Vote for the lesser of two dotards

I agree with Rebecca. She’s voting for Biden because he’s somewhat better than Trump, but does not think that imposes an obligation on others to do likewise.

I’m making no predictions on the outcome of the November election. I know people are apathetic about voting at all, and are going to skip the election because they cannot bear to vote for a man who sexually assaults women, and that might depress Democratic turnout. On the other hand, Trump is such an egregious incompetent that maybe we could nominate an old stick and it would win. On the next hand over, on the basis of incompetence Trump should have been crushed in the last election; right now he’s busy fanning the flames of fear and xenophobia, and his party is engaging in widespread voter suppression, so maybe he’ll win. The president is not the product of a process that optimizes for the best person to do the job at all.

I don’t know what other people will do. My plan is to unenthusiastically vote for whoever runs against Trump, to hope they make a smart choice for the VP, and to hope Biden is at best a one-term president.


  1. Saad says

    No, no, we must tear down the system and replace it with a completely different form of government by November 2020. We will accomplish this by mumble, mumble…. and mumble!

  2. raven says

    Many people claim with some evidence from TV that Trump is showing early signs of dementia.
    Many people also claim with some evidence from TV that…Biden is showing early signs of dementia.
    Not too surprising, both are old people.

    But so what.
    Trump and the GOP are actively malevolent.
    Even if Biden was completely comatose, he would be a far better president.

  3. HidariMak says

    I’m surprised that she glossed over Trump’s own sexual assault allegations, since those are much more numerous than Biden’s. The only real choice this November will be between an inadequate candidate who won’t move the needle nearly back enough to where it was in October of 2016, and the worst president in America’s history, who will be even more embolden to destroy more in his next 4 years than in his previous 4 years. Because Trump would only brag about driving that bus over a cliff, and would do more to encourage a rapes en route.

  4. kome says

    Returning to a political landscape that gave us Trump in the first place – which is what a vote for Biden is, in effect – will accomplish nothing. And that’s even if Biden wins, which he won’t. The DNC will not change if we keep falling in line behind whatever piece of garbage candidate they force on us out of fear of the Republican candidate. They will just continue to take progressives for granted and try to shame us with a “what other choice do you have” false dilemma. A political ethos entirely centered on immediate harm-reduction just does not work. That way lies Stockholm Syndrome or learned helplessness, and nothing more. And given that Biden can barely muster enthusiasm from his own supporters (24%, according to an ABC/WaPo poll, while Trump has 53% of his supporters showing strong enthusiasm), this election is already Trump’s, so the goals need to be downballot voting and giving enough votes to a third party or independent candidate that it sends the DNC a message.

    It’s like that saying: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” We can’t solve everything by election day, but that is no excuse for kicking the can further and further down the road. And anyone demanding that a proposed alternative to voting for Biden needs to be perfect is part of the problem that gave us Trump in the first place. Either people need to live up to the values they claim to have or admit that they don’t actually have those values.

  5. billseymour says

    If the election were held today, I’d vote the way PZ suggests for the same set of reasons.

    I don’t really fear that Trump will mop the floor with Biden, but I have a great fear that smarter Republicans will return Trump to office due to their lack of basic human decency. We’ll see…

  6. anxionnat says

    Sexually assaulting women is the least of it. Biden, specifically, has for the last 30+ years been shitting all over everything that I–and everyone even vaguely liberal that I know–care(s) about. As far as a “compromise candidate”, and how we on the Left need to vote for such a person–don’t get me started. Yes, I’m willing to vote for a compromise candidate. Bernie Sanders was that compromise candidate. I was, and am, critical of Bernie: he has some horrible positions; he’s made some horrible votes in the Senate. But, OK, I’m willing to vote for the guy because he’s pressurable. He did listen to what his constituents were saying. What I’m not willing to do is vote for a right-winger wearing a Democratic hat, who doesn’t have an uncompromised bone in his body, which is what Biden is. Since I first voted in 1972, I’ve noticed that every 4 years, the shit-shovelers get to work, and tell (not ask) those of us on the Left to vote for candidate X because candidate Y is Evil Incarnate. But when I actually look into candidate X’s policies, record, and so on (not candidate X’s personality, beautiful wife, or whatever) candidate X is not-so-wonderful. And those shit-shovelers are right back to their old tricks this year. Sorry–you’ve been saying the same thing for the last 48 years that I know of, and it’s always the same old shit, and I ain’t buying it. In this country, as long as I’ve been voting, only two possible positions have been presented as possible along the left-right axis of political discourse (and none along at least several other axes that I could name. Rich-poor is one I am particularly interested in.) Those two acceptable positions are Corporate Democrat and, since the 1970s, Right-Wing Nut-Job Republican. Corporate Repubs used to be a thing, as did “Liberal” Repubs, but they’ve become increasingly scarce in my lifetime. I don’t fall into either of those two constrictive categories. So, do I feel disenfranchised? Yes. Am I willing to vote for a compromise candidate like Bernie Sanders? Yes. Am I willing to settle for the same-old same-old. No. So, I refuse to vote for the same-old same-old–Biden in this case. Doing so would mean compromising to the point of lying down and being trampled all over, and I won’t do that. I do have some personal integrity, after all.

