Progressives lose even if Biden wins


MCT Campus

Joe Biden speaks after his Super Tuesday victory.

Donald Trump poses an existential threat to America. If he wins re-election, it could send the country down an irreparable path of self-destruction. I implore every eligible voter to do whatever they can to remove him from office. That especially includes voting for Joe Biden. With that obligatory rallying cry out of the way, it is important to analyze who we’re voting for as the safer alternative. While Biden is, without a doubt, the lesser of two evils in this election, there are still glaring flaws in his platform and long political history that will leave progressives shaking their heads.

Donald Trump has been in office for close to four years now and has done catastrophic damage to the country. Widespread protests demanding racial justice have swept the nation under a racist president who advocates deploying militarized forces as a response. We are currently living amid a catastrophic global health crisis that has been exacerbated by a president who has not only repeatedly downplayed its severity but has actively encouraged his supporters to shirk measures that have been scientifically proven to work against it. Trump has done everything in his power to undercut LGBTQ+ rights, whether it be by nominating multiple judges with anti-LGBTQ+ views, banning transgender people from serving in the military, or his opposition to transgender people using the bathroom of their true gender. The list continues infinitely. 

This brings me to why a Biden presidency would short-change progressives. The state of our country is grim. Radical changes are imperative to dismantle the Trump administration’s actions. The Democratic response must be authoritative and decisive. We have to stand against everything Donald Trump has done to dismantle our institutions and our rights. Not only to win the election but to follow through on our pursuit of justice and equality for all. Biden has not proven that he can follow through on that task. I point to his numerous racist gaffes, including his proclamation to African-American voters in May that if you can’t decide who to vote for, “you ain’t black.” Or how about his sponsorship of the 1994 crime bill, which led to the disproportionate mass incarceration of people of color? 

While Biden’s approach to criminal justice reform has improved since the 1990s, I still take issue with his approach to it. The Democratic nominee has said on multiple occasions he doesn’t support plans to defund the police. In a June op-ed, he said, “The better answer is to give police departments the resources they need to implement meaningful reforms.” The “meaningful reforms” refer to measures such as supplying officers with body cameras, which according to a major comprehensive study conducted by the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University, haven’t had any significant impact on policing practices. 

When it comes to “Medicare for All,” Biden has said multiple times he would veto it if it came to his desk. At a time when coronavirus has ravaged our economy, leaving over 12 million people unemployed, a robust universal healthcare plan that isn’t tied to employment is more important than ever before. It’s not enough that Biden’s plan will provide a public healthcare option people can buy into. Medical care must be free at the point of service for everybody, regardless of their circumstances. 

Now, I’m not saying that it’s all doom and gloom. Joe Biden is still running on the furthest left platform of any Democratic nominee in history. Biden has embraced a two trillion-dollar climate plan that has striking similarities to the Green New Deal. While not perfect, Biden’s healthcare plan would increase the number of Americans with healthcare by 25 million. And as we enter the final stretch of the election, Biden enjoys a comfortable 10 point lead over Trump. The question is, how much ground are progressives willing to secede? How long can we allow things to get only moderately better under a Democratic president, only for Republicans to bulldoze everything we’ve gained? If progressives want to win, we need to rally behind principled candidates who always have and always will seek radical change, and not one that will accept concessions before negotiations have even begun.