I Don’t Have to ‘Vote Blue No Matter Who’
As Biden shapes up to become the forerunner, I’m pulling away from the Democratic Party
If you had asked me a week ago, I would have said I am “voting blue no matter who.” That is no longer the case.
I am an avid Bernie Sanders fan, but after the results of Super Tuesday and the primaries on March 10, I am becoming increasingly nervous about his chances. I can’t say for sure that Biden will win the nomination, and I have not entirely lost hope. But as things stand now, the math is not in Sanders’ favor. I’ve started to prepare myself for the increasingly high possibility that Biden will be the Democratic nominee.
My first election year was in 2016, and I was inspired by Sanders, who favored radical policies that I didn’t even know were possible. I had long accepted my fate as someone on the cusp of being a millennial or Gen-Zer and existing as a Black, queer woman who was going to drown in student debt. The job market is a mess. Climate change will kill us all. Racism in America will continue to thrive. At 18 years old, I didn’t know I could ask for much better. But Sanders has been fighting for America to be better his entire political career.
Sanders believes in Medicare for All, a system that would dismantle the greed of private health insurance and pharmaceutical companies and provide affordable health care, including prescriptions. He recognizes that within the next seven to eight years, if we don’t take extreme action, our planet will have irreversible damage, and young and poor people will face the consequences. He supports legalizing marijuana federally, which benefits Black and Brown populations. He would make college and trade school free and erase student debt to help the middle and working classes. These policies work together to lift up everyone.
So in 2016, when Sanders did not cinch the Democratic nomination, I was devastated. I learned very quickly that the system does not work for people like me. A progressive candidate was wiped out by a typical centrist. My consolation prize? Hillary Clinton was a woman. And as Donald Trump continued to spew an untruthful, hateful message, I knew how important it was that Trump did not become the leader of the “free world.” So I begrudgingly said, “I guess I’m with her.”
My decision to settle for a moderate/centrist ultimately did not matter. Clinton lost.
She won the popular vote but lost the electoral college. And it became abundantly clear to me that people wanted to see change. The state of Wisconsin chose Sanders over Clinton by almost 2:1 during the primaries. But when the general election came around, Wisconsin flipped and became a red state for the first time since 1984. Trump used America’s desire for change by making false promises and has since lied 16,241 times. I feel like I am watching a 2016 repeat happen right before my eyes.
In short, Biden has disenfranchised marginalized communities his entire political career.
After doing extensive research on my own about Biden’s policies throughout his more-than-40-year tenure, I don’t know if I feel comfortable voting for him in the 2020 election. Biden ran the committee who shamed Black law professor Anita Hill for her sexual harassment claim. His record of endorsing tough on crime policies began in 1984. He’s continually supported cutting Social Security benefits. He voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, defining marriage as between a man and a woman. He voted in favor of The Patriot Act and the Iraq War, and the Obama administration deported more illegal immigrants than ever before. In short, Biden has disenfranchised marginalized communities his entire political career.
I understand where the “vote blue no matter who” mantra comes from because I supported it.
There’s this innate fear of another four years of a Trump presidency and the damage it may cause. For months, I’ve told myself that even if my standout candidate did not get the nomination, any candidate was better than this mess. But I’m uncertain if my “radical ideas” ever really fit within the Democratic Party. I don’t know if I can vote for Biden alone on the theory of beating Trump. I’m undecided because I don’t trust him.
Picking the “lesser of two evils” is a cop-out because we lose every time. For too long, American politics have been about survival. We’re so enthusiastic about reverting to normalcy, and normalcy sucks.
When someone says they will abstain from voting for the presidency, others think you’re crazy. They think you’re privileged or don’t understand the consequences of your actions. But I’ve never agreed. I can’t blame my friends for their decisions because no one should have to compromise their morals for a system that has never fought for them. I’m not saying Sanders is the end all be all. He’s not a savior. But Sanders never said he’d save us. He said he’d lead us. Checking off on your ballot box should be a personal and sacred matter. Biden must compromise and take responsibility for his actions because we deserve better.
A massive part of Sanders’ campaign is “Will you fight for someone you don’t know?” My question now is “Will Biden and his supporters?”