05 May 2020

The choice

This November, one of two things will happen.  Either Biden will be elected president, or Trump will be re-elected.  Many people fervently believe there should be some third option.  There isn't.  It's going to be one of those two.

This post is addressed to those who, for whatever reason, don't like Biden.  Maybe you consider him too centrist or too old or too old-fashioned or "Republican-lite" or whatever.  Maybe you think the Tara Reade accusation has credibility (though there are good reasons to believe otherwise).  Maybe you think the process by which millions of rank-and-file Democrats chose the nominee (from among a remarkably large and varied group of candidates) was tainted in some way.  Maybe you hold that your vote has to be earned and Biden hasn't done this or that thing that qualifies him as having done so.

None of that is a good enough reason to let Trump be re-elected.

None of that is a good enough reason to let him saddle the whole country with a 7-2 majority of reactionaries and theocrats on the Supreme Court for decades to come.

None of that is a good enough reason to risk four more years of migrant family separation and kids in cages, or of rhetoric which blatantly scapegoats Latinos, Muslims, and whatever other minority makes a convenient target.

None of that is a good enough reason to leave this vicious and hateful man in a position where he could block laws to help the unemployed and the uninsured, laws to end gerrymandering and vote suppression, laws to protect gay equality and the right to abortion nationally, that a Democratic House and Senate might pass.

None of that is a good enough reason to tolerate four more years of the massive and flagrant banana-republic corruption we've seen.

None of that is a good enough reason to risk four more years of budget-wrecking giant tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, and efforts to sabotage Social Security, the Postal Service, and the Devil knows what else.

None of that is a good enough reason to facilitate four more years of bungling the response to covid-19 (yes, it will still be around long after January 2021).

None of that is a good enough reason to accept four more years of posturing brats like Kushner, malignancies like Barr, and the rest of Trump's crew of grifting toadies, keeping their hands on various levers of power.

None of that is a good enough reason to submit to four more years of undermining the separation of church and state.

None of that is a good enough reason to allow four more years of trashing our country's relationships with other democracies, and enabling and legitimizing murderous gangster regimes around the planet.

None of that is a good enough reason to risk four more years of the federal government actively sabotaging all efforts to fight climate change.

Perhaps you want to vote third party to "send a message" of some sort.  But look at history.  Nobody knows or cares what "message" Nader voters in 2000 or Stein voters in 2016 thought they were sending.  What mattered was who became president.  Do you think you'll be punishing Biden or the DNC by withholding your vote?  They won't suffer if Trump is re-elected.  It's the kids in cages, the unemployed and uninsured, the gay people and minorities, the countless additional people who will lose their lives or health to covid-19 -- they're the ones who will suffer.

Or maybe you think your vote isn't needed because Biden's victory is inevitable or you don't live in a swing state.  Yes, Hillary's victory was also "inevitable" in 2016, and look how that worked out.  And even if you live in a safe state for one candidate or the other, the popular vote matters, psychologically even if not legally.  If Trump loses, the wingnut noise machine will immediately go into overdrive attacking the legitimacy of the result.  The bigger the popular-vote margin, the less effective their sabotage will be upon the mass public mind.  The bigger the popular-vote margin, the more clearly our country will be seen by the rest of the world to repudiate the contemptible cruelty and madness of the last four years.

And it's not only the presidency.  We need to win it, yes, but we need to hold the House and win the Senate as well.  Leaving any one of those three under the Republicans' control would enable them to block almost all progress on expanding health coverage, protecting the right to vote, restoring abortion rights, saving the climate, or anything else.  And again, in the real world, the only way to end Republican control of those institutions is to achieve Democratic control.  There's no third option.

It's not only about Biden or the Democratic party.  It's about saving the country.


Blogger Mike said...

Well said.

05 May, 2020 18:19  
Blogger The New York Crank said...

Hear hear! Please re-run this early the first week in November.

