The 2020 Biden Dilemma

image: biden harris 2020

[N]ominating a candidate like Biden will make it far more difficult to defeat Trump. It will allow Trump to muddy the water, to once again pretend he is the one “draining the swamp,” running against Washington culture. Trump and the Cambridge Analytica of 2020 will campaign, as they did in 2016, on a message of radical nihilism: everybody lies, everybody is corrupt, nothing matters, there is no truth.
- Middle Class Joe, The Guardian, January 20, 2020

I think one of the worst possible things for our country’s future happened last month - Bernie Sanders pulled out of the 2020 presidential election, and Joe Biden - the same Joe Biden I WROTE TO eight years ago asking for help for the LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED - propped up as the 2020 democratic nominee. 

Right now it’s looking like the election will be Trump vs Biden, meaning the American People loose either way.

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The Moral and Strategic Calculus of Voting for Joe Biden to Defeat Trump or Not

By Jeremy Scahill
The Intercept
April 20 2020

Donald Trump ran for president in 2016 on an often ad-libbed and reactionary campaign of hate, greed, xenophobia, misogyny, and racism. He clearly viewed the fact that a black man had ascended to the presidency as AN ABOMINATION and rightly assessed that there were a lot of racists in this country who saw the eight years the Obama’s spent living in the White House as a crime against the real, white America. Trump already had a brand, realized early on the power of being an outsider in U.S. presidential elections, and focused on some KEY ECONOMIC ISSUES, including trade, that would play well with people dissatisfied with the two party systemגs regular offerings. And he focused on hate.

To directly call Trump fascistic is not incorrect, but it also may give him too much credit. He has largely been an incompetent authoritarian, albeit one whose key policies have caused massive suffering and death. What we have seen throughout his career and his three and a half years in power is that Trump is primarily concerned with making money for himself, his family, and HIS CRONIES. Literally everything this man does is a racket.

His foreign policy has been hawkish and reckless, but aside from his often insane rhetoric and public threats to annihilate various countries, it has not represented a radical departure from that of his predecessors. He acts like an unstable buffoon on the international stage, and he burns bridges with traditional U.S. allies, governments, and international bodies across the globe. Trump openly embraces VILE AUTHORITANS> and mocks democratic leaders and institutions. All of this is certainly dangerous and unsettling, though some of it is disproportionately offensive to establishment foreign policy elites. Trumps predecessor started his own share of wars, did some regime change, ratcheted up an existing war, downsized another, and greatly expanded the use of weaponized drones and so-called targeted killings. But Barack Obama delivered these policies with an intelligently crafted, though at times absurd, justification wrapped in the notion of inventing a “smarter” way to wage war. Liberals ate it up. Obama’s policies killed a lot of innocent people.

The few times Trump has signaled his openness to pursue a less militaristic approach to long-existing crises, such as the war in Afghanistan or the conflict with North Korea, he has been ridiculed by leading Democrats and liberal pundits. In terms of Trump’s military pursuits, he has proven less murderous than George W. Bush and more of a war criminal than Jimmy Carter. So far. That can certainly change with a second term.

Perhaps the gravest threat posed by the unstable narcissist in the White House is that of the use of a first strike nuclear weapon. It has never been beyond the pale to imagine an apocalyptic nuclear scenario that begins with a tweet from a foreign leader Trump hates. The fact that we can even imagine this is nothing to wag a stick at.

Trump’s monumentally incompetent handling of the coronavirus pandemic hammers home some of the greatest dangers posed by his presidency. It has highlighted the extent to which he is motivated not by any sense of duty or concern for his fellow citizens, but by money and his popularity among a fairly small circle of corporations, television hosts, and special interests. That Trump uses the daily platform of what are supposed to be public health briefings by professionals to pontificate ignorantly, babble incoherently, or to score points politically underscores how little he actually cares about the U.S. public and our lives. Instead, he is obsessed with the stock market as an imagined extension of his own ego. It is the sign of a deeply sick individual that he would effectively make aid conditional on how nice governors are to him. Trump encourages group protests against Democratic governors during a pandemic with scores of people refusing to wear protective gear, while his administration has insisted on testing visitors for coronavirus before meeting with the president or vice president. All of this costs lives, as sure as any military operation.

Perhaps the most devastating dimension of Trumps time in office, on a policy level, is how the Republican establishment brilliantly exploited Trump as a Trojan horse for its extreme agenda. It is unlikely that any of the GOP’s preferred candidates could have beaten Hillary Clinton in 2016. Trump dragged the Republican Party kicking and screaming back into executive power. For them, he was a messiah they chided and scorned when he first appeared, but now they prostrate themselves before him every minute of every day.

The real terror of the past three and a half years boils down to this: the consolidation of power by some of the most vile figures and interests in the Republican party.

The public still does not know the full story of how Mike Pence ended up on the ticket as Trump’s running mate, but when it was announced, it was clear that the professional Republicans and the extremist evangelical lobby had their inside man. With Mitch McConnell running the Senate and Pence babysitting the president, Trump could focus on barking for the crowds in between golf outings and Twitter rants while the political hitmen in Washington dust off every extreme right-wing initiative they’ve cooked up for decades and which they work day and night to methodically ram through. Trump has had his signature moments, but much of his policy has been outsourced to craftier and more sophisticated policymakers.

Trump is famously not a fan of reading detailed briefings, but give him a few nuggets of oversimplified policy talking points to pepper throughout his rants, and hes going to be your gaudy QVC host pitching the crappy product to his base. The bonus is that none of it actually has to be true, it just needs to be acceptable to the right people and truthfully exposed or documented by journalists whom he can then dismiss as the fake news media.

