in the face of a global pandemic, there is no serious plan for universal healthcare. Angry that my parents worry everyday about college bills and groceries. Angry that friends, family, and lovers are hurt by sexual assault and rape. It’s okay to be angry. To feel sad. Like we’ve lost something; we have. As my therapist kindly reminded me yesterday, the 5 stages of grief can (sometimes) be useful to work through ANY period of loss. In no particular order, they are:
    -denial
    -anger
    -bargaining
    -depression
    -acceptance
    Without trying to be a therapist (I’m not), I feel like a lot of us are in denial right now. That’s totally natural, but we must remember that our actions/posts/comments have consequences.

    I see a lot of Shit-posting about Biden, as if he is not going to be the candidate running against trump come November. I totally get it. For months I’ve been hoping he is not going to be the one, but now it’s time to accept that he is. Accepting his nomination does not equate to accepting sexual violence, wealth disparity, or giving up on any of the other fights we must continue to fight. No. Standing alongside Biden means we are continuing to hold hope, to fight for what’s right, to not give up in our work to make the world better. Now is rough, I get it. But we must keep on keeping on. Realistically speaking, Biden is our only chance at beating trump, and it’s time to rally. Time to come out and vote. To be honest, I am a little worried based on some people’s stories and comments. I understand the anger, and the continuing need to speak out. But I challenge us all to continue fighting for the values that we believe in while thinking realistically about the effects of our words. Our votes, words, and images DO have power, and we can either fight trump or play into his divisive games. Let’s continue focusing on and fighting the fights we care about, while encouraging youth to GET OUT AND VOTE because Biden IS the lesser of two evils. This post is already WAY too long, but I have one more thing to share. At the prompting of my feminist studies class, I’ve been thinking a lot about tearing down binaries recently. Gender, sex, and sexuality binaries, as well as a whole host of other divides. And it’s ironic, but my women’s studies class is, in fact, what pushes me to stand behind Biden. Because while I support Bernie’s policies far more, it’s false to imagine a Bernie/Biden binary. In times of frustration such as these, it is important to remember that Biden and Bernie are not polar opposites. If you support one, it doesn’t mean you can’t vote for the other.
    Thanks, love u all <3 stay safe out there (and stay home!)

  12. I think it’s problematic when journalists report on allegations as fact. It is unknown if Reade’s allegations are true, but Alice Woo seems to be a psychic. “Allegedly” is a wonderful word. Journalists should use it often.

  13. Yeah I find this absurd. I understand the frustration with Biden’s moderate policies, and no he’s not a candidate that inspires mass excitement. But putting those faults on the same level as Donald Trump is misinformed at best and willfully ignorant at worse. I believe in progressive policies, but the way towards them isn’t blackmailing the DNC – it’s working with Democratic establishment and convincing them of what’s best for the country. It’s showing up at general elections en masse as young people so policies begin to be catered to our wants. This kind of protest will only work to prolong destructive policies and make it harder to overcome the structural barriers already in place. I can’t condone sitting out of something this important due to inter party disagreements. The stakes are just too high.

  14. Oh so. I just wanted to add on (though I’m worried I’ll get lost in the sea of comments).

    Two close relatives of mine were very involved in the establishment of the Green Party in the 1990’s. One was the chair of the Green Party in their state in the early 2000’s. The former chair has told me that their involvement was “the worst mistake of my life and makes me more forgiving of other people’s stupid political decisions.” This relative has been forever saddled with the guilt of helping George W. Bush get elected, because Gore “didn’t seem progressive enough”. Alice, you yourself have criticized Bush’s presidency in a previous op-ed. Yet, you are tacitly supporting someone even worse.

    My former Green Party relatives are now Democrats. Because of Bernie’s message, they believe reform is possible within the party. But reform isn’t easy. It takes time. Biden is a compromise who is far from perfect. The other option on the ballot is a fascist.

    The choice should not be difficult.

  15. I can’t fathom why you’d think a strong green party (or any left-wing third party) would at all be helpful for progressives. I mean, you do know how the electoral college works, right? If the left-wing of the country splits significantly between Dems and Greens, you will be guaranteeing Republicans and their corporate conservative interests the presidency for all time. Forget about the swing states, I’m talking about California and New York going red. Maybe you should get off Twitter and read up on the election of 1912 to see how terrible an idea that would be. Even if, somehow, the Greens and Dems split the blue/swing states and no party gets 270 votes, the election goes to the House where each state delegation gets one vote, so the Republican will be guaranteed the presidency every time.

