An open letter to Democrats everywhere
Today, Bernie Sanders dropped out of the Presidential race. With him goes millions of regular, working-class people who normally don’t vote, including me. Joe Biden is now the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party, and will go on to face Trump in November.
When Bernie Sanders ran for President in 2016, I was still in high school. I was so young that I couldn’t even vote for him in the primary, though I hoped to do so in a general. I was a young transgender man, the son of two high-school teachers, furious about police violence and the fact that I couldn’t afford college without going deeply into debt.
Bernie was the only politician saying things that made sense. The only one acknowledging how messed-up it was that every other developed nation in the world had figured out that healthcare shouldn’t be for profit, and in the U.S. people were (still are) dying from rationing insulin.
When Bernie conceded in the primary in 2016, I cried. And then I sucked it up. I voted in the general election, my first election ever, for Hillary Clinton, a candidate whom I hated for everything she represented: war, corporate profits, and faux-feminism that left everyday women like my mother and sisters behind.
Trump won anyway.
Four years have passed since then. I got involved in politics. I campaigned for other socialists like myself, recruited people to get involved, stood on picket lines with striking workers, fought for reforms. We won a few key battles. We also lost some.
When Bernie announced his campaign, this time I was ready. Myself and hundreds of fellow activists campaigned for him around the country. Our movement was insanely strong. I remember seeing photos of people campaigning for Bernie in Nevada on HORSEBACK.
And March 2, I remembered — in the Democratic primaries, nominees aren’t elected. They’re coronated.
Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, both of whom had been running strong campaigns until that moment, suddenly dropped out within hours of each other, and fell immediately in lock-step behind Joe Biden. Beto O’Rourke, who had been silent for months after dropping out, came out of hiding at the SAME TIME to endorse Joe Biden.
The next day, Biden’s campaign — which until that moment had been a joke of an apparatus dragging a has-been neoliberal behind them and losing every primary — came out of Super Tuesday a winner.
That’s cheap political maneuvering. Plain and simple. And it worked.
The entire primary, Bernie’s politics guided the whole party. Medicare for All, just a few years ago a ‘pipe dream,’ became a litmus test. Candidates were forced to answer on why they didn’t support a Green New Deal. The words out of everybody’s mouth were “I agree with Bernie, BUT…”
Last week, Bernie played a decisive role in stopping Republicans from putting cruel carve-outs into the coronavirus relief bill. Biden was silent.
Now, after Bernie has dropped out, everyone is coming out of the woodwork to tell me I need to vote for Joe Biden. They tell me it’s the only way to defeat Trump. They tell me it’s my duty and my vote matters.
Bernie supporters have been pointing out the math for months. Bernie Sanders was the candidate that consistently beat Trump in polling, time after time after time, when no other candidate could. If you wanted a candidate that could beat Trump, YOU should have voted for Bernie.
Joe Biden is responsible for mass incarceration.
Joe Biden opposes Medicare for All.
Joe Biden voted for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Joe Biden led the charge on incarcerating undocumented immigrants — in much the same way Trump is continuing now.
Joe Biden is an alleged rapist and at the very least a sexual predator towards young women.
For those of you who want Trump out for the sake of avoiding a reactionary Supreme Court — Joe Biden led the smear campaign against Anita Hill and guaranteed the appointment of Clarence Thomas.
The Democratic Party has made a fatal mistake in coronating Joe Biden as their nominee. It was never my job to suck it up and vote for the lesser of two evils, it’s the candidate’s job to prove they’re worth my vote. (That is, in fact, what campaigning is.)
Joe Biden never did that. And in fact, when asked hard questions, he repeatedly told voters not to vote for him if they disagreed with him.
Agreed, Joe. You’re on your own in November.
And to all of you who belligerently act as if Biden automatically deserves my support, as if my vote is essential to the effort and I’m guaranteeing a Trump re-election, I say this:
If the Bernie supporters are so essential that you can’t win without us, then maybe you should have tried listening to us.
Sincerely, a guy who will never vote Democrat again.