More broadly, the real terror of the past three and a half years boils down to this: The consolidation of power by some of the most vile figures and interests in the Republican party. This includes the scores of federal JUDGES named to the bench, the shaping of the Supreme Court, the radical drive toward deregulation, and the canceling of even the most minimal commitments the U.S. has made to try to confront climate change. What the Republicans have managed to accomplish on a policy level in Trump’s time in office is profound and terrifying.

Out in full view, Trump has presided over the separation of families and the locking up of immigrant children in cages, empowering ICE agents to act as storm troopers. He has intervened to protect war criminals from accountability, threatened to kill the families of suspected terrorists, sought to ban and in some ways has succeeded in banning - Muslims from entering the country. His threat to fill Guantanamo prison back up still looms, especially in the era of the coronavirus pandemic. Is it so hard to imagine it becoming a disease-ridden black hole for migrants seeking refuge?

Trump’s economic policies have enriched corporations and special interest groups beyond their imaginations, while sawing off the already inadequate social programs in this country. We still have no idea of the extent to which Trump and his family are financially benefiting from his presidency. He talks about women in disgusting ways, including attempting to publicly humiliate the women he is accused of raping and assaulting. And the sick reality is that a significant number of people in the U.S. clearly like these things even if they wonҒt openly admit it, though a disturbing number of them do feel emboldened to admire it. Trump has offered up an IPO on ignorance and hatred as a source of pride, and a lot of people enthusiastically bought in.

Trumps rise to power is, in many ways, the logical product of the U.S. as a failed state. Trump says the quiet parts about the system out loud.

Donald TrumpҒs presidency is not an aberration of U.S. history in substance. His rise to power and the policies he has implemented are, in many ways, the logical product of the U.S. as a failed state, politically and functionally. Trump says the quiet parts about the system out loud, but his agenda is firmly rooted in the bloody history of this republic. And his rise was made possible by the failed two-party system and the corporate dominance of electoral politics in the U.S. Also, lets not pretend that congressional Democrats have not enabled Trump by regularly voting for his obscene military budgets and sweeping surveillance powers while simultaneously calling him the most dangerous president in history.

What would happen if Trump wins the election in November? In practical terms, it would be a nightmare. Trump would emerge emboldened beyond imagination. What minuscule restraints that currently exist would be wiped out entirely. He would almost certainly be in a position to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with yet another atrocious extremist. An ability to further stack the court will have a multigenerational impact on a legion of issues; among them are voting rights, civil liberties, corporate power, workers’ rights, civil rights, women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, executive power, and the climate. No one should minimize the dangers of Trump remaining in office. And his reign will hit the most vulnerable the hardest, much like the coronavirus, and the terrors will ricochet for many years to come. Trump encourages and emboldens racists and bigots and embraces far-right ideology and action. Four more years of this will be deadly.

It is in contemplating all of the above that the emergence of Joe Biden as the Democratic Party’s presumptive choice to take on Trump is a deeply disturbing and risky response to the threats we face. It is easy to underestimate Bidens chance of winning in November. Biden is a terrible candidate in many ways, but it is possible that ғIm not TrumpҔ combined with Biden having been Obamas vice president will appeal to enough of the population to win not only the popular vote (a virtual certainty) but the Electoral College җ especially if the party keeps him under wraps until the final stretch, as appears to be the strategy. Still, that seems to be a dangerous gamble given what is at stake.

There is also another factor that must not be ignored: Republicans are masters of voter suppression and disenfranchisement. That, combined with Trumps core belief that corruption isnҒt corrupt if he does it places an ominous cloud over the elections integrity before it even occurs. And we know that the pandemic will cast a long enough shadow over normal life that there will be plenty of opportunities for irregularities.

Biden has an abominable public policy record on a wide range of issues. He has a penchant for lying җ about his role in the civil rights movement and about being arrested in apartheid South Africa. He continues to lie and mislead about his support for the war in Iraq, the most consequential foreign policy decision of the post-Vietnam era. He has been accused by eight women of misconduct, including one allegation of very serious sexual assault by his former Senate staffer Tara Reade. Bidens cognitive health and mental acuity is, to say the least, questionable, particularly when you compare his current performance with videos from just a few years ago. He frequently rambles without a clear point, forgets what office he is running for, and has to rely on teleprompters and notes to make it through interviews and speeches without saying something embarrassing. In numerous interactions with voters, Biden has poked their chests in an aggressive manner; told an immigrant rights activist to ғvote for Trump; called voters childish names; and threatened a union worker in Detroit, telling the man to stop objecting to Biden pointing his finger in his face unless the worker ԓwant[s] to go outside with me. LetԒs not even discuss the tale of his showdown with a rusty razor-wielding Corn PopӔ at the pool. Trumps temperament is frightening, but Biden isnҒt exactly a cool head who exudes competence or confidence.

Liberals may poo poo the whole Hunter Biden-Burisma-Ukraine-China attacks from Trump, but this is going to be a problem in the general election. On many of the key issues where Democrats could attack Trump, Biden is going to be virtually incapacitated by his own skeletons. What Sen. Elizabeth Warren did to Mike Bloomberg at a February debate would be impossible for Biden to do to Trump. You have more allegations of sexual assault than I do, Donald,Ӕ is not a good line. Your sons have profited off the presidency more than my son did off my vice presidencyӔ also not a winning zinger. And donגt think for a moment that Trump wont hammer away on BidenҒs Iraq War vote and his trade policies. The Democratic primary is not the general election.