  7. lotharloo says

    Fuck yes, this is exactly what I have been arguing. Nobody will dare to tell Reade to vote for Biden yet people come up with bullshit arguments on why “note voting for Biden is the same as voting for Trump”. I completely agree with Rebecca Watson. It’s fine if you vote for Biden and it’s fine if you don’t. Both are reasonable and defensible choices. It just come down to your own personal philosophy:

    A) You can be a tactical voter, who votes for the lesser of two evils. You don’t consider “not voting” a valid option. You always try to maximize your gains and reduce your losses. From your point of view, since not voting is not an option, the rational choice is to pick the less evil one. You also care about how other people vote. You would not vote for non-viable candidates because that would “wasting your vote”.

    B) Or you can be a voter who only votes based on their own preference. Here, not only non-viable candidates are valid options, you also consider not voting a valid option. You do not treat voting as an abstract game where you trying to maximize gains and minimize losses. You view voting as a system of registering your honest preference. Let me repeat, you think voting is a way of registering your own honest preference. Thus, if your preference is for no one, you don’t vote, if your preference is for people considered non-viable, you still vote for them.

    Here’s the thing. Both views are valid but since here people assume that the 2nd option is stupid, let me give a few words in its defense. There’s a problem with tactical voting that is ignored by pretty much everyone who is arguing for it: in tactical voting, you change your vote based on how other people vote. This means, you can end up in a situation where shitty choices that nobody likes ends up being popular. Perhaps not unlike how Biden himself got popular because people thought, you know, smart logical tactical voters, that Bernie is not electable. Now, probably Biden could have won regardless but there is no denying that a non-negligible portion of his votes came from tactical voters.

    So yes, both choices are fine. Stick to your philosophy and don’t be an asshole to other people who have a different view of voting.

  8. says

    Unless there is some medical issue with any of the candidates, the results of the elections will be decided not by anything Biden will do but by how effective will be Trump in PR-handling the coronavirus.
    He may completely blew the response, it doesn’t matter if there will be 300k deaths, only how good he will look doing it matters.

    That being said, declaring today #blunomatterwho or #NeverBiden is suboptimal solution at best. What I think should be done is pressuring Biden to adopt as much of progressive agenda as possible using your vote as bargaining chip, while understanding that one issue taken seriously is better than vague promises on all of them.
    Decision how to vote will be necessary closer to the election. If November was only about Biden or Trump for 4 years then answer would be definitely vote Biden.
    However, if Biden wins, than most likely Biden’s VP will be the one who will steer DNC for the next 12 years and at least she will be DNC’s default candidate in ’24 (like HRC in ’16 and Obama’s VP in ’20).
    If election results are certain, than definitely don’t vote Biden. If Biden’s win is assured, it’s better if the results are not so good DNC will lulled in false optimism. In case reelection is certain, the Harder Biden loses, the bigger chance ’24 primaries will be fair.

  9. asclepias says

    Here’s the thing: one of these two will be voted into office. None of the third-party candidates have ever done better than a few percentage points. It really sucks–not denying that–I would have preferred Bernie. But I will be voting for Biden and doing my damnedest to flip the senate. Democrats all the way down.

  10. Pierce R. Butler says

    anxionnat @ # 9 (& fellow travelers): … I refuse to vote for the same-old same-old–Biden in this case. Doing so would mean compromising to the point of lying down and being trampled all over, and I won’t do that.

    Uh, very nice & self-righteous. Have you noticed that the net effect of a Trump™ win this year will be the same, only more so?

  11. says

    Simple Equation: Never Biden = Trump 2020!

    Another Equation: Biden or Trump? “It doesn’t matter” = complete conservative control of the Courts for 20+ years

  12. says

    I’m not quite at that point yet but some people are fine accepting a Trump presidency instead of voting for Biden so they can shove it Democrat faces that they aren’t putting good candidates up. And some are ready for the system to burn down and be reset.