    Also you say that if the Greens get 5%, they will start to appear on ballots. You do know that the green party can and does appear on ballots already, right? They just have to follow the same rules as everyone else to qualify to be on the ballot. Jill Stein was on every ballot in 2016.

    Also very bold of you to assume that the Green Party will suddenly pick up tons of support just because they get 8 million dollars from the federal government (and they also wouldn’t be able to raise *any* other money outside of that 8 million). There’s no indication whatsoever that there is mass public appetite for the Green Party. Anyone with an iota of common Sense knows it’s electoral suicide.

  16. “Many of the states Biden won during the primary (Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, etc.) are dependably red in the general election anyway.”

    Okay, so the assumption in this statement is basically that the only states that should matter in the primary are swing states. Red States (and implicitly blue states) are going to reliably vote for one party so if someone does better there, it doesn’t matter. This thinking is very problematic and shortsighted and clearly wasn’t thought out very well, but I’m going to accept this premise for now and look at the actual primary results instead of just cherry picking the red States that Biden won:

    (This only includes states where Sanders was still in the race for most of voting so WY is left out)

    Sanders won 7 states. 2 were solid blue (CA,VT), 2 were solid red (UT,ND), 3 were swingy (CO, NV, NH).

    Biden won 21 states. 4 were solid blue (WA,MA,ME,IL), 9 were solid red (AK,ID,OK,MO,AL,MS,TN,SC,AR), AND 8 were swingy (TX,AZ,VA,NC,FL,WI,MI,MN).

    And for completion’s sake, Buttigieg won one swingy state (IA).

    So Biden won five more swing states than Bernie. All of them have higher electoral vote tallies too (Bernie’s highest, Colorado has 9 EVs while Biden’s lowest, Wisconsin has 10 EVs). By her own arbitrary standards, Biden still clearly wins but she produces this information so misleadingly and irresponsibly that it implies Biden really only won red states. In reality he won 3x as many states as Bernie and 2.7x as many swing states (with roughly 7.5x as many EVs).

    But there are even bigger problems for Woo’s hot take on red state primaries.

    First off, and most glaringly, there’s not a clear line between red/blue states and swing states. In the above analysis, I erred on the side of inclusivity in deciding what states were potential swing states. There are some that would say that VA,CO,NV, and MN should be counted as blue states while TX and IA should be red. So the distinction between states that are reliably red/blue and those that aren’t is murky. And that’s only if the election is close. If there’s a landslide victory by either party, they could pick up states even thought to be reliably blue/red. Remember, Obama won every swing state AND Indiana in 2008.

    Second, it is terribly insulting to the Democratic voters in red states (and blue states!) to imply that their votes don’t matter and their voices shouldn’t be heard. Woo goes on to complain about disenfranchisement in the 2016 primary (which there is little evidence of, Sanders actually benefitted from contests where turnout was artificially depressed like caucuses), but she reveals her true colors by arguing for the disenfranchisement of wide swaths of the Democratic party. This is especially egregious because the Democratic electorate in the red Southern states that propelled Biden to victory are made up predominantly by Southern blacks, a group that has historically been brutally disenfranchised by racist voting laws, lack of polling places, and domestic terrorism. It is BECAUSE these states go reliably red that black Southern Democrats should be included in the primary proccess–because it’s the only way that their voices are heard represented in presidential politics. Here Alice Woo argues, like the Dixiecrats and conservative Republicans that have ruled the South for centuries, that black people in the South shouldn’t have a say in our democracy just because they don’t agree with her.

    My last point is that even if we can’t win a red state in the presidential race, we need support in red states so we can win back the Senate, something Woo says she is in support of. Everyone knows that the Senate structurally privileges rural states over urban states and thus red states over blue states. We need candidates that energize our party in red states particularly because that helps down-ballot candidates in those states. The voters in South Carolina voted for Biden and gave him a landslide victory, practically bringing his campaign back from the dead and guaranteeing him the nomination. Biden might not win South Carolina, but the fact that he, the candidate South Carolinians chose, is the nominee can only help Jaime Harrison’s bid to unseat Lindsay Graham. On the flip side, if Bernie Sanders, a candidate that the SC electorate has shown no enthusiasm for, was the nominee, Harrison’s campaign would probably be DOA.

    That’s all I have to say about that, but this piece is filled with tons of specious claims that absolutely fall apart under further examination. I hope that people read this critically and am heartened by all the people in the comments pointing out it’s irresponsibility. I hope the author can learn from this criticism and those of others.