It’s always worth remembering that Biden was picked in 2008 to make Obama less threatening to moderates - so we can’t even bank on a return to OBAMA’S brand of neoliberalism.

There is no point to going through and listing all of the terrible aspects of Biden’s career, his policy record, his mental stamina, or his substantial failures to make himself visible or consistently cogent since securing the presumptive nomination. All of this is going to be put on display for the next six months. The Democratic Party and the voters in the roughly 50 percent of primaries that were held have committed our fate to Biden’s candidacy. Obama and other senior party leaders, major news organizations, and a lot of money deployed to attack Sen. Bernie Sanders also played a role in manufacturing this reality. Sanders ending his campaign and vowing to support Biden leaves people with two viable candidates on the ballot. Barring a health crisis or death of one of these older men, the only two candidates with enough public support to win the presidency will be Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

What we get with Trump is as clear as it is terrifying. What we get with Biden, in his current form, is less apparent. Biden will have a team of competent (for better and worse) technocrats and, in all likelihood, an incredibly influential vice president and an unelected chief of staff running the show. Biden’s administration will also include appointments aimed at throwing some bones to progressives and likely other Cabinet appointments that recognize the growing influence of progressive ideas. It will, without a doubt, also be riddled with a disproportionate number of hawkish, corporatist Democratic apparatchiks. It will be an administration that does the bidding of Wall Street, believes in bloated war budgets, and will put a friendlier face on the worst excesses of empire. It’s always worth remembering that Biden was picked in 2008 to make Obama less threatening to moderates so we can’t even bank on a return to Obama’s brand of neoliberalism. But there will be policy areas where some victories may be possible for a well-organized and militant left willing to take Biden on. Such a dynamic wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world and would be better for more people than a second Trump term in virtually every tangible way.

Biden isn’t great on many issues that motivate young voters. His health care plan keeps the profit-driven system intact, and it will result in millions of Americans remaining uninsured. His policy to confront massive student and consumer debt is anemic. Biden’s climate plan is uninspiring and generally milquetoast when weighed against the severity of the crisis the planet faces, though this is an area in which he might be susceptible to pressure from activists. Some of his foreign policy positions are downright disturbing, if not explicitly right-wing. The latest Biden campaign ad is a fearmongering attack on China and an effort to outbid Trumps xenophobic rhetoric. Biden’s long record indicates that he could prove more inclined to authorize military interventions than Trump, who has been quite belligerent himself, without following through on most of his threats. Biden is almost certainly going to start and continue wars, impose deadly economic sanctions, and support or enact regime change efforts.

There is an abundance of justification to oppose a Biden presidency. And principled people are right to ring loud alarms over Bidens record, policies, and some of his personal conduct. At the same time, it is not honest to imply there would be no difference between a Biden and Trump administration.

The Obama-Biden administrationҒs immigration policy has now been dwarfed in awfulness by Trump, but in its own right it operated as a cruel, mass deportation machine that also separated families. During the campaign, Biden has responded to extraordinary activist pressure and eventually began to carefully distance himself from the record of the deporter in chief,Ӕ as Obama was labeled by immigrant rights activists. When pressed on the mass deportations under Obama, Biden acknowledged that deporting people without criminal records was a big mistake.Ӕ At a Democratic debate, Biden was asked whether he would resume Obamas torrid pace of deportations. ғAbsolutely not, he said, adding that he was vice president, not president, drawing a rebuke from Juliԡn Castro, who observed accurately that Biden was content to bathe in the glow of his former Obama boss while looking to sidestep responsibility for his more unpopular policies. At the same time, Bidens campaign has made a sweeping series of pledges that he could implement as president that would potentially protect millions of vulnerable people. On immigration, the alternative to that is four more years of Trump adviser Stephen Miller, an extremist nut who shouldnҒt be allowed within 100 feet of a consequential decision-making process.

We are not actually being asked to vote for Biden as the candidate, because the Biden we see is a shell of his former self. We are being asked to vote for a spin-off of the Obama show.

Biden has pledged to immediately lift the Muslim travel ban, as well as other racist immigration and asylum policies Trump has put in place. It is also worth noting that toward the end of the Obama administration, under pressure from Black Lives Matter activists, Obama placed a dozen city police forces under Department of Justice consent decrees in response to police killings and other abuses. Trump cannot be pressured by BLM, but Biden can.

Biden has a troubling record on Iran, including his support for deadly sanctions, but he has emphatically said he would reenter the Iran nuclear agreement, which is also no small matter. Similarly, Biden has been politically forced to denounce the genocidal Saudi war against Yemen, despite the fact that it was initiated under the Obama-Biden administration. He has also had to publicly accept that viewing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as an unsavory murderer is now widely held by many Democrats, including centrist figures. Remarkably, Biden has vowed to turn Saudi Arabia into a pariah. That’s an incredible statement given the long bipartisan love affair with the kingdom’s despots and raises all sorts of questions about what that would mean if Biden is elected.

Among the wild cards of a Biden administration will be the issue of whether he has the actual mental stamina to govern, or if he is going to be frequently disoriented and infrequently seen or heard. Setting aside the protestations of people who pretend they dont see exactly what everyone else does when Biden speaks in public, we are not actually being asked to vote for Biden as the candidate, because the Biden we see is a shell of his former self. We are being asked to vote for a spin-off of the Obama show, a cast of familiar characters and a few exciting new additions who would take charge of the executive branch, without the popular star of the original show among the visible cast. The fact that the Democrats have forced through a candidate that many people donҒt believe is fully functional and will rely on the strength of the team assembled around him is a pretty grim statement about the state of democracy in the U.S. If Biden is the best the Democrats have to offer in the face of Trump, the system is rotten.

