Whenever you see social media comment threads of users promoting third-party presidential candidates, most notably the tickets for the Socialist Party and Green Party—Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker—you’ll often get the usual vote-shaming slander from hardline Democrats. Things like, “Trump thanks you for your vote,” “Putin loves you,” and variations of “wasted vote” are just a few statements designed by liberals to guilt-trip independent left voters into once again supporting the capitalist oligarchy, ensuring nothing changes.
However, unlike the 2016 election, in which the Stein-Baraka Green Party ticket was blamed for pulling votes from Hillary Clinton, liberals have devised an all-new tactic to desperately obtain the left vote: “Vote for Biden and pressure him to move left once he’s in office,” as opposed to doing it while he’s running.
Rather than convince their favorite candidate to adopt a lifesaving platform, such as proposing Medicare For All, a worker-friendly Green New Deal, global peace policies, etc., (all of which and more have been proposed by the Hawkins-Walker ticket), liberals have already put so much blind trust into Biden. And they now expect leftists to jump on board, no questions asked. Former Warren and Sanders supporters have even started an entire campaign dedicated to vote-shaming independents called Settle For Biden, a defeatist title that implies that there were clearly better choices for the nominee. In a controversial interview with Charlamagne tha God, during which Biden claimed undecided voters, “ain’t black,” he also told the audience to take a look at his record. Very well, then.
Let’s start with foreign policy. Joe Biden was absolutely in favor of the war in Iraq, though he has claimed more than once that he wasn’t. The result of his and other politicians’ support of the war was the body count of nearly 4,500 U.S. troops and more than 500,000 civilians. In case you forgot, Biden was VP to Barack Obama, the first president in our nation’s history to have been at war for two whole terms, from the moment he stepped into the Oval Office until the day he left. All 8 years. One might argue that Biden may very well take inspiration from Obama’s disastrous foreign policy decisions for his own presidency. In fact, Biden recently admitted, the day before the anniversary of 9/11, that he’s likely to increase our bloated military budget. If Obama couldn’t be pressured by anti-war activists to stop dropping bombs for two seconds, what makes liberals believe Biden can be, should he decide to inherit President Trump’s wars, which were inherited from Obama? Don’t forget that the majority of House Democrats refused to reduce the military budget by a mere 10%, proving once again that they are, like their Republican opponents, a party of war.
At the thought of him being re-elected, Democrats are horrified by President Trump’s potentially monstrous Supreme Court picks, but here’s a not-so-friendly reminder that Joe Biden, who as Senate Judiciary Committee chairman in 1991, used his platform to shout down Anita Hill, a law professor who accused Supreme Court hopeful Clarence Thomas, a conservative, of sexual harassment. Biden even refused testimonies from several other women who had accusations against the nominee. Although Biden didn’t vote in favor of Justice Thomas, his reprehensible actions during the hearing may have paved the way for the landslide 52-48 vote. It was only when Biden’s mistake could land his run for the presidency in hot water did he finally decide to apologize… 29 years later. Even so, Hill herself doesn’t believe he was sincere. To think that Biden will choose progressive justices is bordering on lunacy, especially with him enabling a conservative accused of disgusting workplace behavior and silencing other women brave enough to come forward. By the way, three liberal judges voted in favor of undermining democracy by removing the Green Party off the ballot in Wisconsin. As Eugene Debs once said, “Capitalist courts never have done, and never will do, anything for the working class.”
During one of the largest social uprisings in modern U.S. history, the Black Lives Matter protests against the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor; Joe Biden proved once again just how out of touch with reality he is when he selected Kamala Harris as his Vice President. It isn’t his actual pick that’s surprising—after all, Biden himself authored the devastating 1994 Crime Bill—but rather the outrageous timing of it. In a time of unprecedented mass incarceration, a supposedly “progressive” former prosecutor who was against decriminalizing sex work and denied transgender inmates gender-affirming healthcare is exactly what we don’t need, especially with transgender murders at an all-time high in the United States. It is true that Harris has expressed regret for some of her negligent decisions, most notably threatening to lock up mothers and fathers of truant high school students, but regret won’t repair the lives that were upended during her tenure as the self-described “Top Cop” of California.
We can go on all day about Biden’s many “gaffes” throughout his nearly 50-year political career, such as voting in favor of the anti-LGBT measure known as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), co-sponsoring the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995 that evolved into the 2001 Patriot Act, which Biden himself voted in favor of, voting to repeal the Depression- and New Deal-era Glass-Steagall Act, and so on. For decades, he has made it more than clear where he stands: not with the people, but with America’s corporate overlords. The point of this piece is not to discourage people from freely voting for whoever they see fit for the Oval Office, but to acknowledge many serious issues revolving around a presidential candidate whose supporters claim will return the United States to “normal,” which in reality means more conflicts in the Middle East and more money to Wall Street. At the same time, millions of Americans are further disenfranchised and continue to suffer.
What’s most confusing of all is that, despite Biden’s atrocious history and his claim that “nothing will fundamentally change,” liberals continue to promote the “push him left” idea, as if they believe principled leftists are actually going to waste 4-8 years organizing their comrades in vain to force a right-wing Democrat to the left. That’s because the left knows that Biden is too far gone, and it would just be a waste of valuable resources. If someone as progressive as Bernie Sanders can’t even get Biden on board with the lifesaving policies mentioned earlier, right now, what makes liberals believe it’ll happen after he wins? With Biden’s countless so-called gaffes during his campaign being brushed off, liberals have made it more than clear they have no intention of holding him accountable for anything. Every leftist wants Trump out of office just as much as their counterparts, but not at the cost of 8 years of neoliberal corporatism. Liberals want Trump out immediately, but don’t seem to have a plan B for when things inevitably go south during a Biden administration.
Unlike liberals, leftists will be out in force mobilizing against Biden’s harmful policies and forthcoming endless wars—he has already foreshadowed more Venezuelan intervention—just as they did during the Obama administration. If Biden wins the presidency, the only organizing liberals will do until the next election cycle is their brunch guest list. More importantly, if Biden wins and fails to undo his predecessor’s damage, a candidate far worse and more competent than Trump will arise in 2024.
Vince Ceraso is an activistand a card carrying member of the Socialist Party and the Industrial Workers of the World.