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A message to Progressives who don’t want to vote for Biden

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You’ll have to pardon me, ladies and gentlemen, because I’m really pissed off at you and I’m about to let you know.

A little perspective is called for: You guys cost Hillary the election last time, because you were so set on your lefty agenda that when your hero, Bernie Sanders, failed to get the nomination through a legitimate electoral process, you decided to bail on the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. You either sat the election out, or you voted for Jill Stein or some other third party candidate, or—in your extremis rage—you actually voted for Trump.  And there were just enough of you, in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio, to throw the election to Trump—with, of course, plenty of Russian meddling. (And by the way, although I know it rankles you to no end to hear me say it, you were subconsciously or unconsciously influenced by that meddling, with its messages of rancor, disinformation and hatred.)

Okay, so now you’ve had nearly four years to study the results of what you did in 2016. And what have you learned? Well, I should hope you realize one thing very clearly: Donald Trump is a catastrophe of the first magnitude. He is an insult to everything decent and hopeful you stand for. If you can’t agree with that, then I really have nothing further to say to you.

Here’s another thing you know: the Democratic Party—again, through a legitimate electoral process—now has a candidate for President: Joe Biden. He won. Bernie Sanders did not, nor did Kamala Harris or Beto O’Rourke or Julian Castro or Elizabeth Warren or Amy Klobuchar or any of the other two dozen candidates who ran. So the election is going to be between the Republican, Trump, and the Democrat, Biden. There may be one or two semi-serious third party candidates, but they don’t matter.

Now, what are you going to do on Election Day? I’m talking to those of you who have been getting media attention lately for saying that Biden is a tired old has-been who doesn’t represent your progressive values.

Apparently there are a lot of you among a younger Millennial crowd. You want real, positive change—universal healthcare, limiting the power of corporations, raising taxes on the rich, greater response to climate change and global warming, the whole nine yards of the progressive agenda. You look at Biden and you think, “He doesn’t have what it takes to bring about the changes I want.” And so you’re wondering what you’re going to do this November. Sit the election out? Find a third-party candidate? Or maybe—horror of horrors—what some of you did in 2016 and mark that ballot for Trump.

If enough of you still feel that way, then the outcome is inevitable: Donald Trump wins a second term. Ask yourself if this is something you want. I won’t even attempt to outline all of the hideous things Trump has said and done, or to list the additional horrors he will inflict on this country and planet if he’s re-elected. I will suggest a few: a woman’s right to an abortion will end. The right of LGBT people to marry, to serve in the military, and to live lives unperturbed by bigotry will end. Attacks on the climate will continue; whatever progress we’ve made will be (and is being) reversed due to Republican indebtedness to the fossil fuel industry. America’s reputation throughout the world will be further eroded. The rights of workers—to a decent wage, to benefits, to unionize—will disappear. The gap between the uber-rich (Trump’s people) and everyone else will grow to proportions even more obscene than they are now.

Well, if these are things you’re prepared to live with—or if they’re things you actually welcome—then go out and vote for Trump, or sit home and don’t vote at all, which is exactly the same thing as voting for Trump. But I don’t think these are things you want to happen. I don’t know you personally, but I think I know your heart—and it’s good. You’re as turned off by the current inequities and stupidities in America as I am.

But if you allow yourself to be governed by your emotions, then you’re making a historic mistake. I will grant you that Joe Biden is not the ideal candidate. But who is? Don’t tell me it’s Sanders or Warren, because they’re not the candidate. They lost the primary process. If you’re just all angry and pissed off about that, you’re not doing yourself or anybody else any good. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and realize the oldest lesson in the world: You can’t always get what you want. Maturity is understanding that everything in life is about compromise: your job, your relationships, and, yes, your political candidates. And ask yourself: Who better represents your values, Joe Biden or Donald Trump? Who better will advance America toward the things you want to happen, Joe Biden or Donald Trump? Yes, Biden might advance us a little more incrementally than Bernie Sanders. But a little advancement is better than no advancement at all, and much better than going backwards.

So please, Lefties, I implore you: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Vote for Biden. I have a hunch that at some point, he’ll tell us he will not run for a second term. So we’ll have four years of recovering from the disaster of the Trump regime, and four years to go through the primary process again. Maybe in 2024 you’ll get the progressive candidate you want. That’s how politics, and life, works.

  1. Jeff Knight says:

    Good one, Steve. Hope they are listening.

  2. Nancy Brown says:

    “No, you can’t always get what you want
    You can’t always get what you want
    You can’t always get what you want
    But if you try sometime you find
    You get what you need.”

    What this country needs now is a grown up who has the positive qualities of authenticity, empathy and compassion. What this country needs now is someone who is competent and well-prepared to do the job. What this country needs now is real leadership coming from someone with decades of leadership roles in public service. He may not be our first choice, but Joe Biden is who we need now because he can beat Trump if everyone who hates Trump votes for this experienced, capable politician.

    I agree with you 100%, Steve

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