14 September 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.

[Re-posted from May since the election is now close]


Blogger Lady M said...

There are so many other reasons to put Biden in office. I believe that we will have a functioning government again because Biden will surround himself with smart people who know how to do their jobs and who follow the rule of law. The Trump government has been a clown car from the start. Also, we need new tougher legislation to make all thing Trump has done illegal - the nepotism, the failure to disengage from his private interests, the government spending at his resorts that goes straight to his coffers, the foreign election interference, independent government bodies that do not have to kowtow to the president etc. Finally, I will vote for Biden because he will be better for the environment and climate change should be our number 1 priority. If the summer of fire didn't convince people I don't know what will. The arctic is melting. We need action now.

14 September, 2020 12:38  
Blogger Ami said...

Thanks for this.
I'm one of the people who fervently wishes for a viable third party.
So, so, so sick of the shitbags, our inadequate representation and the corruption and filth.
I don't like Biden for many reasons, which don't matter at this point.
I don't believe he's the best choice for president... except compared to the asshole that's currently in the office... then Biden starts to look like Jesus.

So I passed the link to this post to a couple close friends and family who all think voting third party is THE answer.

And I'll vote for Joe.

14 September, 2020 13:06  
Blogger bluzdude said...

It was right in May and it's right now. You should probably run it again at the end of October.

This is a binary choice, pool or pond, amiable centrist or dangerous authoritarian dictator-to-be.

14 September, 2020 14:18  
Anonymous SmileIfYouDare said...

I'm with you Mr Infidel.

You may be interested in my take on the Purpose of Politics.

14 September, 2020 14:35  
Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Thank you.


14 September, 2020 14:37  
Blogger Annie Asks You said...

I think this post is so sensible and persuasive that it will help more people like Ami (above) see the light. I’m hoping that reposting it on my blog will further enlarge this newly enlightened group. To me, the most important passage is the one in which you itemize the people who will be harmed by the third party voter or non-voter. And, of course, our democracy itself is on the ballot—as well as, we are seeing quite graphically, the sustainability of our planet.

14 September, 2020 15:51  
Blogger Jack said...

Making the choice to vote for Biden is easy. The difficult choice I have ahead is whether casting a vote for Biden in a state that will overwhelmingly go to Trump is worth exposing myself to COVID-19. I live in a state that will not allow me to vote by mail and where few people wear masks or take other precautions in public. Based on having multiple risk factors to have an especially bad time with it if I get it, I have been very careful. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do.

14 September, 2020 16:09  
Blogger Mike said...

Amen :)
I think I'll use this for a post tomorrow, also. And on FB. We'll get some hits for you.

Jack Vance - Get an n95 mask, a face shield, and googles. That's what my dermatologist was wearing when I was at her office the other day.

14 September, 2020 17:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This November, one of two things will happen. Either Biden will be elected president, or Trump will be re-elected. [. . .] It's going to be one of those two."

Make it a Democratic victory or a Republican victory. At their ages and health, there's a reasonable chance that at least one of the two will be ex-humans by the time November comes around.

PS. Sorry about the fires. Hope you make it through. I'd be wishing for a cooler place. Is your brain pining for the fjords?

14 September, 2020 21:29  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Lady M: Oh, I agree. Biden's my kind of Democrat -- he'll support gay rights, abortion, science, restoration of law and order, separation of church and state, expanding the social safety net, and so on, without saying a bunch of wild-sounding stuff that will scare those suburban housewives into re-electing Trump. But this post is aimed at those on the left who don't like him.

Ami: Thanks for sharing the link. It's just inherent in the nature of politics that one has to choose from among candidates acceptable to broad masses of people -- who are therefore likely to be unsatisfactory from one's own viewpoint.

Bluzdude: Thanks. Three times might be overkill, but I do want to get this out there.

Smile: Thanks for the link. However, I disagree with your conclusion. The policies actually implemented by the two parties when they are in power are hugely different, so it's not just a matter of allocating rewards to a group of "core members". As for "obstructing our view of reality", Republicans do do this (and some Democrats do to a far lesser extent), but it's certainly not their primary purpose -- it's just one of several tactics to get voters to support their policies.

Sixpence: Thanks.

15 September, 2020 01:09  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Annie: Thanks for re-posting this -- I'm sure your blog reaches a lot of people mine doesn't. I feel very strongly about all those ordinary people who could be harmed if Trump and the Republicans aren't voted out -- I could be one of them, if Social Security is wrecked. And I shudder to think what could happen here in the next four fire seasons if Trump is still in charge.

Jack: With respect to physical safety, obviously that's a decision only you can make. I understand that.

Mike: Thanks for spreading it around!

Anon: I'm not too worried about Biden for just seven weeks -- he seems to be in pretty good shape. But in a broader sense it does need to be a party victory. Biden won't be able to get much done unless we win the Senate (and get rid of the filibuster).

Pining for the fjords? Missing the rains down in England, more like.

15 September, 2020 01:19  
Blogger Dave Dubya said...

A Green voter warned me, “Biden will give us a far worse fascist than Trump in 4-8 years”.

