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Why the Left Must Choose Biden

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/10/14/why-left-must-choose-biden

The fake news is going to carry Joe over the finish line.
But for the architects of the Matrix- that’s not good enough.

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The funny thing is even in this Biden advocacy piece, the author says:

I get it: we must build an alternative political party with real power—a party that rejects all corporate money, that fights for Medicare for All and a Green New Deal and so much more. On November 4, like many other progressives, I will return wholeheartedly to building those essential.

So the Green party rejects corporate money and fights for those things and against war and pretty much is right on all the issues (I happen to diverge from them on nuclear power, but oh well). So what I want to read about from people who are advocating for a third party, but say this time vote for Biden, is just how they think this is going to come about? Because for sure, the arguments to vote Democrat aren’t going away, we will have them in 2024, 2028 and beyond. Even if we get RCV (or I’m gong to advocate for what I will call RCV+Condorcet in a submitted piece at some point) in all the states, but are stuck with the Electoral College, it is still a very tough path to get to a prominent third party who could be have a serious chance at the top spot (Perot was the only one who came close in recent history).

Have people like this author given up on the Greens? Are they going to go all in on MPP? Are they going to try with yet another third party? Without any detail on the third party strategy, the claim to support a third party while voting Biden this time, rings hollow and I feel like it was thrown in there just to get a few more converts. Hey, we are adults here - you can support third party or not, but if you do and you are going to advocate for Biden anyway, you need to give us a lot more detail on the third party strategy.

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I read articles like this, and it seems a reasonable position to take, given the monstrousness of Trump and the GOP fascists. Then when I think I can hold my nose long enough to vote Biden/Harris, the Democrats do or say something that reinforces my resolve to not play LOTE any longer. Case in point, Nancy Pelosi’s recent interview with Wolf Blitzer. Amazingly, Blitzer rose to the occasion and became an actual journalist, and threw the hard ball questions at Nancy as to why she is playing politics with people’s lives and rejecting the compromse stimulus offer presented by the White House. Her stuttering, stammering answer was full of meaningless platitudes, arrogance worthy of Trump, and lies. All proving a huge disconnect from the suffering of ordinary citizens who desperately need stimulus help from the government now, not in February. Ro Khanna and Andrew Yang have called for accepting the compromise stimulus in order to help ordinary Americans now, and when Pelosi responded to Blitzer by sneeringly calling Khanna and Yang “darling”, that did it for me. Bring on the revolution. Let this rotten edifice collapse. We’ll either get a real socialist revolution or fascism. Antoinette Pelosi can hide out in her $12K freezer when the hungry, unemployed mobs come hunting for her in San Francisco. Should be room in there for DINO Feinstein too. Time for the faux Democratic resistance to die along with the oligarchic controlled Duopoly.

Sorry Mr. Cook, I’m not voting for Biden Harris. I will vote down ticket progressive as much as the DNC has allowed, but I will not willingly bring a future President Harris into existence (we all know Biden won’t last a full term, with a projected cabinet that is seeded with Clinton/Obama germs, uh, bureaucrats). The LOTE madness ends now for me with this election.

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During the 1964 campaign LBJ was frequently referred to as “the lesser evil”.

The result of more than a half century of lesser evil politics has made the evils in both parties more and more evil with no end in sight of the magnitude of evil to be thrust upon us.

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We are dealing with two candidates who empower white supremecists and the wealthy, eviscerate the environment, destroy healthcare and protections for workers.

You cannot vote for Biden to sustain “the concrete specifics of how government functions” unless Biden himself has policies that sustain such specifics. The author mentions none because these do not exist. Biden has worked against the poor, against the disenfranchised, against women, and against minorities, against peace, and against democratic process for two generations.

Further, the concrete specifics of how government functions must be altered to include free elections. A free election must include free and open selection of candidates. Regardless of the intent of any individual voter, any vote for Biden empowers the contingent that has blocked free election within the Democratic Party, and one of the two large contingents that work to block it in general elections.

