Why I’m Voting for Biden

A few weeks ago, I wrote about “The Case for Bernie”, but a lot has changed since then, especially Sanders inability to grow his coalition.

Before I get any further, I want to say that I’m really trying to back off the politics talk since A) there’s already enough punditry in the world; and B) I doubt anyone cares. But if you’re like me and your preferred candidate (in my case, Elizabeth Warren) dropped out and now you’re stuck deciding between two 78-year-old white guys who are both flawed candidates, then maybe I can offer a bit of guidance.

To start, I think Sanders’ agenda is more in line with what I want in terms of big reforms, although I doubt his ability to work the executive branch to achieve such reforms (they’ll never get through congress because they’ll die in the Senate). I also think he knows how to stay on message whereas Biden clearly has trouble putting a sentence together these days. Furthermore, Biden needs to quickly come out with some kind of positive message, whether it’s expanding Medicare or something that makes people excited to vote for him rather than just being anti-Trump because I worry that won’t be enough. The Burisma fake-scandal doesn’t concern me because some BS scandal was going to be used against whomever was the Democratic nominee and the media’s going to go along with it because they need the candidates to appear equally bad because that means “objectivity” somehow.

So why Biden? To be clear, we’re not exactly sure how Biden will govern. We don’t know what the makeup of congress will be, and it’s possible he’s ineffective or in the pocket of big banks. He’s not the revolutionary that Sanders is, but here’s the thing: we’ve been through Super Tuesday now and Democratic voters are saying they don’t want Sanders’ plan. Chalk it up however you like, but at some point you need to listen to voters who will be voting in the general and if they’re not turning out for Sanders now, there’s a danger of them staying home in November.

My issue with Sanders now that I didn’t have a few weeks ago is that his coalition hasn’t materialized. Sanders knew he was going to run again in four years. He’s been actively running for over a year now. And in all that time, he made no inroads with black voters and his promise of increased turnout and the youth vote hasn’t materialized. It doesn’t matter how many obnoxious fans you have on Twitter; tweets aren’t enough (if anyone knows this, it’s me, someone who tweets about politics way too much). We’ve become too accustomed to thinking that governance is the “big ideas” and while enthusiasm matters, so does the unglamorous work of coalition building.

If your political identity is liberal, you owe it to yourself to be a good ally and hear what black voters are telling you. Black voters are the backbone of the Democratic Party. Even when they’re in states that will go red in November (the South is bad, what do you want from me), they’re the ones doing the hard work of campaigning, fundraising, working the phones, and making the apparatus run. You literally cannot win a Presidential election without them. If they weren’t important, Republicans wouldn’t go to great lengths to disenfranchise them at every turn. And black voters are telling us that they want Biden. They see Biden as the best chance to stop the danger of Trump, and we should listen to them. If you have beef with Biden, I guarantee you it will keep until after he’s elected. If he gets elected President, you can criticize him all damn day. I’ll probably even join you.

But for now, the spine of the party is telling you that they want Biden, and we owe it to them to listen and to follow their lead.

Friday, March 6th, 2020 politics

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