I responded, If Trump is given a pass by voters, HE will become a far worse fascist. And the gate will still be wide open for the next one. Like WWII, this long war on fascism requires reluctant and difficult choices, like corporatist or fascist. Our Hitler must not be made chancellor/fuhrer.

15 September, 2020 06:17  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

"Biden will give us a far worse fascist than Trump in 4-8 years"

I can't imagine any basis for saying such a thing. It's like saying if Biden is elected the following president will be a hammer-headed shark. It makes no sense. And as you say, we've already that Trump has fascist aspirations and that the Republicans in office will never rein him in.

15 September, 2020 06:43  
Blogger The New York Crank said...

Fabulous post! Parts of it ought to be part of Biden's closing statement in the first debate, if there ever is a debate. My Facebook feed, which for some crazy reason thinks I'm a Republican, keeps sending me surveys asking whether I think Trump should debate Biden or not.\Why do I think this is a warmup for Trump declaring he's too busy to waste his time on Biden?

In which case, I'd settle for Biden just incorporating most of the stuff you've laid out in a speech.

Yours crankily,
The New York Post.

15 September, 2020 20:07  
Blogger Victor said...

I thought I had read this before, and lo and behold, I did!

Regaedless, "PREACH," brother Indfadel!!!!!!

15 September, 2020 20:25  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Crank: Thanks! Well, I hope Biden will at least use similar rhetoric and ideas. He's been talking tougher lately. Trump has a way of provoking that.

Victor: Oh, I'll never stop preaching, in my own way.....

16 September, 2020 03:45  
Blogger Paul W said...

I see the earlier posting quoting someone that argued Biden would be a worse Fascist in 4-8 years if Biden wins. Which, if I can argue for a minute here, is a terrible misreading of Biden's actual Character.

(Yes, this is me pitching Professor Barber's work on Presidential Character again)

Everything about Biden - his world-view of bipartisanship as a positive, his personal charm, his self-deprecation and willingness to please - points to a Passive-Positive Character that would avoid the self-harm and absolutism that leads to Fascism (trump as Active-Negative is following in the authoritarian footsteps of Jackson, LBJ, and Nixon).

If I read the criticisms against Biden coming from the Far Left, it's that he will be too bipartisan and compromising figure to ever bring about the Utopian dreams of a democratic socialist America. But that ignores the *need* we have right now to end the corrupting and destructive efforts being done on trump's (and his fellow Republicans') orders. And it ignores the *possibilities* that the Progressive Far Left can achieve more under an open and accessible Biden Administration: He will practice a Big Tent agenda to draw in as much Democratic and Moderate support as able, and much of his Cabinet and counsel will be a mix of Progressives and Centrists (so the Progressives need to fight for the seats they *need*). The Far Left will have more opportunities than under an Active-Positive administration like Obama's (who was still Adaptive but more focused on his own Moderate agendas to give Progressives more achievements).

Sorry if I took up too much space here. In short: BIDEN CAN BE - no guarantees - GOOD FOR PROGRESSIVES IN THE RIGHT ENVIRONS.
(which means flipping the Senate and Democratic control of all Congress as well, SO GET THE BLOODY VOTE OUT #BlueWave2020 )

16 September, 2020 09:01  
Blogger dinthebeast said...

How reassuringly sane. I hope that doesn't attenuate the reach of your excellent piece of writing.

-Doug in Sugar Pine

18 September, 2020 14:43  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Paul: I think they meant Biden would cause a fascist to be elected after his term, not that he would become one. Why anybody would say that, I can't imagine. In any case, unified Democratic control of the federal government would enable us to squelch all the gerrymandering and vote suppression once and for all, meaning elections would really become fair and the Republican party would become non-viable nationally unless it moved back toward the center. That's the best inoculation against fascism in the future.

Doug: Thanks! So far it seem to be doing OK. Some other bloggers have been spreading it around.

18 September, 2020 16:10  
Blogger Richard said...

The Green Party and the rest of them are not helpful at this time. We have a common enemy. If you want to help these occupiers, by all means vote Green. You might as well vote for Trump. If we survive, we will talk with you. At times like our time we make conversations because one thing we all agree on.
We can't be doing another 4 years of these monsters destroying our country. Now is the time for all you Green Party,Libertarian Party,Ayn Rand 22 year old intellectuals and the rest of you lot to help us.
We can't do anything while these trump rulers are here. Yet you say "oh im just gonna vote Green " because it doesn't matter anyway. Fuck you. If you are not going to help us,you might as well be DJ Trump himself. I hope yall are proud of yourseves.

18 September, 2020 17:16  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I think the number of third-party voters will be smaller than ever this time -- but there's always an irreducible hard core of oblivious narcissists.

19 September, 2020 02:46  
Anonymous nothere said...

I'm voting for Harris. Joe's welcome to come along for the ride.

19 September, 2020 15:52  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Grateful for the vote, for whatever reason.

20 September, 2020 01:30  

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