Yours crankily,
The New York Crank

05 May, 2020 19:13  
Blogger Lady M said...

Totally - I have seen these third party comments and it makes me ill - there is no third option. And if the third option folks think Hillary could have done anywhere near the damage Trump has in four years, they were mistaken. If they think Biden can do anymore damage than Trump will do in the next four years they are also mistaken. The Democrat will at least surround themselves with brains and will listen. That is far more then we can say for Trump.

05 May, 2020 20:11  
Blogger Victor said...

As no Agnostic or Atheist ever said, but I believe it's appropriate anyway:


*This word DOES work in a Marx/Engels context, I think.

05 May, 2020 20:45  
Blogger Jack said...

If there is an election in November and I feel safe enough to vote in person at that time (which sadly is the only option here), I will vote for Biden because he is the better of the two options. Unfortunately, the state where I live will go heavily for Trump again no matter what I do. That means I will have to weigh the benefit of what amounts to a symbolic vote against the risk of contagion.

06 May, 2020 04:31  
Blogger bluzdude said...

Yes, it's definitely a binary situation, vote for Biden or let Trump continue the clown show for another 4 years. But the real truth here comes at the end. Unless we flip the Senate, Biden's hands are tied (to whatever he can do with executive orders.) We know now that Mitch McConnell will gladly stonewall every single bill for 4 years, or even 8 years if it means keeping the status quo for the big money benefactors. And forget adding any more judges.

Mitch will block things up like a triple-decker cheese sandwich on cork.

06 May, 2020 05:06  
Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Absolutely agree with you.
I don't understand why Dems have so many purity tests and why Repugs really don't have any. Or scruples.


06 May, 2020 05:06  
Blogger Mary said...

Perfectly said. But as we know, stupidity flourishes and not always on the right.

06 May, 2020 05:12  
Anonymous Annie said...

I wish your post could appear everywhere in the US. It covers just about every issue I believe is at stake in this election—probably the most important election since the Civil War. I would stress that judicial appointments beyond the Supreme Court also need focus: McConnell is rapidly adding unqualified right wing judges who threaten to overturn forty years of gains toward greater equality. I hope everyone has seen The Lincoln Project’s ad “Mourning in America.” These current and former Republicans graphically demonstrate that if Trump is re-elected, there could be no America.

06 May, 2020 07:29  
Blogger Dave Dubya said...

We have lived in a house divided, that is in need of repair.

Now it is on fire.

Third party voters want to call a carpenter instead of the fire department.

A Green vote is Trump's second favorite vote.

Someday someone may ask them what they did to stop Trump. Their answer will be, "Nothing. I wanted to punish the Democrats".

So does Trump, and that makes them his allies and enablers.

How will they live with that?

06 May, 2020 09:46  
Anonymous Velociraptor said...

Dave Dubya,

Normally, Third-Party voters will live quite well. Their choices normally smack of the worst kind of privilege as many of them have not been materially effected by Trump at all (apart from their hurt feelings).

That said, Not voting (or voting third party), when they know what Trump is, and how existentially dangerous he is, regardless of how you feel about Biden, is an act of monumental selfishness, immaturity and cowardice worthy of Trump himself.

06 May, 2020 10:17  
Blogger jenny_o said...

Well said. I wish I could vote there. So many of us north of the border are watching and waiting, hoping that decency and humanity prevail. It's becoming a bit scary here as well; some on the right are starting to emulate Trump. We've seen what happens with that. Shame on us if we let it happen here.

06 May, 2020 11:23  
Blogger W. Hackwhacker said...

First of all, "BOOM!" Second, I agree with others that you should run this again often between now and November, and I'd be happy to re- post it as well (with your blessing).

06 May, 2020 14:50  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Mike: Thanks.

Crank: I probably will.

Lady M: We'd be in a whole different situation now if the will of the voters had prevailed and Hillary was president.

Victor: Oh, I'm going to keep "preaching" this.

Jack: The safety issue is one on which each person must make their own decision. But remember, this isn't like taking a risk to go shopping or visit the park. There are very serious matters at stake here. Taking the risk to go and vote is more like putting oneself at risk while fighting in a war -- something soldiers routinely do even if they know their individual contribution won't have a major effect on the outcome of the war.