    It’s a valid response because they’ve reasons to expect worse than Biden in 2024. The Ds don’t have a good record there. Maybe it’s inevitable for them that the push towards agitation begins. I can’t say we’re not there yet. I’m watching the same general kind of paranoia over a rape accusation as I did with Kavanaugh. I thought the Ds were better than this and I was wrong.

  13. mnb0 says

    Yeah, because it doesn’t matter that as a vice-president Biden was co-responsible for killing Yemenite civilians by means of drones. It doesn’t matter that by voting for Biden you justify and maintain a rotten political system that only serves the interests of an egotistical elite and gives you the choice between one murderer another.

    @2: “Even if Biden was completely comatose, he would be a far better president.”
    For you liberals indeed. For the people in Yemen not really. But they don’t matter. Instead of Make America Great Again your motto is America Only. For instance Yemenites are disposable.

    @3: Yup and voting for Biden is going the make a change. Not.

    @12: “Here’s the thing: one of these two will be voted into office.”
    And in both cases huge parts of our planet are screwed badly, with your vote as justification.

    @14: Simple equation: in every scenario as sketched by you there will be a murderer in the White House. But why would you care, if you’re better off with murderer B iso murderer T? Like I wrote, America Only is your motto.

  14. says

    @#13, Pierce R. Butler
    @#14, kenmiller

    By Biden’s own statements, his policy on coronavirus should he get into office won’t actually differ significantly from what Trump is now doing. And from his own statements, he thinks economics should outweigh science on policy, and that the most important principle in economics is that the rich should be protected from interference — scientists say “cut out emissions by 2030 or we die”, Biden says “I can maybe set up a roadmap which might get us there by 2050, but most of the spending and work has to happen after I leave office and/or am dead”. And from his own statements, even if Congress decides to try and pass anything more ambitious which he deems “too expensive”, he will veto it. He is a dead end for the Democrats, and for anybody rational, no matter what, by his own words. And that’s now, while he still has to try to shoal up support from the Democratic Party. What he’ll be like after the post-convention rightward lurch begins does not bear thinking about — he’ll probably choose a Republican VP (he has publicly mulled over doing that!) and refuse to fund anything at all unless Congress bans abortion (the one issue he stayed consistent on up through 2010).

    Not even the “but what about the judges with tomatoes and sour cream?!?!” argument holds up; this is the guy who gave us Clarence Thomas because he wanted to get Roe vs. Wade reversed.

    It’s mildly hilarious to watch people like you get more and more upset, because the people behind Biden really don’t care if they lose. That’s been the whole problem, since the beginning of this campaign: the people who are fine with another 4 years of Trump are the ones who are backing Biden, and they would seriously prefer that to Warren or Sanders or anybody who stands any chance of not screwing things up so completely that everybody under 30 might as well commit suicide now and skip the “decades of grinding, horrific poverty before a miserable death by ecological crisis” part.

  15. Michael says

    As a Canadian observer, the problem I see is that like Hillary, Biden is a vote for same old same old. You need a candidate to inspire people to vote for them, not just so that the other candidate doesn’t get in. Unless Biden picks a running mate that inspires people like Bernie did, then I expect Trump to win again in November.

  16. stroppy says

    ‘Biden somewhat better than Trump:’ Not sure whether that rhetorical sentiment does relatively more to diminish Biden or to normalize Trump.

    For me Biden is certainly less than satisfactory in the long view; short term he’s a baling wire and chewing gum stop gap. Trump is an absolute disaster at all time scales.

  17. says

    My prediction for November is the lowest voter turnout in history.

    ✓ another round of ethnically cleansed voter rolls
    ✓ refusal to mail ballots to certain areas
    ✓ refusal to count mailed ballots from certain areas
    ✓ insuffient number of polling stations on the day
    ✓ shuttering USPS to ensure only those who can afford courier get a ballot, the biggest and newest Poll Tax in US history

    The list of those who vote will look like South African apartheid era elections. And that’s not by accident.

  18. Pierce R. Butler says

    The Vicar… @ # 17 – You call me out by name and comment number, but then do not address my point at all – except possibly by a flat-out lie:

    … the people who are fine with another 4 years of Trump are the ones who are backing Biden…

    Reality check: the Biden-bashers, by all appearances, “are fine with another 4 years of Trump” – so long as they get to prance around proclaiming their own superiority over all the rest of us.

  19. says

    @20 Intransitive

    Don’t forget using the virus itself, whether or not the actual lockdown continues, to forcibly reduce access to what polling places exist under the excuse of ‘public health concerns’. With that one alone, I think Trump’s got it sewn up now, and may have taken the world down with him in the process.

