Ooooooooookay. So. A couple of the more recent pieces I wrote for BGIM were about Joe Biden. Most people were very receptive, but the pushback I did get mostly took this form:
“If it comes down to Biden or Trump, I’m voting for Biden!”
There are a lot of problems with this idea. The first is that it obviously disregards all of the information in those pieces, buuuuuuut the second is that it disregards everyone else, too! That is to say, while you may have resigned to voting for Biden, other people on your side will never vote for him and you will not convince them otherwise and you cannot win without them.
In case you didn’t know, 4.4 million Obama voters stayed home for Hilary. Those aren’t the racists who switched over for Trump. They’re also not the principal-only voters who went for a third party candidate. No, these 4.4 million people just stayed home. Why? Because people vote for whoever they feel represents their interests and to them Hilary didn’t feel like Obama.
This gets tricky because, while it’s easy to make republicans feel represented (be rich, misogynist or racist) it’s much harder for democrats. They have to make everyone else feel represented. Joe Biden does not do that. He actually does the opposite. I mean, this fool scoffs at the very idea that the younger generation (his biggest voting bloc) could even have any problems whatsoever.
The 2018 midterm elections brought the biggest representative change this country has ever seen. The diversity of gender, ethnicity and religion in newly elected officials was unprecedented. The lesson from this is that the more communities the democrats embrace, the greater chance they have of being elected. The opposite of this is to uncritically and prematurely succumb to a candidate because they appear to be the only eventual option.
Joe Biden is not the only option yet and if we get to the point where he is the democrats will have already lost. And I’m not just talking about morally. I mean, I am also talking about a moral loss in which the electorate of the country moves collectively further to the right because somehow they think that will stop the country as a whole from moving further to the right, but that’s not all I’m talking about. I’m also talking about a literal loss in which Trump gets another four years because the voters who were inspired during the midterms are left feeling neglected yet again by yet another candidate who openly excludes them.
All too often we think of unity as the sole responsibility of the marginalized and oppressed. We seem to believe it is entirely up to them to sacrifice their wants and needs in order to support leaders who are only interested in continuing to overlook them. But that is not how you achieve unity. That is how you keep people marginalized and oppressed. The only path to unity is to address the wants and needs of the people.
Honestly, and I hate that I’m saying this, but it’s a lesson the democrats could learn from the republicans. For instance, republicans want and need this country to be whites only. I’ve said this before, but for five years before he was even elected, Trump got in front of every camera he could find and pointed at the brown-skinned president and said that he didn’t belong where he was because he supposedly wasn’t from here. Then he ran a campaign promising to keep the brown-skinned people from the Middle East and the brown-skinned people at the southern border out of this country. Since entering office he has succeeded in keeping the brown-skinned people from the Middle East out and has created concentration camps for and stolen the children from brown-skinned people at the southern border. The result is that the republican politicians have all fallen in line, even the ones who have only ever publicly hated him. And as far as his supporters go, you can hear story after story of their continued devotion to him despite their own admitted suffering at his hands. That’s unity. It’s terrible and horrifying and more or less the exact same path taken by every dictator whoever incited the destruction of their own country or oversaw a genocide, but it is unity.
Yes, unity is easy for republicans. Their side doesn’t want or need anything too far out of the traditions of this country. For democrats, however, unity is going to take a lot of hard, internal work. That work is the only path forward and we’ll know whether it got done or not if it comes down to Biden or Trump.
Anyway, here: have a laugh.
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Photo of Joe Biden from 2013; official White House portrait (public domain)