Joe Biden: Nobody’s Favorite

As the COVID-19 Pandemic and protests over racial injustice have gone on,  many of my liberal friends have taken to social media to express their beliefs. These beliefs have been amplified in everything from Instagram Stories to Facebook posts and Tweets. While it is inspiring to see young people so passionate about activism and change, a perplexing theme has begun to emerge.

This theme can be summarized by this slogan: “Biden sucks. Vote for Biden!”

To compel voters to cast their ballot for a candidate that those in his party actively dislike or distrust by using the “lesser of two evils” rhetoric is inefficient at best and counterproductive at worst.  If I was a Democrat who leaned further left than Biden, this kind of slogan would encourage me to write-in Bernie or not vote.

Initially, I chuckled each time I saw the sentiment because I, too, agree that Biden sucks (which is why I am not voting for him).  However, I began to think about how other people, especially moderate Democrats who do not post their politics on their social media, will perceive that slogan.  

Posting “Biden sucks. Vote for Biden!” is the best endorsement for Trump that I have seen.  To compel voters to cast their ballot for a candidate that those in his party actively dislike or distrust by using the “lesser of two evils” rhetoric is inefficient at best and counterproductive at worst.  If I was a Democrat who leaned further left than Biden, this kind of slogan would encourage me to write-in Bernie or not vote.  Why would I vote for a candidate who “sucks” according to my like-minded peers?

According to an August 4 Economist and YouGov poll, Biden supporters are more anti-Trump than they are pro-Biden, meaning that they could use some convincing as to why Biden deserves their full confidence and vote.  36% of individuals claimed they are voting for Biden, compared to 62% voting against Trump.  In comparison, 79% of Trump supporters are voting for Trump, with just 19% voting against Biden.  Perhaps a more resounding voice of support for Biden would encourage his voters to be more in favor of their own candidate.

Along similar lines, those who share things like “Not voting is a vote for Trump” or “Writing in Bernie is a vote for Trump” are being disingenuous.  Writing in Bernie is a vote for Bernie; nothing more, nothing less. 

In an email interview with Andrew Schaeffler, co-founder of Students for Biden at Michigan, Schaeffler highlighted that “It is much more useful to emphasize places of agreement and how progressive a Biden administration would be, rather than a broad focus on how he ‘sucks.’”  He mentioned Biden’s endorsement of a $15 minimum wage, 12 weeks paid family and medical leave for all workers guaranteed, and investing $1.7 trillion in clean energy among countless other policies that progressives and moderate Democrats alike could rally behind. He is not as progressive as Bernie, but he certainly holds up well to the DNC standard.

Along similar lines, those who share things like “Not voting is a vote for Trump” or “Writing in Bernie is a vote for Trump” are being disingenuous.  Writing in Bernie is a vote for Bernie; nothing more, nothing less.  Actively not voting because the candidates are all around poor choices, while a bad decision, is not a vote for Trump.  It is a vote for nobody.  Are Biden voters really so afraid to lose the November election to Trump that they must guilt and shame people into electing a candidate who “sucks” in their eyes? 

As a Republican, this slogan just increases my propensity to vote for Trump.  His work for the national economy and support for middle-class Americans and small businesses speaks volumes; if I were to share a slogan or quote about why people should vote for Trump, I certainly would not begin the phrase with “Trump sucks.”  I would share the good things that Trump has done only, like passing FOSTA and SESTA to stop sex trafficking and the passage of the USMCA, as well as record-low unemployment for Black and Hispanic Americans before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.  

While voters are choosing between problematic candidates, any speech which claims that both candidates are poor choices but we ought to vote anyway discourages participation in the election and helps neither Trump nor Biden.

This election is a crucial one.  We are facing economic and medical crises due to the COVID-19 pandemic, centuries of police brutality and systemic racism, and a rising culture of societal political censorship on all sides.  While voters are choosing between problematic candidates, any speech which claims that both candidates are poor choices but we ought to vote anyway discourages participation in the election and helps neither Trump nor Biden.  Think about the future of the Supreme Court, healthcare, and foreign policy that the president will affect.  

The young liberals and progressives who run in my social circles have a chance to definitively prevent a Trump presidency through the use of social media, a tool that becomes exponentially more important for each election it covers.  Don’t waste your platform convincing other voters to vote for the least-bad outcome.

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About Lindsay Keiser

Lindsay Keiser is a freshman in LSA, studying political science. When she isn’t writing or copy editing, she enjoys traveling the world and browsing twitter.