As I've said before, to Blue America the Trump regime is like a foreign occupation. Voting could be considered a form of resistance activity. And that can be dangerous.

I'm lucky to live in a state with vote-by-mail, and we need to make sure everybody has that option. But if I didn't, that's the calculation I'd be making.

Bluzdude: Yes, I always emphasize that. Our system makes it hard to get things done and easy to obstruct.

Sixpence: I think it's only a minority of Dems that do. Unfortunately a small minority in a few states could stick the rest of us with another four years of this nightmare.

07 May, 2020 01:30  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Mary: Too true. The "I'll let Trump win because the Democrat isn't good enough" types may technically not be on the right, but in terms of practical effects, they might as well be.

Annie: That's a good point. With full control of the government we could enlarge the Supreme Court and undo the effects of Trump and McConnell, but I don't know what can be done about the wingnutization of lower courts.

Dave: Exactly. This is an emergency. Protest votes will become OK when we no longer have a horde of malignant lunatics as one of our two major parties.

Velociraptor: Yes, I think very few of the people in most danger from Trump will be voting third party.

Jenny_o: I wish you could vote here too.

Hackwhacker: Re-posting is fine, just so long as you include a link back to my blog. Thanks!

07 May, 2020 01:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not voting for Biden

I'm in my sixth decade, I voted the straight Democratic ticket in every election save one since 1972

And for my troubles I got Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Obama - the destruction of at least four nations, millions of civilians and children dead, a torturer heading the CIA, Guantanamo still open, the apartheid Jewish state murdering thousands of Christian and Muslim children and the US supporting almost every dictatorship in the world.

All the Democrats have to do to get my vote is nominate a human being.

Unfortunately, my revulsion for America has reached the point that I'd rather see it destroyed than continue as it has.

07 May, 2020 07:56  
Blogger Annie Asks You said...

I’d like to repost too, with attribution and link to your blog, of course. But I want to wait til late September/early October. I won’t have trouble accessing the post then, will I?

07 May, 2020 07:58  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Annie: That's fine, thanks. There won't be any difficulty viewing the post. I practically never delete posts and I'm sure I won't do anything to this one.

07 May, 2020 08:56  
Blogger Annie Asks You said...

Great! It’s a super post.
And thanks for your mentions, which bring many new folks to my blog.

07 May, 2020 13:30  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Wesley: Well, if you want to destroy America and inflict misery on a couple hundred million innocent people who live here, helping Trump stay in power is certainly the right way to do it. Somebody here is indeed failing to be a real human being, and it ain't Biden.

07 May, 2020 15:50  
Blogger Martha said...

We'll be holding our breath up here in Canada. Hopefully Trump is gone in November. Fingers, toes and eyeballs crossed! :)

07 May, 2020 16:03  
Blogger Unknown said...

I told my sister in 2016, after the election, that if we were lucky we would just be hurt financially by trump's election. We have not been lucky. We seem to be stuck in one of the multiverses that has a very dismaying timeline. I'll vote for Biden, as I have voted for every democrat since 1980. But I feel like the rate of bizarre change since 2016 has been like Terrence McKenna's description of the theory of novelty. It escalates at an ever increasing rate. God only knows where things will be in November but I am exceptionally pessimistic about a positive outcome. Republicans seem unreasonably confident in the 2020 elections and that is disconcerting. Anyway, your post was spot on and lets hope for an awakening by those states that will sway the electoral college. Keep up the good work.

09 May, 2020 15:30  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Martha: I imagine a lot of people around the world will be watching anxiously. Sorry we've inflicted this on everyone.

Unknown: Thanks! As to the Republicans, I'm seeing plenty of stories about them being pessimistic (in Georgia, for example). They will still have gerrymandering and vote suppression and other tricks, of course. We just need to work all the harder to overcome it.

09 May, 2020 17:42  

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