  20. Kagehi says

    My take on this was that if I thought for one damn minute that a sufficient number of other disenfranchised people would opt to write in a name, instead of voting for one of the people picked for us, I would happily give them all a middle finger, by writing in the name of who I actually wanted. But, since getting people to actually do such a thing, instead of just going along with this BS, would be a campaign in and of itself.. They don’t give me a real option, and more than the “parties” do.

    I am, never the less, reminded of the movie, years back, with Richard Prior, I believe, in which he, to spend a mess of money (so he could inherit more money, sadly), ran a campaign of, “Vote None Of The Above.” Sadly, unlike a certain disastrous fictional Senate, we don’t have, as one of the options, the ability, or apparently right, to say, “We have no confidence in either choice. Try the F again!” Maybe we should?

  21. velociraptor says

    Found in a couple of different places, but sums up some of the posts rather nicely:

    Jack’s Raging Bile (Twitter)

    “Joe wasn’t my 1st choice
    Joe wasn’t my 2nd choice
    Joe wasn’t even my 3rd choice

    But I’m a fucking adult who understands that another 4 yrs of Trump, Barr, and this Senate of enablers would be the end of a functioning democratic republic.

    Grow tf up.”

    Not sure where this one came from:

    “Not voting, when you know what Trump is, and how existentially dangerous he is, regardless of how you feel about Biden, is an act of monumental selfishness, immaturity and cowardice worthy of Trump himself.”

  22. Owlmirror says

    I had some 21st-century ideas.

    1) Massive write-in campaign for Sanders(&Warren?) organized and boosted via Twitter.

    2) MMPORG caucuses and rallies.

    3) Multiple clusters of online meetings to coordinate everything.

    Ironically, I am not even capable of doing more than suggesting this, because I don’t Twitter or game, and I don’t have what it takes to drive a meeting.

    I can think of a couple huge problems: How can this occur with only honest actors, and exclude bots/trolls/other hostile+disruptive agents? Tie participation/registration to a physical address? Have clusters of meetings, where everyone involved shows their face and an ID?

    It probably wouldn’t work, but is it not even worth trying?

  23. says

    We know what’s going to happen.
    Because it already happened.
    Trump will win.
    Democrats will blame it on the left, learn nothing and prepare for a repeat performance in ’24.
    Meanwhile, the US and the rest of the world slide further into late capitalist hell and the end of humanity draws closer.

  24. robro says

    One Two Three Four
    If I had ever been here before
    I would probably know just what to do
    Don’t you?
    If I had ever been here before on another time around the wheel
    I would probably know just how to deal
    With all of you
    And I feel…Like I’ve been here before
    Feel…Like I’ve been here before
    And you know it makes me wonder
    What’s going on under the ground, hmmm
    Do you know? Don’t you wonder?
    What’s going on down under you
    We have all been here before, we have all been here before

  25. says

    @#21, Pierce R. Butler:

    Biden’s supporters are the very rich. His PAC’s large donations were noticeably made by Trump supporters, his personal financial backing comes from very rich people who he assured that “nothing will fundamentally change” (his exact words, apparently) if he is elected. He’s rich, himself, and it sticks out like a sore thumb that his major reason for coming out of retirement was that multiple candidates were floating the idea of a wealth tax. Do you seriously think he, or any of his wealthy backers, would mind if Trump won? Ridiculous.

    On the other hand, to those of us who don’t support him, a Biden Presidency would just be a Trump presidency under another name. Aside from the “nothing will fundamentally change” thing, he has not only made it clear that he values the performance of the economy by rich-person measures like the Dow over human lives but that not even a serious disaster will change his mind (even after the count of newly unemployed topped 10 million in the middle of an epidemic, Biden took time out of his busy schedule of fellating the 1% — metaphorically, I assume but cannot prove — to reaffirm on national television that he would still veto any attempt at single-payer that made it through Congress), and he is demonstrably a science denialist. He has a history of racism, sexism, and homophobia, and even if you don’t believe the rape accusation he has been credibly accused of inappropriate behavior by 7 other women, long before the rape accusation was made public. (And he apparently knew the accusation was coming — he hired a PR flack who specializes in dealing with that, well in advance — which means it’s pretty certainly true.) His views on economics and foreign policy have been shown time and time again to be stupid and wrong (he said as recently as 2012 that even if he had known Bush was lying, which he would have if he had been doing his job and had listened to the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he still would have voted for the Iraq invasion, despite that war having been a demonstrable disaster as early as 2005) and boil down to “protect the interests of the rich, with violence if necessary”.

