I am committing to vote Biden/Harris, campaign for Biden/Harris, and encourage young people to vote for Biden/Harris. Here’s why:
In the past few months, it’s become increasingly clear that my fears about Donald Trump were correct. From the moment he began his campaign spewing racist bile against Mexicans, I saw a power-hungry demagogue completely apathetic to the consequences of his actions. He has repeatedly proven me right but no more so than in his response to COVID-19. Reports indicate that Trump was informed of the threat of the virus as soon as December 31st 2019, and on January 22nd, 2020, he received a briefing that warned of a global pandemic. He chose to deny and downplay the threat of the virus for months while the virus spread to the United States unimpeded. When it became clear to governors and mayors that federal action was needed to supply healthcare providers with PPE and ventilators, he failed to implement the Defense Production Act and nationalize the supply chain. In April, when Trump’s coronavirus task force developed a proposal to institute widespread testing and contact tracing, Trump rejected the proposal because he saw the virus disproportionately hurting “blue states.” Thousands of Americans are dying every day because of Trump’s obscene dereliction of duty. This was a choice. He explicitly chose a course that he thought would play better for him politically. The consequences were deadly with over 160,000 casualties so far. Electing a demagogue left us vulnerable, and the fruits have come to bare. An insurmountable level of pain and suffering is ahead of us as we prepare to attend funerals through Zoom. Demagoguery has caused harm throughout the Trump presidency.
Trump-Inspired Hate Crimes
Throughout his tenure in office, Trump has inspired hate crimes against religious minorities, communities of color, and immigrants. Cities that have hosted Trump rallies consistently report a surge in hatred crimes. Overall, hate crimes across every category have risen dramatically throughout the Trump presidency. The two most deadly acts of Trump-inspired brutality were the shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue, the Walmart in El Paso, and the Christchurch Mosque shootings in New Zealand. The Tree of Life shooter specifically selected that synagogue because of their support for refugees and migrants. At the time, Trump had been promoting a conspiracy theory that anti-Semitic dog-whistle favorite George Soros was funding caravans full of Mexicans across the border. The shooter cited this theory in his manifesto as his reasoning for his act of violence. Less than six months later, a man open-fired on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Police later found his manifesto listing Trump as his inspiration. And just a little over a year ago, a man shot up a Walmart explicitly targeting Latinx people leaving behind a document justifying his brutality with Trump’s rhetoric. You cannot assess the full degree to the damage done and the lives taken because of Trump’s actions without a calculation of the acts inspired by his violent, inflammatory rhetoric.
The Case for electing Joe Biden president and Kamala Harris vice president
It’s no secret that I supported a different candidate in the Democratic primary. I fell in love with Elizabeth Warren’s plans for big, structural change. Her policies and her rhetoric met the moment and delivered the promise of a future in which we could build a socially inclusive, environmentally resilient future. I was heartbroken when she dropped out of the race and again when she was not selected to be Joe Biden’s running mate. It is incredibly painful to place your hopes and dreams on a candidate and see them defeated. Beyond that, for progressives like me, Joe Biden falls wildly short of what we would want in a candidate. Frankly, Joe Biden was at the bottom of my list of Democrats I wanted to win the nomination (excluding Bloomberg who was not a Democrat). However, I accept that, for whatever reason, Democratic primary voters chose Joe Biden, and Joe Biden chose Kamala Harris. Joe Biden has cast votes I don’t like. He has made statements I don’t like. I have issues with Kamala Harris’ record. They are still a million times better than Donald Trump.
Conversations about their records are fair, but it is worth recognizing that both of them have evolved with the times. Joe Biden has throughout his career attempted to position himself at the center of the Democratic Party. We are not dealing with your grandpa’s Joe Biden. We are dealing with the Joe Biden of the Obama years who supports LGBTQ rights, decriminalizing marijuana, a $15 minimum wage, expanding social insurance, and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. As the Democratic Party has moved to the left since the financial crash of 2008, so has Joe Biden. As District Attorney, Kamala Harris has drawn criticism from myself and others for prosecuting non-violent drug offenses. Today, Kamala Harris is one of the co-authors of the Marijuana Justice Act which would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and expunge the convictions of the victims of the War on Drugs.
A Platform to Fight for
When Joe Biden was the last candidate standing in the Democratic primary, he established Unity Task Forces to develop a platform in coordination with the left flank of the party. Last month, the Unity Task Forces released their policy recommendations. Here are the highlights.