So what should people who want Trump gone but cannot stand Biden do? First of all, no one should be shamed for letting their conscience dictate their vote or decision not to vote. (Full disclosure: I always vote.) Our system is dominated by corporate influence, big money, and the skewed rules of a default duopoly, and it actively fights to prevent third parties from receiving federal matching funds, joining debates, or gaining ballot access. There is no mandatory voting in the U.S., roughly 40 percent of Americans do not belong to either major political party, and people have a right to register their dissatisfaction with the entire system by not voting. In an atmosphere where tens of millions of U.S. citizens choose not to vote, shaming the minuscule number of people who vote for the Green Party is a disgrace. There are hundreds of thousands of voters whose principled belief is that breaking the two-party stranglehold on U.S. democracy is the only path to meaningful systemic change. Votes for Jill Stein or Howie Hawkins are not being taken away from corporate Democrats. Those votes belong to the people who cast them and they have a right to vote however they choose, and the candidates they support have a right to run for office.

It is also an understandable and morally principled decision to say, I believe Tara Reade was sexually assaulted by Joe Biden, and I will not vote for a rapist.ԓ It is an understandable and morally principled position to say, I will not vote for anyone who supported the war against Iraq.ԓ None of these peoples votes belong to Biden or Hillary Clinton or the Democratic Party or Twitter mobs - and they are not votes for Trump.

In an atmosphere where tens of millions of U.S. citizens choose not to vote, shaming the minuscule number of people who vote for the Green Party is a disgrace.

Ultimately, however, given the abomination of our two-party system, progressive voters are forced to make not just a moral but a strategic choice with their votes. Recognizing that Biden is a terrible candidate and being honest about that but voting for him in an effort to prevent Trump from further consolidating his agenda is a strategically sound position. This is ultimately what the majority of Sanders supporters will do, just as they did in 2016. It certainly has a better chance of improving the country and the world than enthusiastically pledging to vote for Biden while closing your ears to everything that is wrong about him and his record. Voters in swing states, where voting for a candidate other than Biden or not voting at all may help tip the balance to Trump, face a more consequential moral and strategic choice than people in New York or California. In 2004, the Green Party candidate told his supporters to vote their conscience in swing states, including if they believed they needed to hold their nose and vote for John Kerry to defeat Bush.

If you believe that progressives or leftists should be bending the kneeԓ for Biden by promising right this second that they will vote for him in six months and that they will never utter an inconvenient fact about him or express their anger with their meager Election Day options, please show them all of your work fighting for Medicare for All, for ending the carceral state, for serious radical action on climate change, your work opposing the most dangerous aspects of the Obama-Biden administration, including on issues of war, immigration, and, yes, health care.

Many of the social and political movements that backed Sanders were populated by people in the crosshairs of the Trump administration. It was an incredibly diverse coalition of supporters and drew millions of primary voters in 2016 and 2020. Its backbone was young voters, including young African Americans, Latinos, students, immigrants, and independents. These groups and many of Sanderss supporters have spent nearly four years fighting Trump nonstop. Many of them organized against ObamaԒs troubling policies before that. That should be commended not scorned. You want to label these people Trump supporters because they are intensely disturbed by the corporatist candidate you have chosen to take on Trump? Show them your work on the issues they care about, explain what Bidens policies are on those issues and make the most convincing case you can for why they should vote for him. Better yet, explain to them how you are fighting to make BidenҒs platform one that even minimally pretends to want their votes.

In the bigger picture, Sanders organized the most significant challenge to the Democratic Partys centrist and center-right establishment since Jesse Jackson ran twice for president in the 1980s. Unlike Ralph NaderҒs independent runs for president, Sanders attempted to deliver sweeping change within the Democratic Partys own framework. He fought against an extremely hostile corporate media environment and some pretty vile smear campaigns, where he was compared to the coronavirus, his supporters were called brown shirts, and his primary victories described as akin to the Nazi invasion of France on liberal TV networks. Despite the powerful chorus of red-baiting and lies, Sanders still came extremely close to pulling off a victory.

Biden was usually the frontrunner and always the favorite, even though he came close to being defeated by Sanders early on. The establishment fiercely defended its territory in an effort capped off by the last-minute secret diplomacy from Obama ahead of Super Tuesday to pressure other candidates and the party to coalesce around Biden. Ultimately, the partyҒs primary voters, at the crucial moment, threw their weight behind a name they know and who served as vice president of an administration they trusted. These voters should not be collectively shamed either. Most of them are not party cogs, but people genuinely scared of what four more years of Trump will mean for their survival, particularly older African American voters.

The traditional, moderate, and right-wing forces within the Democratic Party united and won the primary battle. Sanders may have surrendered too early, but there is little value to debating that right now or wasting energy attacking Sanders.

Most people on the left who oppose Biden but also view Trump as the gravest danger are going to vote against Trump by voting for Biden. But those who disagree with that strategy do not support Trump.