    He is, in other words, not really a departure from Trump at all. A vote for Biden is a vote for continuing Trump’s policies and stupidities. Therefore: people who support Biden are supporting keeping Trump in office under a different name. You might as well give the original one a Biden mask and let him take over — he’d probably be better at running the campaign than Biden.

    Oh, okay, I do see a difference: Biden wouldn’t use Twitter. Unfortunately, I get the impression that that’s because Biden stopped understanding or being able to use new technology around the time Pac-Man was released.

  26. says

    “But I’m a fucking adult who understands that another 4 yrs of Trump, Barr, and this Senate of enablers would be the end of a functioning democratic republic.”
    We have a functioning democratic republic?

    “‘Not voting, when you know what Trump is, and how existentially dangerous he is, regardless of how you feel about Biden, is an act of monumental selfishness, immaturity and cowardice worthy of Trump himself.”’
    I notice no mention of people’s reasons for not voting.

  27. Pierce R. Butler says

    The Vicar… @ # 28 – I suppose repeating your previous falsities counts as a reply, sort of.

    Hint: not all of us desperate to rescue what little we can from the ongoing catastrophe occupy the top economic levels.

    Why not revise your ‘nym to “The Vicar (Trump Chump!)”?

  28. Pierce R. Butler says

    Brony… @ # 29 – pls notice the part about “monumental selfishness, immaturity and cowardice”.

  29. consciousness razor says

    An article about non-voters, based on this Pew Research survey on the 2016 election.

    Those who didn’t vote, compared to those who did:
    — Lower age (66% under 49 vs. 43% under 40 among voters)
    — Fewer whites, more racial minorities (52% white vs. 74% among voters)
    — Lower education (51% “HS or less” vs. 30% among voters)
    — Lower income (56% less than $30k income vs. 28% among voters)

    More detail in this chart, which can also be found via the other links above.

  30. kome says

    Lot of people on here – and not just in this comment thread – are being disingenuous, it appears. I’m not seeing anyone suggest “not voting.” I’m seeing people say don’t vote for Biden or Trump. It is possible to vote without voting for either of those two. This is something that “orange man bad” or “blue no matter who” voters seem to be deliberately ignoring so they can try to shame progressives into falling in line. Set up a false dilemma and then guilt people who see another way out.

    As a strategy, it didn’t work in 2016. Can’t imagine why these same people think it’ll work in 2020.

  31. consciousness razor says

    Correction: “66% under 49 vs. 43% under 49 among voters”
    Sorry, that was a typo. It’s comparing the same range of ages.

    Also note that, for the sake of brevity, I only gave one part of the data in each category, but you consistently see the same pattern elsewhere (as the chart shows). For example, only 15% of non-voters had income over $75k, compared to 33% of voters.

  32. consciousness razor says

    Best thing you can do now: convince people in the rest of the states (almost half of them still remaining) to vote for Sanders in their primary.

    Biden may or may not be the nominee once we finally have the convention, but Sanders still needs to be in the strongest possible position to move the party in the right direction. Pretending like it’s already November is for people who are devoted to the idea that Biden should be as shitty as he can be, which is not what anyone should want.

  33. says

    My 0.00005$= Biden will loose. BIGTIME! Just imagine Trump’s signature ridicule against a half-senile half-wit like Biden? Remember the old adage: “Never argue with an idiot”.

  34. LeftSidePositive says

    @33: Kome, voting for anything other than Trump or Biden is not voting. Sorry, but this is math. Evil authoritarians get where they are by understanding the rules of the game and how to exploit them. Pretending the rules are different so you can do what you want just lets them walk all over you, and (this is the really crucial part) MAKES IT MUCH MORE DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO CHANGE THOSE RULES GOING FORWARD. This is how democracies die. I don’t agree with Rebecca that we shouldn’t judge how other people vote. If you don’t vote or vote for anyone other than Joe Biden in the general election you are fucking dead to me, because you will be killing thousands if not millions of Americans, and literally innumerable people in the rest of the world.

  35. LeftSidePositive says

    @36: what are you going to do to prevent that from happening? I’m scared, but if Biden loses it’s the end of democracy as we know it (and yes, democracy as we know it is flawed as fuck, but that’s no excuse to fall into a fucking dictatorship!).

  36. says

    @LeftSidePositive #36:
    Are you absolutely sure you’re not exaggerating just a tiiiny bit there? Has he done any move so far that would ensure him power beyond the second term? Seeriously, can you really imagine him going the distance?
    And while I don’t mean to play the “both sides” card, this is pretty much what the other side said during Obama.

