By Savanah Mandeville
You can riot in the streets and still vote.
Approximately one hour ago, I learned that Bernie Sanders dropped out of the presidential race. The news absolutely derailed me emotionally. As I write this, I feel weak, shaken, and defeated.
Nevermind that the writing was on the wall.
Nevermind that the Wisconsin primaries yesterday (April 8th) literally forced people to risk their lives to make it to the polls. Wisconsin Democrats wanted to extend absentee voting and even postpone the election altogether, but Republicans blocked both in court.
Nevermind that Missouri voted overwhelmingly in favor of Biden in our primaries on March 10th. Nevermind that it had been three full weeks since I’d woken up at four o’clock in the morning in a cold sweat with the gripping realization that Biden was probably going to clinch the nomination.
I still wasn’t prepared for the news.
To make matters worse, the sexual assault allegations leveled against Biden by a former staffer, Tara Reade, came abysmally too late. With Biden’s delegate lead at 311, Bernie’s chances were looking slim. You can blame the mainstream media for Tara Reade’s bad timing because she tried to go public months ago. You can also blame Time’s Up, the organization established after the #MeToo movement, because they closed their door on Reade too. Maybe if we’d heard Reade’s accusation before Super Tuesday and COVID-19, things would’ve turned out differently.
With COVID-19 devouring all mainstream reporting in the weeks surrounding Reade’s statement, the last I checked, even Fox News had only published one measly article on the allegations against the Democratic frontrunner. Um, didn’t Trump get impeached for asking the president of the Ukraine to investigate Biden just THREE MONTHS AGO??? Now here was the potential scandal of the century and no one was talking about it. Why?
Personally, I think it’s only a matter of time until conservatives jump all over it. On the other hand, many far leftists will tell you the Democratic National Committee tipped the scales in favor of Biden, like they did for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and that’s why it’s been so hush hush.
Former presidential candidate Marianne Williamson probably summed it up best by describing Joe Biden’s 10-state win on Super Tuesday as the result of “a strategized, orchestrated plan to block someone deemed inconvenient to the political establishment.” Those in that camp assert that the DNC pulled strings to funnel millions into a Warren Super PAC to derail Bernie’s campaign and strong-armed other candidates into endorsing Biden. According to my Facebook newsfeed, most of my friends agree.
I want to agree. It’s comforting. It’s a convenient scapegoat.
But the DNC’s influence on the race is a conspiracy theory at best.
And here’s where I’m probably going to start pissing people off.
First, the mystery donor was revealed to be one person: a wealthy Bay Area doctor named Karla Jurvetson who donated $14.6 million to Warren in the name of women helping women.
Claims that the DNC orchestrated Bernie’s demise ignore the fact that Tom Perez, DNC chair, worked with Bernie in 2018 to dilute the power of superdelegates (now called “automatic delegates”). Superdelegates had overwhelmingly sided with Clinton.
It also ignores the large number of African American voters who went for Biden in Virginia, Alabama, Texas, and North Carolina. After those big wins, Democrats jumped on the Biden bandwagon. And yeah, Buttigieg, Bloomberg, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Harris, and Booker endorsed Biden because they themselves are centrist. Reasons why Warren didn’t endorse Sanders are debatable.
It sucks to say, but more likely than not Biden won fair and square. And if you’re surprised that Americans got behind a lukewarm, centrist white guy with a shady past, I’d like to ask you why. I mean, look at who the president is. That is democracy at work, or at least America’s Frankenstein horror show version of democracy.
So what’s the answer?
I have never felt compelled to not vote until now. I wasn’t stoked about voting for Hillary in 2016, but I’m even less stoked to vote for Biden. As a feminist, even the thought of voting for a sexual predator makes me sick. Most Democrats, even Biden supporters, agree with me, with most polls showing lackluster enthusiasm.
But I’m going to hold my nose and vote for the lesser of two evils. Here’s why.
Biden is not as bad as Trump and if you think he is, you need to check your privilege.
Need I remind you, the Trump administration separated more than 5,400 children from their parents at the Mexico border. Six migrant children died in federal custody. This is unforgivable. We’ve seen a surge in domestic terrorism, mass shootings, and hate crimes. Headlines of fraud, hush money, obstruction of justice, collusion, sexual assault and deranged tweets have been hurled at us like softballs for the past four years. *Deep breath*
On the other hand, Biden’s policy plan to increase taxes on the rich would raise $4 trillion over a decade, making it one of the largest wealth transfers in American history. Biden also wants to raise the minimum wage to $15/hr, eliminate private prisons, and expunge past marijuana convictions, among other progressive policies that would’ve been unthinkable even in Obama’s day. Bernie might be out of the race for president, but he has influenced ideology in this country forever.
And I hate to break it to you, Republicans will fall in line and vote for whoever their party leader is. Hell, this is why we have Evangelicals reaching for reasons to support Trump. (Does anyone remember that ridiculous King Cyrus comparison?) This is why we have to stop looking to the president to save us. Our public servants aren’t going to act right. As a nation, we expect higher moral scruples from our actors and stand up comedians than we do from our elected officials. We have to accept that voting isn’t enough. We cannot stoop to the level of Evangelical christians (yes, this is how backward the world is) and allow party lines and identity politics to fudge our own morality. To be our voice. It’s not about political parties anymore. It’s about right and wrong. It’s about believing women. It’s about dismantling racism. It’s about helping those less fortunate than ourselves: refugees, immigrants, the impoverished, third world countries ravaged by climate change. Kids in cages.
For many, including myself, Bernie represented a long overdue revolution in this country. He seemed like the surest way to climb out of this trash fire and catch up with the rest of the modern world. It’s devastating to feel like hope has been yanked out from under us … again.
What we need is a bigger revolution. A revolution bigger than Bernie. I don’t know what that looks like, but maybe the world crumbling in the face of COVID-19 is an ingredient to the recipe. We’ve already seen the knees of capitalism bending for socialist solutions that were *gasp* possible all along.
So for this reason, I’m going to begrudgingly vote for Biden, and then look for other ways to push back. It feels abhorrent to cast my vote for a sexual predator, but remember, with Trump we got two sexual predators — one who will serve on the Supreme Court for life. We can’t allow Trump to appoint another Supreme Court Justice (please, God, please don’t take RBG from us). We can’t afford four more years of climate change deniers running roughshod over D.C.
This situation is ugly, but it’s the ugly truth. The truth shall set us free, albeit very, very slowly.
We need a revolution, but let’s get our priorities in order. We have got to get Trump out of the White House no matter what it takes.