The war for the future of the Democratic Party is intensifying. There is a possibility of a fracture or at least more clearly defined factions within the party. There will be serious discussions around forming a new party that isn’t the Green Party, but rather an outgrowth of the “Not Me, Us” framework of the Sanders campaign and the growing popularity of groups like the Justice Democrats, the Sunrise Movement, prison abolitionists, immigrant rights groups, and Democratic Socialists of America. It would be a great thing for this country to have a democratic socialist party grow, one that runs serious political campaigns. We have already seen early stage efforts at this with mixed results. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez understands the need to engage in strategic partnerships with establishment Democrats to achieve meaningful policy change and strengthen the areas of common ground. But there will need to be a lot more like-minded politicians elected for the strategy to succeed. This primary has shaken the Democratic establishment to its core, and that is a good thing and should be built on.

But none of that is going to happen before November.

Some Sanders supporters who are deeply concerned by the candidacy of Biden have said he can have their vote but not their soul. For many people that will be their strategic rationale. For others, it will be a question of individual or collective morality in the face of TrumpӔs horrors. Leftist voters in swing states shoulder a greater moral burden than the rest of us, and many will decide to vote against Trump by pulling the lever for Biden.

There are also very vocal opponents of Biden who are fed up and are flat out going to refuse to vote for him. They recognize that the opposite of Trump is not Biden. They want a society where free health care is a right and wars are ended, where everyone has housing and work that pays livable wages, where you don’t amass a mountain of debt to get an education, and one that treats immigrants and workers with dignity and defends a woman’s absolute right to choose. They want the racist justice system dismantled and ICE to be abolished. They believe we are in a climate emergency and that Biden is a part of the problem. Mainstream Democrats tell them they want much of that too and electing Biden is a strategic step in that direction or that President Biden will be more susceptible to progressive pressure. They reject that. They don’t believe that forcing a choice between two bad candidates is right, even if one is admittedly worse. Electing Biden might solve some problems, but it also could result in a strengthening of the far right in the U.S. and could produce a worse threat than Trump in 2024.> A Biden administration, they believe, will undoubtedly be a massive corporate-friendly juggernaut that wages military and economic wars and, for them, voting in the affirmative for that is a bridge too far. And many of these people hold the Democratic Party responsible for Trump because of the terrible campaign it ran in 2016, so trying to convince them to buy into the same strategy twice is a losing battle. They are tired of being Democrats’ cheap dates treated with contempt, offered few and paltry concessions, and expected to go along. As a strategic matter, at this juncture, they regard supporting Biden as tantamount to telling Democrats to continue to take them for granted.

If Democrats want to try to win them over, they should use the next six months to show them you take their concerns about 2016 seriously and map out the ways this campaign is different. Most people on the left who oppose Biden but also view Trump as the gravest danger are going to vote against Trump by voting for Biden. But those who disagree with that strategy do not support Trump. For them, “He’s not Trump” is not a gamble worth taking. The onus is on the Biden campaign and its supporters to make their case to every eligible voter in this country and earn their votes. No one should be taken for granted.

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Joe Biden is a Trojan Horse: Inside is the Democrats New Right Wing Coalition

By Russell Dobular
Due Dissidence
July 29, 2020

In spite of what you might have heard, Democrats aren’t stupid. Nor are they spineless, cowardly, incapable of messaging, or any of the other things offered as explanations for their decades-long failure to win most elections in most places, or to secure meaningful policy reforms for their voters. In the now famous words of Marco Rubio, spoken during his campaign-ending broken robot moment on the 2016 debate stage, “Let’s dispel with this fiction that Barrack Obama doesn’t know what hes doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing.”

Yes, he does.  And so does the rest of the Democratic Party. If you understand the Democrats as a party whose first priority is to win elections and then serve their voters once in office, then you have to look for far-fetched explanations for their actions, which often appear to be completely at odds with those objectives. What party eager to win over the middle of the country would repeatedly vote to make a wealthy San Francisco doyenne like Nancy Pelosi their Speaker? She’s a walking advertisement for the image of Democrats as a party of out of touch elites, more concerned with arcane speech codes than labor laws. But if you understand the Democrats as a party primarily concerned with raking in big bucks from wealthy donors, while drawing enough superficial distinctions with their opponents to maintain their identity as a separate party, then everything they do is pretty frikkin brilliant. Like forcing Joe Biden on their voters.

Let’s be absolutely clear: Bernie Sanders would undoubtedly have been the partys nominee this year without the interference of its leadership. A lot of ink has been spilled about the failings of Bernie 2020, and some of those points are valid, but let’s not forget that Sanders won the first three states in the primary calendar, all while facing unprecedented hostility from the corporate media and party elites, so clearly he did a lot of things right. No other candidate has ever won the first two states without going on to secure the nomination, much less all three.

But no other candidate so universally feared and loathed by the money people and the consultant class has ever gotten so close to the big prize. Close enough that they were willing to drop all pretense of neutrality and fairness to ensure on the eve of Super Tuesday that instead of facing a fractured field of milquetoast moderates, Sanders would be going mano a mano with only Joe Biden, a man who voters had completely rejected in humiliating fashion right up until South Carolina. Remember, this was before we understood exactly how bad the coronavirus was going to be, or how badly Trump and the GOP would botch their response. No modern Democrat has ever won without high youth voter turnout, and there’s no way they didn’t understand that crushing the candidate of young voters was going to suppress their vote. Nor has any modern Democrat ever won without a high share of the Latino vote, and yet they chose to publicly and openly conspire against the candidate who was the clear choice of Latino voters.

All this in order to run a notoriously thin-skinned politician in the obvious throes of cognitive decline against the worlds most infamous bully. Without coronavirus, Biden was a sure loser and thereҒs no way the partys decision makers and strategists didnҒt understand that. No, they arent that stupid. If you consider that the battle theyҒre fighting is only secondarily against the GOP, and primarily against the left wing of their own party, what they did was actually very smart.