    Seen from the outside US politics is weirder than the Cardassians, sorry the Kardashians.

    I have a pet theory (you know the ones that are simple, elegant and wrong) that he won simply because he’s such a buffoon. With him, at least you know exactly how you’re getting fucked. And Donalds special brand of shitshow tends to rub off.

    Basically they voted in Pepé Le Pew as a joke on them. Please let it be so. Just let me have that to hold on to while I wait for corvid to finish me off.

  37. consciousness razor says

    Um, Sanders suspended his campaign days ago?

    No clue you think that implies. His name will be on ballots, in upcoming elections where people still have a right to vote.

    Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Warren, Bloomberg, etc., all continued to get votes after their campaigns were suspended.

  38. reallythisisapain says

    I have been saying for over a year, if the democrats nominate a bag of hammers I will vote bag of hammers. Sigh, Bag of Hammers, 2020!

  39. rpjohnston says

    Primaries are where you push for the army you want, generals are where you fight with the army you have, to paraphrase the saw.

    Unfortunately, although we did make some gains downballot, Progressives not only didn’t win the presidential nom, we’re stuck with the establishment Dems’ first choice instead of one of their alts. I’m surprised, I’ve pushed hard to appeal to minority and young non-voters but for some reason they just didn’t turn out. I have some ideas on why that might be, but that’s a different discussion.

    At any rate, Biden is the army we have. Sanders will still be on the ballots and can try to shore up his position to make the army better of course, but the nominee will be Biden. None of us like it but that’s the reality.

    The work we desperately needs still needs to be done. The people who will do it, will do it. Any of us here can become one of them, or we can join their organizations to support them, etc, rather than just complaining. If Trump wins, none of that work can be done. We probably won’t get another chance, as he’ll dismantle the last shreds of democracy and all the haters will hang right next to Pelosi and Perez. And if by some miracle we manage to avoid inescapable fascism, Progressive work will be set even more decades back.

    With Biden, those who will do the work, can do the work. Which again, could mean any of us, in addition to those like Warren, sanders, Stacey Abrams, Charlotte Clymer, etc. Organize and fight for the progress we need.

    I’m still only 31 and don’t have any (severe) health problems yet but I’ll get there and my retail job is gonna keep me fucked. I’m going to do the work I have to to secure my future and I’ll be damned if anybody sacrifices me on the altar of their sanctimony.

  40. microraptor says

    First of all, I’d like to remind everyone that thanks to the country’s spectacularly undemocratic electoral college, most people’s votes don’t actually matter in November. Unless you’re in a swing state, it will have zero impact.

    Second of all, Biden is only a better choice if he’s going to stand up to conservatives. Which is the opposite of what he says he’s going to do.

  41. LeftSidePositive says

    @41. Yes I can absolutely imagine it. Where the fuck have you been? And even if he hasn’t—his justice department is functionally saying presidents should be above the law and Republicans are going along with it. ICE is locking people up and doesn’t particularly care if they’re citizens. Trans people are having their voting registrations and passports threatened. His SCOTUS is facilitating mass disenfranchisement. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?! This isn’t a game. Pay attention.

  42. LeftSidePositive says

    @46 Biden is a better choice if he will nominate liberal justices. He will be a better choice if he will scale back drone strikes from Trump levels. He will be a better choice if he can appoint halfway competent people to manage a pandemic. He will be a better choice if he won’t veto progressive legislation. He will be a better choice if his AG will defend voting rights. I could go on…

  43. microraptor says

    @48: All of those things require Biden to be willing to stand up to Republicans. Something that he has a long history of not doing, and something that he’s been saying he isn’t going to do. He’s been very consistent on his interest in working with Republicans.

  44. dorght says

    4 more years of Trump’s damage vs 4 to 8 years of Biden’s.
    I’m really wanting to bet on a young truly progressive candidate emerging and rallying a large majority against Trump’s regime, his heir-apparent, and congress in the 2024 election. An opportunity that won’t happen if, somehow, Biden wins 2020 and runs for re-election (and likely loses) in 2024.

  45. rpjohnston says

    @50 Literally the opposite. And that’s the exact same stupid “really, how bad he can be?” take that comfortable-ass leftists said in 2016. Well, now we aren’t even sure if the election won’t be fixed, that’s how bad. As I already said if Trump wins there won’t be a 2024 election in any meaningful sense. At best they’ll keep around a Vichy Democratic party to play boogeyman for their grunting goblin base that will have as much chance of winning anything as Saddam Hussein or Putin’s opponents. Endgame.

