I’ve made my feelings known in previous posts how I feel about Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee for president. I think he sucks. That hasn’t changed. And I’m still not VBNMW, as I’ve also explained in previous posts, and I’m not at all in favor of vote shaming. Vote your conscience, but think about it first is all I’m saying. I try not to turn my brain off when I vote, and VBNMW seems to advocate just that. But I’m also not 100% sold on voting for a third party, although ideologically, I’m closest to the Green Party and have voted for them before. In the spirit of not turning off my brain, though, I’ve given some thought and consideration to some reasons to vote for Joe Biden that maybe don’t come from a neo-liberal-normie-Democrat place. It doesn’t hurt just to think about them, right?
I’ve seen a lot of posts on social media of Bernie supporters asking Biden supporters to give them reasons to vote for Joe Biden without mentioning Donald Trump. You are asking the impossible. There are no other reasons. The only reason is harm reduction. That’s it. That being said, though, there are some very specific harms that can be reduced by helping to elect Status Quo Joe over Donny Douche-bag. They are as follows:
Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen how Donald Trump handles a truly massive public outcry against racism and police brutality. He handles it by violating people’s First Amendment rights and increasing the very brutality protestors are raising their voices against. He’s called for the US Military, who are trained to do one thing: kill “enemies,” to be deployed against its own people. This is both unconstitutional and a full-on authoritarian dictator move. Progressive You Tubers Kyle Kulinski and Krystal Ball, both strong advocates for either not voting or voting third party, have even started to change their tunes a little because of this. Because while Joe Biden might increase police presence or call in the National Guard to subdue a protest, he certainly wouldn’t call in the US Military. That’s something that’s suppose to be 100% off the table. And maybe Trump hasn’t succeeded in actually deploying the military against protestors this time. But what about next time? What about next time?
No matter what you think of Antifa, hear me out for a minute here. They get blamed for a lot and they’ve gotten a lot of undeserved bad press. They’re a very convenient scapegoat for people who don’t really understand who they are or what they do. “Antifa,” of course, stands for “Anti-fascist,” and the philosophy behind them comes from anarchist organizational theory, and no, that’s not an oxymoron. Contrary to popular belief, anarchy does not mean structure-less chaos. It actually requires a much higher level of non-hierarchical organization. In an anarchist society, every individual has a say as to how the community operates and every individual serves the community in some way. Without getting too mired down in specifics, anarchist philosophy acknowledges the need for a community to have some kind of volunteer defensive force to protect the community against those who mean them harm, such as fascists. This is where Antifa comes in. they are not a “terrorist organization,” nor are they even really an “organization” at all. They are a decentralized group of loosely affiliated individuals who have pledged to defend vulnerable communities against white supremacists, racist police, and other violent authoritarians. Does that sound like such a terrible thing?
Now, what does this have to do with voting for Joe Biden? Good question. There are some on the “progressive” left who have pointed out the ridiculousness of comparing Donald Trump to Hitler, and rightly so. Obviously, he hasn’t tried to exterminate an entire ethnic group nor has he invaded any neighboring countries, yet. However, from a far-left, libertarian-anarcho-socialist perspective, he most certainly falls in fascist ideological territory. His desire to designate Antifa, again “Anti-fascists,” as a “terrorist organization” really kind of outs him from the fascist closet. One does not need to be just like Hitler to qualify as a fascist.
Also, from the perspective of far-left, libertarian-anarcho-socialism, people in the US who call themselves “progressive” and consider themselves “leftist,” are actually just liberals. Not neo-liberals. Neo-liberals are pretty damn far-right economically, and thus, would be considered conservative. But Bernie Sanders supporters, and I still consider myself to be a Bernie Sanders supporter, for instance, are actually liberals, from the far-left, libertarian-anarcho-socialist perspective. We’re only leftists from the right-wing perspective.
Semantics aside, many who call themselves anarchists don’t vote on the principle that no matter who you vote for, you’re casting a ballot for your oppressor. They understand that no matter who’s in power, they’ll be fighting against them. However, there is also a contingent in the anarchist community who see that voting at least gives them a nominal say in who and what exactly they’ll be fighting against. And, while Joe Biden is a standard, neo-liberal, corporate, conservative capitalist, he’s not a fascist. And, if you’re gonna go ahead and vote, and you consider yourself to be anti-fascist, well then, you vote against the fascist. That means voting for Joe Biden. You’ll still be fighting against all of the terrible policies he’ll want to implement, but at least you won’t have to fight against literal fascism.