These folks can read a poll as well as anyone, and they understand that in the normal course of things their days are numbered. For years, Democrats have talked up their coalition of the ascendant; the new, young, diverse, and thoroughly blue no matter who electorate that was going to someday hand them majorities as far as the eye could see.  But now that its on the verge of arriving, it doesnҒt look quite like what they were expecting. Turns out that rising electorate wants policies that will actually allow them to rise in more than a symbolic sense and isnt quite as satisfied by platitudes and kente cloth as the old white liberal coalition was. They want universal health care, they want higher wages, they want student loan forgiveness, they want free college; in other words, they want the people they vote for to do something for them beyond diversifying their office staff. The problem for Democrats is that all the things they want them to do are a direct threat to the grift theyҒve been running since the day Bill Clinton formally announced the death of the partys animating FDR spirit by proudly informing the public that Ғthe days of big government are over. The Reaganite small government ethos that’s ruled both parties ever since, simply cannot be reconciled with the demands of voters whose first priority is economic justice.  So what do you do when your base sees through the hollowness of your politics and demands that you do better? Find a different base.  And thats where Joe Biden comes in.

The Biden campaign is a Trojan horse in the truest sense: it’s an empty vessel through which the Dems are attempting to substitute a portion of the GOP’s base for a portion of their own. The Democrats gearing their message towards white, professional class suburban voters is nothing new. They’ve been doing it for at least 30 years, first winning over the socially liberal/economically conservative “Rockefeller Republicans” in order to make up for their losses with union voters in the wake of NAFTA. Now they’re attempting with this election to win over the even more conservative"moderate Republicans” of this generation by running the kind of candidate who would promise in the midst of a pandemic and an ongoing populist uprising to veto Medicare for All, and not raise taxes on anyone making less than $400K a year. They’re not worried about handing over control of the party to Republicans in the process, because a Democratic Party dominated by moderate Republicans doesn’t look very different from what we have now - there’s hardly a shade of difference between your average liberal and your average “Never Trumper” ideologically.

The rising left, however, is an existential threat to the party’s modern make-up, ideology, and standard operating procedures. If they lose to Trump while trying to make the shift, something that was almost guaranteed at the time they decided to force Biden down the country’s collective throat, that’s really not a problem. Trump is great for fundraising and his sheer awfulness takes the onus off the Dems to be much better. Just being a little better than Trump is all they really need to be for as long as he’s in office. Seen from that perspective, Biden is a win-win. They either crush the left by assembling a new, even more conservative coalition, or they once again scapegoat the left for their losses and spend another four years pretending the country didn’t go to shit until 1/20/17. So if you’re a deeply corrupt member of the fake-left half of the country’s ruling elite, wheres the downside? It’s nothing but upside for everyone except the voters.

There’s only one flaw in this plan.  It doesn’t take into account the dangers of breaking the social contract so severely that the population becomes ungovernable.  Only a fool would believe that we can continue on our current course of spiraling wealth inequality combined with a collapsing quality of life, now severely exacerbated by a global pandemic, without a reckoning. Unfortunately, in keeping with their French, Chinese and Russian predecessors, our leaders are those fools. History shows us that those most in danger of getting on the wrong end of a Peoples Tribunal, are always the last to see it coming. With Trump we get there a little faster, with Biden a little slower (maybe), but the American economic and political system as currently constituted is clearly unsustainable.

Vote your conscience in November in light of these realities (personally, I’m writing in Dave Chapelle), but know that the real battle is going to start the day after the voting ends.

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25 Reasons Not to Vote for Joe Biden

By Matthew John
Age of Awareness
March 8, 2020

1. He supported states’ rights to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Early in his career, Senator Joe Biden VOTED TO ALLOW STATES TO OVERTURN THE LANDMARK 1973 ABORTION LEGISLATION ROE VS WADE. The 1981 bill, which thankfully never passed, was referred to by the National Abortion Rights Action League as “the most devastating attack yet on abortion rights.”

2. He supported the Hyde Amendment.

On the topic of abortion legislation, Biden also long supported the HYDE AMENDMENT, a 1976 bill that prohibits federal funds from being used for abortion services. He only recently reversed his position on this matter, though he made “no apologies” for the last position.

3. He supported racial segregation.

The fact that Joe Biden was involved in anti-busing legislation in the 1970s has been receiving more attention as the candidate endures heightened scrutiny. Janell Ross of NBC News explained additional details of this unsavory history IN A PIECE headlined, “Joe Biden didn’t just compromise with segregationists. He fought for their cause in schools, experts say.”

4. He played a central role in drafting the 1994 crime bill.

The implementation of the VIOLENT CRIME CONTROL AND LAW ENFORCEMENT ACT resulted in what we now call “mass incarceration” a phenomenon that has had a vastly disproportionate impact on minority communities. Though then-president Bill Clinton later admitted, “I signed a bill that made the problem worse,” Biden continued to take pride in the legislation (as well as credit for producing it) for years to come, even referring to it as the “1994 Biden Crime Bill in 2015.”

5. He lied about his involvement in the civil rights movement.

Journalist and activist Shaun King has compiled EXHAUSTIVE SOURCE MATERIAL on this issue. In short, there is no verifiable evidence that Joe Biden ever participated in the civil rights movement. But Biden has LIED ABOUT OTHER TOPICS as well, so I’m willing to be generous and include all his lies within this one entry - even his whopper about BEING ARRESTED IN SOUTH AFRICA.