    Besides that you’re essentially telling all the people who will die and suffer under Trump that they can get fucked and hopefully their sacrifice will spur Dems to do better next time. Which was also what smug assholes said in 2016. Fuck that.

    Biden wins, we can continue building the movement, force his hand where possible, knock out more establishment Dems, and try again for the top prize. And, y’know, just in case the House falls, there’s a backup branch. The more parts of the government we control, the better. There is no reason to intentionally dive on any of them.

  46. mickll says

    @ 32 Which makes whole threads like this really weird. Politically engaged Bernie fans are mostly going to hold their noses and vote Biden, politically engaged Biden fans are going to vote Biden and be enthusiastic about it while the vast majority of people who won’t vote are disengaged from politics, hence in all likelihood won’t be listening.

  47. velociraptor says


    I think you are more correct then you realize. I have mentioned here a few times that many, if not most, of the posters here have not been materially effected by Trump’s presidency at all. Staying at home/voting 3rd party/voting for the non Dem nominee smacks of the worst sort of privilege (you know, what many of these folks love railing about). It is ridiculous to me that these folks want as their standard bearer a guy who is 78 years old (79 on election day), owns three homes and is a millionaire himself – you know, one of the 1%. Do you folks really believe that President Bernie will wave a magic wand and make everything all better by fait?

    The first rule of treating a gunshot wound – stop the effing bleeding. At the moment, that chance is probably Biden.

    Listen up and let me clue some of you in on why the Fascists win – for the last few decades, while you pouted, they VOTED. And they voted because they understood that getting part of what they wanted was better than getting NONE of it. They organized and took over the GOP at the grass-roots level, and now we are seeing the results. They gained control, purged the moderates, and now the lunatics are running the asylum. So guess what, you need to do the same damn thing. And if you can’t sell your ideas, you might have to face another thing more unpalatable – maybe your ideas aren’t that good to begin with – or perhaps you just suck at selling them. I don’t agree that the Left has bad ideas, but I am a pragmatic adult, and it is obvious many of you are not.

  48. Pierce R. Butler says

    dorght @ # 50: I’m really wanting to bet on a young truly progressive candidate emerging and rallying a large majority against Trump’s regime…

    Nice fantasy world you live in. Say hi to Santa, Jesus, your fairy godmother & the knight in shining armor for me.

  49. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    At this point, if Biden were to crater–either due to allegations of sexual impropriety or just because he’s Joe Biden, it would likely result in an open convention. The result might actually be a better candidate, but it would be a less democratic process. Bernie would likely be the early front-runner, but he would not get the nomination, as there is strong opposition as he clearly doesn’t have majority support. Liz might pick up some support, but would likely not get the nomination after having alienated the donor class. Amy Klobuchar might emerge as an acceptable compromise candidate, or the nomination might become an open contest, taking many ballots to reach a majority. Cuomo might emerge as a dark horse, given his leadership in the COVID crisis. This might make for an interesting match up going into November.

    If Biden manages to hold on and get the nomination, I think his choice for VP could be very important–not just in terms of party unity, but also because Joe is 77 years old, and the Presidency is a bitch of a job that taxes the resources of even much younger men. (Note: DJT has aged less than most, but that is because he hasn’t really been doing the job.) It is quite possible Biden wouldn’t make it through his first term, and if he did, I think it is unlikely he would run for a second. A strong, progressive woman in the VP slot might be the best shot we have to place such a person in the Whitehouse.

    It is also critical not to neglect the Senate. If Dems can take the Senate, then even if Darth Cheeto gets back in, he will be hamstringed, and we can halt the procession of unqualified numpties into lifetime judicial appointments.

  50. says

    I just want to point out that as Consciousness Razor pointed out back on comment 32:

    An article about non-voters, based on this Pew Research survey on the 2016 election.

    Those who didn’t vote, compared to those who did:
    — Lower age (66% under 49 vs. 43% under 40 among voters)
    — Fewer whites, more racial minorities (52% white vs. 74% among voters)
    — Lower education (51% “HS or less” vs. 30% among voters)
    — Lower income (56% less than $30k income vs. 28% among voters)

    More detail in this chart, which can also be found via the other links above.

    I see a lot of comments here completely ignoring this as being even a possibility, and characterizing any and all people choosing not to vote as childish, privileged, etc.

