Last week Medhi Hasan of the Intercept interviewed the famous dissident Noam Chomsky in which he proclaimed that not voting for Joe Biden is a vote for “the destruction of organized human life on earth, for the increased threat of nuclear war, and stuffing the judiciary with young lawyers who will make it impossible to do anything for a generation”.
The fear couched within this statement may certainly be influential enough to swing an independent voter to cast their ballot for Joe Biden, but what about those voters who’ve been directly affected by the polices Biden has either championed or had a hand in writing? What do you say to the voter whose family member will never see the outside of a prison because their third offense was stealing a pair of socks? Or what if your job was part of the 1 million that was lost within the first 10 years of NAFTA being enacted? A trade agreement that Biden championed and declared “wasn’t a mistake”. Asking these people to vote for Joe Biden undermines their lives and material realities in order to remove the menace that is Donald Trump, who is a repudiation of class civility. The obsession with removing Trump while not diagnosing the conditions that gave us Trump has resulted in #VoteBlueNoMatterWho. It doesn’t matter if Joe Biden is a serial liar, an accused sexual assaulter, and possibly in severe cognitive decline because we have to remove Trump. If we don’t fall in line, we are admonished and branded as morally compromised and directly responsible for Trump claiming a second term.
The responsibility of a possible second term for Donald Trump lies directly with the mainstream media and the Democratic Party who have propped up an empty husk of a candidate that speaks in platitudes of restoring empathy and values while doing nothing to improve the material reality in people’s lives. Biden himself even claims that “nothing will fundamentally change” with his administration. This is the result of a systemically corrupt political system where we have to vote for the lesser of two evils, but still, have to vote for evil. We are stuck with this option because the Democratic Party would rather lose to Trump than provide any real change in people’s lives such as Medicare for All, free public college, cancellation of student debt, and national rent control—all policies advocated by Bernie Sanders. We are told that getting rid of Trump is more important than being able to afford healthcare if you have an underlying health condition, or if your family was one of the millions that got thrown out of their home because Obama and Biden left main street out to dry after the 2008 crash. It is no wonder why nonvoters are disillusioned by the current political landscape and believe nothing will fundamentally change by voting for the lesser of two evils.
Trump is not an aberration, he is a symptom of neoliberal policy that sold out working-class constituents and is responsible for the stagnation of wages and jobs that have been shipped overseas for the past 40 years. This perpetual cycle of failed politics is due to the fact that every 2 years we are forced to vote for one of the two faces that serve one corporate party. The Democrats have effectively held progressive voter’s hostage by taking the moral high ground while offering no real benefit besides feel-good rhetoric. Since there is no other option besides a stumbling candidate that can’t even make it through an interview, voters are left demoralized and unenthused. The continuation of these pernicious neoliberal policies will only lead to more disenfranchised people further exasperating the voter pool and worsening the problem.
The only way to shift the political landscape aside from organizing outside labor is to abstain from voting for the current power structure. This is a game of power, and our collective voter power can still remove those pulling the strings. While Chomsky goes on about the potential horrors of not voting for Biden, a counter-argument would be that not voting for Biden prevents the atrocities currently ongoing. Not voting for Biden is a vote for 68,000 lives that will be lost every year because Biden would veto Medicare for All. Not voting for Biden is a vote to save the lives of people threatened by U.S. imperialism. Not voting for Biden is a vote that rejects the proposed legitimacy of the primary which suffered from voter suppression, incompetence, and a global pandemic. Not voting for Biden is a way to remove the power structure that forces us to uphold it. Breaking the Democratic Party’s power is the only real way to ensure we get the justice we deserve. Democrats will have to recognize that they need to win voter approval and that it is not just handed to them because the opposition is too terrible. Many people have experienced the horrors of contemporary neoliberal policies, the belief that things aren’t already horrible is a privilege. It is now time to use that voter privilege and break this power structure. We will not be complicit with social and racial injustices, the perpetuation of wealth inequality, and domestic murder by a militarized police force and murder overseas from US sanctions and imperialism, which is the only thing the current Democratic Party and Republican parties offer right now.