6. He participated in the humiliation of Anita Hill.

As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the 1991 confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas, Joe Biden played a key role in this disgraceful historic episode of sexism and humiliation. In her testimony, Hill articulated the instances of sexual harassment that were perpetrated against her by Thomas. As Li Zhou explained in Vox:

“In response to her allegations, the 14 all-white, all-male members of the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled her relentlessly, with several Republicans openly seeking to discredit her and EVEN ACCUSING HER OF EROTOMANIA.” [...] BIDEN ALLOWED THOMAS TO TESTIFY BEFORE AND AFTER HILL DID, and did not call upon three women who could have testified about their own experiences with Thomas and office culture.”

In short, Biden did not step in to defend Hill during this onslaught, and even personally participated in asking inappropriate questions. He later apologized, saying, “As the committee chairman, I take responsibility that she did not get treated well.”

7. He has been accused of inappropriate behavior by 8 women.

Speaking of sexual harassment, ”EIGHT WOMEN HAVE ALLEGED THAT BIDEN EITHER TOUCHED THEM INAPPROPRIATELY OR VIOLATED THEIR PERSONAL SPACE IN WAYS THAT MADE THEM UNCOMFORTABLE.” In what some critics referred to as a “non-apology,” Biden said he would try to do better. However, he also later SAID, “I’m not sorry for anything Ive ever done.”

8. He supported the Iraq War.

Not only did Biden vote in favor of the 2002 Iraq War Resolution - he also PLAYED A LEADING ROLE in inspiring congressional support for the invasion, which was infamously justified using fabricated intelligence. According to Vox, “in the months leading up to the vote authorizing war, [Biden] organized a series of Senate hearings, in close coordination with the White House, during which he echoed the administrations talking points about weapons of mass destruction.” This disastrous military intervention eventually resulted in HUNDREDS THOUSANDS OF DEATHS, cost American taxpayers more than $2 TRILLION, and led to the formation of ISIS.

9. He once called Dick Cheney a “decent man.”

Okay, I know Im getting into anecdotal territory here, but Dick Cheney was a really bad hombre. As George W. Bush’s vice president, Cheney was known as one of the primary architects of the aforementioned Iraq War and a leading proponent of TORTURE. If you’d like to learn more about this hideous American supervillian, check out Adam McKay’s 2018 film VICE.

10. He has consistently advocated for Social Security cuts.

A recent fact-check by The Intercept found that Biden has ADVOCATED CUTTING SOCIAL SECURITY FOR THE LAST 40 YEARS. He even bragged about it on the Senate floor in 1995, saying:

“When I argued that we should freeze federal spending, I meant Social Security as well. I meant Medicare and Medicaid. I meant veterans’ benefits. I meant every single solitary thing in the government. And I not only tried it once, I tried it twice, I tried it a third time, and I tried it a fourth time.”

11. He once referred to Barack Obama as “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean.”

These COMMENTS WERE MADE IN 2007. Pretty cringeworthy stuff, Uncle Joe. There’s not much more to say about this, but based on the aesthetics of this piece, I do feel as though this entry should be longer. I guess one way to think about this particular phrasing used by Biden is to juxtapose it with the following entry. In that context, reducing the first Black president to a condescending stereotype could be seen as a decent compliment, considering who its coming from.

12. He participated in the demonization of the Black community.

In the 1990s, the Clinton administration continued the Reagan-era paranoia regarding violent crime with, among other policies, the aforementioned crime bill. As WE NOW KNOW in hindsight, this obsession was simply thinly-veiled racism targeting the Black community in the wake of civil rights legislation. In short, it was white backlash. Biden wholeheartedly utilized the vitriolic rhetoric of that era, including the infamous term - PREDATOR - a dehumanizing and racist dog whistle.

13. He opposes Medicare for All.

It should be unacceptable that, in the richest country on Earth, MORE THAN 30,000 PEOPLE die every year due to lack of access to healthcare. However, Joe Biden has used RIGHT-WING TALKING POINTS to oppose the only comprehensive LEGISLATION that would insure every American citizen unconditionally.

14. He met with a Ukrainian neo-Nazi.

I know, I know. All politicians - in the service of diplomacy - need to meet with some unsavory characters, you might say. But this is a little different. Im not being hyperbolic here. Biden literally shook hands with Ukrainian Social-National Party co-founder Oleh Tyanhbok, a Sieg Heil-sporting ANTI-SEMITE. The Social-National Party was described by Tel-Aviv University as “an extremist, right-wing, nationalist organization which emphasizes its identification with the ideology of German National Socialism.”

It should be absolutely unacceptable to pal around with fascists, especially in the era of Trumpian white nationalism and right-wing terrorism. If you’re going to have a pleasant interaction with a prominent individual, at least do a quick Google search first to make sure they’re not a Nazi.

15. He voted for the Patriot Act.

The USA PATRIOT Act was an authoritarian piece of legislation that was hastily jammed through Congress in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It infringed upon BASIC CIVIL LIBERTIES, erected a domestic mass surveillance apparatus, and disproportionately targeted the AMERICAN MUSLIM COMMUNITY and anti-war activists. Due to the nationalistic fervor surrounding 9/11, most congresspeople voted in support of this law, but SOME REFUSED. Not only did Biden support this legislation, he also HELPED WRITE its predecessor.