    I’m sure there are elements of that, but as usual, the reality seems to be a bit more complex. One of the key elements of critical thinking is noting when evidence contradicts what seems like it ought to be true, and working to take that into account. If, as a non-trivial amount of data suggest, a sizable portion of non-voters are NOT over-privileged, immature, etc., then maybe there are other factors at work.

    I think some folks on the Sanders end of things tried to sound the alarm on at least some of what that is, and were largely ignored. Some of them are STILL trying to point out that simply yelling at people to vote for the lesser of two evils isn’t going to solve the problem.

    And the response is still a fairly uniform, “if you’re saying that you must be privileged and selfish”, which still ignores at least part of the problem, and doesn’t actually address the concern.

    Personally, I believe that voting for the lesser evil in this case is the right call, provided it comes with real effort to build a working-class/socialist movement to provide an infrastructure of support for left politicians outside of the two-party system. I think that work will be easier to do without the constant shitstorm of the Trump administration sapping everyone’s energy.

    But there’s a difference between making that case, and just insulting everyone who isn’t willing to vote for Biden. If the numbers cited above are correct, when you accuse non-voters of being selfish and privileged, some of the people getting that message are going to know that it’s incorrect, and that you’re making an argument that doesn’t even acknowledge their existence, let alone their reasons for what they do.

    It’s a nice bit of rhetoric, but as with many, it’s too simplistic, and if your messaging doesn’t account for reality, it’s likely to be counter-productive. I don’t want Trump to win, so I hope some folks here take that on board, and reconsider how they go about this.

  51. rpjohnston says

    To be honest, this article pretty much says everything.

    @55 Yeah, once the Republicans have been stomped out of existence the Democratic Party can split into the 4 or so parties it actually is, and Joe Biden and Joe Manchin and Joe Donnelly can go make their Conservative Joe Party while we follow AOC et al for a Progressive Party and we can finally get some sane politics going. Going to need the electoral reforms to deal with a multi-party system though. Also, the Republican Party isn’t going to be diminished to nothing anytime soon (though with enough time and effort we’ll get there) so those multiparty reforms will come while it still exists, and our various Left to Center parties will have to make coalitions to beat them. Preferable to our current system, though.

    @53 One thing is that I don’t care about Sanders’ social status. Anyone running for President is going to have gobs of money. It’s how our system works. That needs to be changed, but we have to win first in order to change it, and that means electing someone with gobs of money. (Sanders has one of the smallest gobs, but still). Otherwise, I’m in agreement. I actually do have – or pass for – lots of privilege; aside from continuing the decay since 2008 and offending my sense of justice on a daily basis, Trump hasn’t done much to me, personally. I could just sit out, but I’m not: as per your last paragraph, I’m getting involved. The County Democratic Party’s LGBTQ+ committee is open to anyone who walks in, so I did; I’ve canvassed in last year’s elections and these primaries; I’m looking to continue to expand my role in politics. Be the change I want to see, and all that; and also call my reps, advocating for what I believe in. My governor just signed a whole slew of reforms since we took unified control, from gun laws to clean energy laws, LGBTQ protections and voting reforms and minimum-wage increase. A lot more work to be done, but the work has to be done, and it will be done because we’ll do it.

  52. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    At this point, the two-party system in the US is fundamentally undemocratic. It has been relatively easy for monied interests to take over the leadership of both parties, and the results the system produces are virtually guaranteed to produce results that do not satisfy the majority of voters.
    In my opinion, the best way to reform the system is to institute preferential voting systems or rank voting. Not only would this undermine the stranglehold the two parties have on elections, it could also undermine the influence of money–as all one has to do is make it into the “top few” preferences of a majority of voters.
    Under such a system, voters could make their displeasure with a mainstream party’s choice known without throwing away their vote or staying home. The question is can we get at least one of the parties to support a change that seems to undermine their narrow interests, but may promote their long-term interests by promoting democracy.

  53. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Since elections are run by the states, and many states have citizen referendums, there is no reason why petitions couldn’t be circulated to put say, requiring the use of rank or instant run-off systems on the ballot. All it requires is some effort. Those complaining about FPTP need to lead the effort to get the petitions out there, get signatures, and get them filed with the appropriate state authority get it on a ballot.

  54. LeftSidePositive says

    @59—yes, some of us do that. Does that change the fact that people convincing themselves that not voting is praxis are idiots?

  55. DanDare says

    The solution to the problem is simple, walk AND chew gum. I.e. act within the current system to push for the lesser of two evills and work hard at the same time to get a better system in place.

  56. rpjohnston says

    @57 Yeah discarding FPTP is one of the reforms I want to push hard, if I get to a point of influence.

    @58 Then give up and die whining