  17. “If you are truly willing to “vote blue no matter who,” that means that you are willing to compromise on any number of your values in order to keep a Republican out of office. I shudder at the potential for “compromise” to become a willingness to brush aside significant issues in order to vote for a rapist whose policies have historically been very very bad for Black Americans. That’s privilege.”

    I hold strong progressive values, and I truly believe that preventing a generation long conservative Supreme Court majority will have substantially more drastic implications than any other decision the next president makes, or any ideological repercussions from choosing of Biden. Not a single piece of progressive legislation will be passed in decades to come, and many standing decisions, including Roe v Wade, will be struck down. Voting suppression will become even more rampant than it is today, further restricting the power of the progressive movement.

    I really do understand where you’re coming from, and I thought the exact same way when I was at at Vassar during the 2016 election. But in recent years, I’ve just come to place more value on pragmatism than on ideological and theoretical values. This this type of thinking and these conversations are absolutely necessary and vital to have, and they do shape the direction of political movements. At the same time, reality matters. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of people in this country, predominantly low income and of color, will die as a direct result of the mismanagement of COVID19. If we were currently under a Biden administration, the prevention of life lost and economic hardship compared to Trump would vastly overshadow the difference in outcome between a Biden and Bernie administration.

    What I’m trying to say is that yes, in theory, I agree with many of your points. At the same time, I believe that we have to vote based on reality. If Trump wins another term, it will cause irreparable harm for decades to come, and no number of progressive presidents, representatives, or congresspeople we elect will be able to change that. If Biden wins, we’re still at least in the fight. The progressive movement will work to push him towards better policies, and there is at least some chance that we will succeed.

  18. Disagree with this top to bottom, but good on the editors for not censoring something they probably knew would be controversial.

  19. “I myself question whether President Biden would be that much less of an evil than President Trump.”
    Alice Woo, after almost 3 more months of one of the most disastrous periods in our history , thanks to trump’s callous, incompetent, Covid-denying mismanagement, thousands of US residents have died tragically and unnecessarily.. The above thoughtful comments should also give you plenty of reasons not to throw away your vote, and instead vote for Biden. Remember, elections can have severe consequences, as seen in recent SCOTUS decisions. Should Trump be reelected, hopes for a progressive agenda disappear for decades with his next court appointment! Is that what you hope to achieve?

  20. The difference between a Trump presidency and a Biden presidency is a slight improvement in grammar and sentence structure and possibly some movement on the courts toward more progressive social policies. The list of similarities and policies that will change not at all are too long and too depressing to repeat. The reason we have elections featuring candidates I wouldn’t allow to babysit my children is the downward spiral we’ve endured for my entire lifetime. That is, the “we must defeat the other side at all costs” strategy. A losing strategy. A strategy that has been applied to every election I’ve been eligible to vote in and has not produced a single positive result. Yet there are always hordes of self-righteous voters who will pounce on anyone offering an opinion other that that proven loser strategy. Enough. Vote quietly and keep your fears and your voter shaming to yourselves. Clearly, you do not have the answers.

  21. There are only two people running for president that have any real shot at that job: Trump and Biden. But everyone with a brain knows a vote for Green Party candidates helps Republican candidates because such votes takes away votes from Democrate Candidates. Do a search for Republican Funding of Green Party Candidates and see how many hits you get. In fact, the Green Party of the United States (That’s the name of this Green Party) has worked with Republicans before. ” The End of the Green Party,” by Joshua Frank. When people stopped funding this party because Nader took enough votes that would have otherwise gone to Gore to help Bush win, the Greens went to the Leagure of the South and the Bush White House for help in raising money. In fact, the website of this Green Party even lies about when it started. It’s website tells us that it started in 1984. This is a lie. America’s first Green Party was the Green Committees of Correspondence. In 1991, it changed its name to the Greens/Green Party USA. When this party protested the war in Iraq with its White Paper, “No Blood For Oil” GPUSA was attacked by GPUS. “It’s Not Always Easy Being the Right Shade of Green, by Bruce Kyle of fhe Bango Daily News. In 1996, the Association of State Green Parties was formed. in 2001, it changed its name to the Green Party of the United States. Its first job was to destroy Greens/Green Party USA, which it did. It’s second job since has been to help Republicans win by running candidates to take votes away from Democrat candidates. In fact, in 2008, the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senator for PA. ran with 99 percent Republican money. Democracy Now! of Oct. 25, 2008.
    Still wan to vote for the Green Party?

  22. Wow, some of these comments have NOT aged well. Particularly those referring to children in concentration camps as being a particularly problematic thing of Trump’s presidency, and that most DEFINITELY all got closed when Biden was elected…

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