16. He opposes marijuana legalization.

It should be clear by now that the War on Drugs is INHERENTLY racist and needs to be put to an end. Marijuana prohibition is not only a major focus of this failed policy, but it also has a notoriously RACIST HISTORY of its own. These decades of prohibition have only ensured the ubiquity of the black market, empowered drug lords, put users in unnecessary danger, and locked people up for victimless crimes. During thousands of years of recorded human use, the cannabis plant has a death toll somewhere between ZERO and ONE. And according to polls, TWO-THIRDS of Americans support full legalization. Get with the times, Joe.

17. He helped make sure student loan debt could not be discharged in bankruptcy.

As a senator, Joe Biden pushed for bankruptcy reform legislation several times in the early 2000s. Finally, in 2005, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) was passed. This law, at least in theory, was supported to prevent Americans from abusing Chapter 7 bankruptcy (although a University of North Carolina law professor later said that these abuses “didn’t necessarily exist in the first place"). However, one detrimental effect the law had in practice was that it prevented borrowers from discharging their student loan debt through bankruptcy, essentially creating the modern $1.5 trillion student debt crisis as we know it. And, as you may have guessed, JOE BIDEN WAS ONE OF THE MAIN DEMOCRATIC ADVOCATES FOR THIS LEGISLATION.

18. He has “no empathy” for millennials.

In a 2018 CONVERSATION with a reporter for the LA Times, Joe Biden had some harsh words for millennials:

“The younger generation now tells me how tough things are. Give me a break. No, no, I have no empathy for it. Give me a break. Because here’s the deal guys, we decided we were gonna change the world. And we did.

You certainly did change the world, Joe. You made it worse.

This stunning combination of gaslighting and victim-blaming is the ultimate boomerism, especially considering the fact that Biden himself was so intimately involved in crafting the NEOLIBERAL legislation that royally screwed over the millennial generation.

19. He has engaged in blatant plagiarism.

Knowing the extent of Bide’s tendency to lie, it should be no surprise that he has conducted himself in an untrustworthy manner in other ways as well. A primary example is the plagiarism Biden engaged in during his 1988 presidential campaign. As Business Insider EXPLAINED, “Incidents of plagiarism both on the campaign trail and during his time at the Syracuse University College of Law became some of the final issues that dogged Biden before he ultimately suspended his floundering campaign.”

20. He voted to repeal Glass-Steagall.

The Clinton administrations 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act was one of the primary legislative events that set the stage for the 2008 financial crisis. In the United States, this global catastrophe RESULTED IN about 8.7 million Americans losing their jobs and as many as 10 million losing their homes. As economist Joseph Stiglitz EXPLAINED:

“In November 1999, Congress repealed the Glass-Steagall Act the culmination of a $300 million lobbying effort by the banking and financial-services industries...”

“Glass-Steagall had long separated commercial banks (which lend money) and investment banks (which organize the sale of bonds and equities); it had been enacted in the aftermath of the Great Depression and was meant to curb the excesses of that era, including grave conflicts of interest.”

“When repeal of Glass-Steagall brought investment and commercial banks together, the investment-bank culture came out on top. There was a demand for the kind of high returns that could be obtained only through high leverage and big risktaking.”

21. He voted for NAFTA.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which went into effect on January 1, 1994, resulted in the further destruction of labor unions and the loss of about a million American jobs as multinational corporations raked in profits. As Lori Wallach EXPLAINED in HuffPost:

“Such outcomes include a staggering $181 billion U.S. trade deficit with NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada and the related loss of 1 million net U.S. jobs under NAFTA, growing income inequality, displacement of more than one million Mexican campesino farmers and a doubling of desperate immigration from Mexico, and more than $360 million paid to corporations after investor-state tribunal attacks on, and rollbacks of, domestic public interest policies.”

22. He is beholden to corporate interests.

So far in this listicle, what do numbers 10, 13, 17, 20, and 21 have in common? These political stances Joe Biden has taken throughout his career overwhelmingly benefited corporations at the expense of the working class. A concise illustration of this outlook took place at a fundraising event last year, when Biden told Wall Street donors that “nothing would fundamentally change for them under a Biden presidency. In THIS Guardian op-ed, Zephyr Teachout explained how Biden’s corporate campaign contributions profoundly influence his policy positions.

23. Like Trump, he bullies people who disagree with him.

Late last year at an IOWA CAMPAIGN EVENT, Biden was asked by a male audience member about his son Hunters former job with a Ukrainian energy company. Biden disputed certain aspects of the man’s line of inquiry, but instead of simply correcting the record, Biden blurted out, “You’re a damn liar.” The former vice president then began focusing on the man’s weight, calling him sedentary and even challenging him to a push-up contest. Toward the end of the exchange, Biden says, “Look, fat” before stopping himself.

In this exchange and OTHERS LIKE IT, Biden demonstrates that he is short-tempered and THIN-SKINNED - terrible traits for political leaders to have, as we all know from the last four years.

24. He entertained the idea of a Republican running mate.

This point is sort of a culmination of this entire listicle; it says a lot about Biden’s POLITICAL HISTORY. Aside from the moral and strategic problems with this, Joe Biden just has awful political instincts that fetishize “compromise” to the point of completely ignoring the needs of the American people. For shame, Joe.

25. He is experiencing cognitive challenges.

We must acknowledge Biden’s glaring COGNITIVE ISSUES, as uncomfortable as it might be. Thats why this topic is set apart from the rest; it has nothing to do with ideology, voting records, honesty, policy, or even gaffes. This is essentially a question of whether or not Joe Biden is currently “fit for office.” As you’ll know if you’ve seen any recent debates or events featuring Biden, he can often be observed slurring his speech and forgetting basic details (such as where he is, Obama’s name, etc.).

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