In a tweet on the 5th of July, Joe Biden declared, “we’re going to beat Donald Trump. And when we do, we won’t just rebuild this nation — we’ll transform it.” This sounds good as far as it goes, but since he is realizing that many progressives do not support him, I cannot help being suspicious that this is mere pandering, considering the fact that Biden’s voting record makes him look a lot more like a Republican than what I used to expect from the Democratic Party. I cannot help wondering, however, if he recalls his statement to wealthy donors a year ago that “we may not want to demonize anyone who has made money,” a speculation that ignores the role of labor in giving those rich people their economic privilege. He went on to say, “the truth of the matter is, you all, you all know, you all know in your gut what has to be done. We can disagree in the margins but the truth of the matter is it’s all within our wheelhouse and nobody has to be punished. No one’s standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change.”
Biden is noted for his clumsy use of language, and call me naïve for wishing that politicians would be generally honest — or at least intelligently disingenuous — but I see a contradiction in the two statements that I have quoted here. His supporters will likely say that this is just Biden being Biden while talking to donors and what he really meant is that billionaires need not be taxed heavily to support progress, but I then have to ask if “we’ll transform it” is also an unclear phrasing. And if it is not, if we are here supposed to take what he said literally, on what standard are we to evaluate his statements. The Democratic Party since granting him the de facto nomination has taken the position that what he says that is in concert with a tepid form of progressivism is to be believed, while anything that he says that sounds like the center-right politician that he has always been is merely a slip and not serious.
And the voters are expected to go along with this because, once again, the Diet Republican is the lesser of two evils. We must cast ballots for the Democratic candidate on the argument that we would not want the other guy to win, even though in election after election, many eligible voters reasonably decide not to vote if there is no one worth voting FOR, and voters in the center decide that the genuine Republican is a better choice than the Democrats’ attenuated copy.
In any case, we out here in the middle of the country should not be blamed for wondering why politicians cannot be honest. The better question would be to ask why we keep accepting so much lying from them. The reality is that large blocs of Americans want things like College and Medicare for All on a planet that sustains us all. And we even support requiring billionaires to pay their fair share. And yet, the Democratic Party is united with the Republicans against all of this.
The only conclusion that I can draw is that Joe Biden believes that the desperation of voters will blind them to how bad he is. He believes that he can lie to ordinary Americans, tell the truth to his donors, and coast into the White House. The Democratic Party may accept this — they have accepted this strategy for decades now — but I do not have to, and when they disparage me for not supporting their choice, I will ask them how I am to blame when they have done nothing to invite me in.
In this election, the Green Party comes the closest to what I support, and for that reason, I will vote for Howie Hawkins for president. If he wins, I will hold him accountable for his promises. But regardless of who wins, I will continue to support Medicare for All, College for All, and the Green New Deal. My support will not be moderated on behalf of any party or candidate.