The Climate Unity Task Force is recommending a multi-trillion dollar green investment to transition to 100% clean energy by 2035 while guaranteeing 40% of the investments go to communities of color who have been historically disproportionately impacted by fossil fuel pollution.
The Criminal Justice Task Force is recommending abolishing cash bail, ending qualified immunity, decriminalizing drug possession, and ending mandatory minimums.
The Education Task Force is recommending quadrupling funding for Title 1 schools, making community colleges free for all and all public college tuition free for middle class and low-income families, cancelling most public student loan debt, raising teacher pay, and creating universal childcare.
The Housing Task Force is recommending a tax credit for renters, a massive investment in new affordable housing units, and a tenants’ bill of rights.
The Economy Task Force is recommending the PRO Act which would massively strengthen union, the Fair Schedules Act, a $15 minimum wage, and a massive investment in green jobs.
The Healthcare Task Force is recommending a robust public option open to everyone, giving Medicare the power to negotiate prescription drug prices, and allowing states to set up their own single-payer systems.
I am excited about this platform. If we pass the entirety of these policies, we will cut poverty in more than half, reduce the racial wealth gap, raise incomes for poor and middle class families, and improve the quality of life for everyone. Of course, I think we could go further. I’d like to pass Medicare for All, a Federal Jobs Guarantee, and the Breathe Act to radically transform our criminal justice system. And I will still fight for those policies under a Biden/Harris administration. Nonetheless, the recommendations from the Unity Task Force are policies worth voting for and worth fighting for. I will vote for this ticket with this platform, and I will hold them accountable to it.
The Supreme Court
One of the most critical outcomes of the presidential election in November is the fate of the Supreme Court. Liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer are both very old and would likely not survive another Trump term. If Trump gets a second term, we will have a 7–2 conservative majority court which will stifle the progressive agenda for a generation. It won’t matter if we elected Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes in 2024. We will still be faced with a court bent on turning back the clock on racial, social, and environmental progress. In recent years, we’ve seen our 5–4 conservative court strike down the Voting Rights Act, allow states to reject healthcare aid for the poor and indigent, allow corporations to spend unlimited dark money in campaign contributions, uphold Trump’s Muslim Ban, and mostly recently force Wisconsin voters to chose between voting during a pandemic or not having their voice heard. If Trump is able to chose Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer’s replacement, you can say goodbye to legal abortion, LGBTQ rights, the EPA, voting rights, workers’ rights, and the Affordable Care Act.
Addressing “progressive” grifters
Joe Biden is not the progressive we need, but he is the moderate-progressive we’ve got and his policies would be a dramatic improvement over those of Donald Trump. There are some forces on the left that are proclaiming that Trump has no ideology and is likelier to support Medicare for All then Joe Biden. Let’s squash this bug once and for all. Donald Trump strategically targets progressives by teasing that he might support their policies, but he never will. Donald Trump is a plutocrat only interested in increasing his wealth and that of his rich friends. He will never be a friend to workers. He will never be a friend to the LGBTQ community. He will never stand up to the big corporations. His allegiance is to the racist, corporatist extreme right; don’t get it twisted.
I am committed to electing the Biden/Harris ticket for so many reasons. If they win, we have a shot at defeating climate change. If they win, we have a shot at passing common sense gun legislation. If they win, we have a shot at passing the Equality Act and ending legal discrimination for the LGBTQ community. On so many issues, Joe Biden is miles closer to my views than the man in the White House. Beyond that, Joe Biden is not a demagogue. When it’s difficult to be passionate about voting for a candidate, remember that voting is also about harm reduction. Vote for the victims of the Tree of Life shooting. Vote for the victims of the Christchurch shooting. I know I will be voting for the victims of the Parkland shooting. But I won’t stop there. I will commit myself to doing everything in my power to register people to vote, particularly young people, low-income people, and people of color, and I will work to mobilize the youth vote for Joe Biden. I hope you will join me in this fight because this election isn’t about one candidate; it’s about improving the quality of life as much as possible for as many people as possible and making this country safer for everyone. And I have another ask for you. It is imperative that the Biden/Harris administration have a diverse and progressive cabinet to implement a transformative agenda. Data for Progress has assembled a list of exceptional public servants that would be stellar choices for the Biden/Harris administration. Read this link and join me in elevating its contents. Let’s elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, demand a progressive candidate, and fight for progressive policies.