The left cannot choose Biden. Biden is not presented not by choice but by fiat, and not as a choice but as an ultimatum. Biden runs against an opponent whose race to candidacy within the Republican Party this same neoliberal Democratic contingent partly funded in 2015-16 by drawing funds from donations to local Democratic candidates.

Because there is no left left in the selection, there is no selection left to the left–except out of party. And one hopes that both parties will watchdog the other in the general election, though it is small consolation to have two coyotes in the henhouse instead of one.

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It is interesting to teach gardening in the countryside and literature in town and listen to people who will vote Biden only to stop Trump or Trump only to stop Biden.

Eerily, each contingent makes nearly identical arguments.

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And here we go again, with shrill establishment shills (or well-meaning but deluded progressives) proclaiming that this is the most important election of our lifetimes just as they have every four years for decades because the next four years are alleged to be absolutely critical to our very survival.

Hmmm. Were the last four years really that critical, or just a continuation of the downward spiral we have been enjoying since neoliberals grabbed control of the Democratic party over a quarter century ago with some additional spice because we now have Republicans to blame once again rather than reflect on how much the Democratic establishment has contributed to this degradation?

So let’s turn the question around: is another quarter century (at least) of duopoly complicity really what we can’t afford (rather than another four years of Trump), and if so how is returning to the pre-Trump status quo going to change that? How much did electing Obama change things a dozen years ago, for that matter?

If this election is actually projected to be a close one, a hell of a lot of Americans seem to be taking those questions pretty seriously. Perhaps we should as well.

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I distinctly recall exit polling four years ago which found that 1/3 of the people who voted for Trump did so to defeat Clinton and 1/3 of those who voted for Clinton did so to defeat Trump.

IF: you are in a state where Biden has a ghost of a chance of winning, then it makes sense to vote against giving another four years to Trump and his gang. But if you are in a state where, on the night before the election, Trump is still ahead by double digits (think Louisiana or West Virginia, according to current polls), then voting for Biden is throwing your vote away. Not only will your candidate lose, but you will lose the opportunity to let the Democratic Party know that they can’t just keep nominating non-progressives in the hope that they can be elected by default when people reject the Republican non-progressive,

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Charles, I take your points here, though again would counter strongly–this is not anyone’s blind support or obedience, or excitement for DNC. You really honestly think Bernie Sanders is glad to support the party of Wall Street? Really? We all know the duopoly must end. But voting Green now, or not voting at all, doesn’t get us anywhere, and will, in actual real life fact, only assist Trump’s re-election. We must face that reality. The “actual Left” includes AOC, Ro Khanna, Paul Street, Cornel West, etc, etc, all of whom are plugging their noses to vote Biden/Harris, to end Trump, then are all ready to protest and challenge Biden. I urge you to reconsider. Look at my piece, I say very clearly we need a third party on the left. Greens aren’t it. People’s Party, which I’ve covered, might be. But imagine how much harder any of this organizing will be, and how much harder all of life will be, with 4 more years of Trump. I think you know the answer.

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the middle class claiming to represent our people are deadly serious about restoring their beloved table manners.

thus it has always been.

i['ll be impressed if they eventually stumble onto an actual argument besides, “no, really, this election really is super duper different from the last 8 we gave you the same advice for!!”

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Right–and LBJ was BY FAR the lesser evil. We got Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, War on Poverty, and much more in domestic progress under LBJ. Imagine those 4 years w/ Goldwater! I’m not saying we should always accept lesser of evils, and yes, we should absolutely fight for more, build a left third party–but we can’t ignore the concrete realities that will be significantly better or worse b/t Biden and Trump. Less evil is not enough–but it’s the only choice in this election, and it’s vitally important. Imagine four more years of Trump. Then vote like lives depend on it, because they do.