Donald Trump has done all that he can to prevent the government agencies that are supposed to protect the public from things like toxic chemicals, contaminated food, unsafe work environments, unfair housing practices, and the misuse, exploitation, and theft of public resources from actually protecting the public from those things. He has appointed people to run those agencies, like the EPA, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Education, who do not even believe the agencies they head should exist in the first place. When possible, he has avoided appointing people to these positions at all and instead, opted for extending indefinitely the duration a person serves as an “Acting Director.” Acting Directors don’t have to go through Senate confirmation hearings. He has attempted, and in some cases succeeded, in preventing these regulatory agencies from regulating anything at all.
While Joe Biden would certainly not appoint “progressives” to any of these positions, he also wouldn’t appoint people whose goal is to destroy the agency from within. And he wouldn’t be trying to roll back all of the regulations Obama and previous presidents have put in place. To date, Trump’s administration has either rolled back, tried to roll back, or expressed a desire to roll back almost one hundred environmental regulations. Joe Biden would definitely not do that, and hopefully, he would reinstate the regulations that have been removed.
Donald Trump is a Climate Change denier. Joe Biden is not. As part of his “Energy Dominance” plan, Donald Trump’s administration has made it much, much easier for dirty, climate-change-increasing, fossil fuel companies to frack, drill, mine and do whatever on our public lands. It has basically been a free-for-all for extractive industries. The process for Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements has been “streamlined” – read that as “made a lot easier for oil, gas, and mining companies to do their nasty business regardless of impact to the environment.” The Endangered Species Act has been significantly weakened. The cost of leasing public lands for drilling and fracking has gone way down. Trump is basically flooring the gas pedal towards climate disaster. Biden would still head in that direction, just not as fast. He’d at least tap the breaks. He’d buy us a little bit of time, and with Climate Change, time is everything, because we are running out of it quickly. Can we afford to completely lose another four years? Well, pretty obviously, no.
Not only that, but don’t forget about Trump’s reduction of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. This was a huge gift to the coal mining and uranium mining industries as well as a total slap in the face to the Navajo, Ute, Hopi, and Zuni tribes. If you want a more in-depth discussion of that, read my book, How To NOT Be A Dumbass In A National Park (And How To Fight The Power.) (Available on Amazon Kindle for just $.99! See my “Publications” page.) But anyway, Joe Biden would certainly not reduce any more national monuments, and hopefully, he’d restore Bears Ears and Grand Staircase to their original boundaries.
Public lands are absolutely crucial to combating climate change, and Trump couldn’t give two shits about either. Joe Biden would at least try to undo the damage Trump has done. Or, one would expect him to.
If Donald Trump gets to appoint another Supreme Court Justice, they will repeal Roe V. Wade. They just will. That’s what Trump was elected to do. And they will continue to stack the lower courts with right-wing judges.
If Joe Biden is elected, again, he’s not going to appoint anyone who would be considered “progressive,” but he also wouldn’t appoint someone who would go along with repealing Roe V. Wade.
I still don’t know how I’ll vote in November. When the time comes, I’ll probably study my ballot and then go with my intuition. And I 100% sympathize with the anger and frustration around how things all went down with Bernie in 2016 and 2020. I acknowledge that threatening not to vote for Joe Biden does give us maybe a little more leverage with the Democratic Party. At least then we can threaten them with a loss. But I think there might be another way we can gain some leverage. Because one thing that has become increasingly obvious is that the mainstream Democrats do actually respond to public pressure. It may take massive amounts of public pressure, but they do respond. Trump and the Republicans do not. Or maybe they respond to pressure from far-right, racist, sexist, gun-nut wack-jobs, but not from us. So, maybe, just maybe, the better strategy is to help elect Joe Biden, as terrible as he is, but to keep up the immense, intense pressure on Democrats, to continue to criticize them and call them out, to continue to protest. Maybe. I don’t really know. All I really know is that we should think about these things. It never hurts to think.