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Thanks for posting this. As a lifelong progressive and strong Bernie supporter, I’ve been dismayed by many of my fellow leftists’ failure to recognize the danger Trump poses to our planet and its most vulnerable people and wildlife. Denying Trump a second term is a crucial first step toward economic, social, racial and environmental justice. The progressive movement is strong and we can influence a Biden administration. Trump would just continue the corruption and descent into fascism

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Hi, well in fact, Biden and the Democrats DO have a platform and policies that sustain those specifics. It’s not our dream platform, and it won’t all come to pass given politics–but have you taken a minute to skim their platform? It’s not bad, and it’s infinitely better than what Trump is doing. To be very concrete: we’re talking about expanding the ACA, a possible public option–versus dismantling healthcare access completely; far greater EPA enforcement, or far less; more protections for workers and unions, or less; some climate action, or none at all. How can you say those are not real concrete actionable differences?

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What’s funny is on climate, Trump is actually moving us in the opposite direction of someone who cares about it. The guy is dismantling air quality standards in real-time and subverting California’s vehicle mileage requirements. He’s putting together a Court that will make it harder to put those things back into place too. We could stop some of this stuff with a new president, but oh well.

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A minute? It’s a pretty big platform (90 pages, ~https://www.demconvention.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/2020-07-31-Democratic-Party-Platform-For-Distribution.pdf). I have looked a bit at the Vox article summarizing it (~https://www.vox.com/2020/8/18/21322685/democratic-convention-platform-controversy) and understand that Biden is under no obligation to do anything in that platform. I haven’t heard him make any promises on the platform - supposedly he wants $15/hr min wage by 2026 (why 5 years I don’t know). He has gone out on a limb on a few things he is emphatic won’t happen and if they do, I’m sure his credibility will take a hit and he likely won’t do it: 1) raise taxes on a family making less than $400k/yr, 2) ban fracking. So he’s told us what he won’t do over and over again, but I really don’t hear him campaigning for much, in the platform or not, so I’m not sure why I’d think he’s going to give it any weight were he to become president. Many past presidents blew it off is my understanding.

Note: speaking of past presidents, I’m going to note a change in heart I’ve had about Jimmy Carter who I think was terrible on foreign policy w.r.t. Afghanistan and not so great south of our border either, but I gave him some high marks for being one of the more honest presidents. However, he was a huge jackass in 1980 which I had forgotten in terms of refusing to debate John Anderson in the presidential debate - the league of woman voters actually held a debate without him (I was 18, so I really should have remembered this). (The second debate for some reason had Carter and excluded Anderson, maybe he had to hit a certain polling number by then). To not show up for a debate with a significant third party entry is the most childish thing I know of that Carter did - what a baby. It reduces the respect I have for him now on election monitoring. I wonder if he has ever expressed regret.

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True, it’s not binding. But it’s simply false and misleading to insist that there’s no difference, or that the differences don’t matter, or that there aren’t concrete real policies. Look what Trump is doing, decimating environmental and worker protections on the daily. Zero climate action, in fact, reversing prior progress. I agree Biden is limited and problematic–but he has policies that will make a real difference. We can’t ignore that. I’ve covered these issues for decades as a journalist. The differences aren’t as vast and fundamental as they should be, yet they are very real and they matter. Either we’ll expand healthcare access, or keep radically diminishing it; some progress on increasing minimum wage, or none at all; some climate action, or zero; expanded renewable energy and organics, or just more fossil fuels. Is Biden’s platform or politics good enough? No. But it’s far, far better than Trump’s, and we can push and protest and pressure him for more. We can’t survive another four years of Trump.

Amen.

When Biden was shoved on us, we were told that only Biden could beat Trump, and that Biden didn’t need our votes.

As expected, they are singing a different song now. But not even offering the slightest false compromise.

What we need right now is for the Green Party to get enough votes to have some power.

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It’s amazing how similar the argument are. You just have to switch all reference from Biden to Trump, and Trump to Biden. Nothing else needs to change, and it sounds like a very ordinary argument from the other side.

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