I remember a simpler time, when I assumed the 2020 presidential election would be the worst part of this year. But as one comrade said, that prediction could still come true.
Getting into this national election cycle, I was bracing myself for voter disenfranchisement, Republican party corruption, and the Democrats doing everything in their power to stop Bernie Sanders from winning the nomination. What I did not expect was a pandemic speeding up this timeline while also making everything ultra weird. This is simply the weirdest presidential election I can remember.
I began 2020 giving everything I could to the Bernie Sanders campaign, all the while knowing our 1% ruling class and the Democratic party establishment would fully align against him. But I didn’t expect to lose my hope so soon. I officially gave up the dream of President Bernie on St. Patrick’ Day, when I saw a bunch of retired Floridians line up in stuffy polling places at the start of a pandemic to vote for Joe Biden. The Dems could have pushed to postpone those primaries, but they would rather sacrifice their aging centrist base to the virus than risk any chance of a democratic socialist winning the nomination.
I guess I was past mourning by the time Bernie officially suspended his campaign on April 13th, because I wasn’t even upset about it. Four days prior he’d fought for and successfully passed a $600/week increase in unemployment insurance, and suddenly I was making roughly 50% more than the wage I’d been earning before I got furloughed from my retail job. This was an enormous windfall for me and millions of other low-wage workers, and I still can’t believe he got it passed. My conspiracy theory is that he made a lot of backroom deals to get that win, including suspending his campaign and shifting full support to Joe Biden.
Joe. Fucking. Biden. I’m still so pissed it came to this, but can’t pretend it’s at all surprising. He wasn’t the candidate I hated most (a tie between vapid, opportunistic rat Buttigieg and scumbag billionaire Bloomberg). But somehow I suspect those outcomes wouldn’t have made me as bitter as this one has. Joe Biden has a racist, anti-choice record, he’s demonstrated sex pest behavior on camera, and he’s been credibly accused of rape. He actively opposes Medicare for All. And, not for nothing, he’s showing signs of early stage dementia. When he entered the race, I knew there was an excellent chance he could wind up being the nominee, because conventional wisdom tells the average voter he’s the safest bet to beat Trump. The fact is, most people don’t know about Joe’s record, the accusations, or his stance on M4A*. But they do know him as Obama’s vice president, and might recall him as the wacky uncle character from eight years of articles published by The Onion.
My other conspiracy theory is that the Wacky Uncle Joe character was an intentional PR campaign orchestrated by the Dems to cover up the fact that Joe is actually an enormous dick. Right after the 2008 VP debate, I was joking with my old hippie therapist about Sarah Palin’s ridiculous performance, and he said, “What really shocked me was that Biden was so restrained. I expected him to call her a dumb broad or something.”
I laughed and said, “What?”
“Oh yeah, that guy’s an asshole, really sexist.”
“Yeah… wasn’t he terrible to Anita Hill?” I wasn’t following politics much at this point, but that much I did remember.
“Yup. Do you know how hard it is for a guy like him to not tell Sarah Palin she’s a stupid bimbo? My guess is an advisor pulled a gun on him backstage and said they’d kill him if he did anything like that. That’s how this stuff gets done.”
I just laughed that off as my therapist being extra. But looking back, he had a point about why it’s important to contain Joe. From what we’ve seen this election cycle, Biden cannot keep himself from shoving his finger in someone’s face, or jabbing them in the chest, all, “Hey you bud, listen here man!” Except now there’s this additional awkward thing where he just goes off the rails because he forgot what everyone was talking about. The man is clearly losing his faculties. Remember how everyone was so worried that would happen to Bernie?
When someone would ask me what we’d do if Bernie lost his marbles after getting elected, I’d say something like, “That’s cool! Braindead Bernie can be a puppet for the administration. If we beat Trump and get that advantage with winning Medicare for All and a Green New Deal, it’s worth it.” I know that may sound horribly morbid and cynical, that I was ready to Weekend-at-Bernie’s Bernie. But I think my sinister plan actually speaks to the importance of the causes he champions. I am very fond of Bernie, but my intense support was never about him. It really was about winning basic rights and protections for us.
And now look what’s happening — in the most hilarious twist of the 2020 presidential election so far, the Dems are pulling a Weekend at Bernie’s on Biden! That weird nasty dude is almost nowhere to be found, because everyone knows that letting him out in the open is just a really bad idea. His appearances tend to be stilted and odd, as if he’s literally being propped up as a contender. He’s a puppet for just one cause, which is beating Trump. That’s his only job. The weirdest part of this whole thing for me is my reaction to it. At this point, I think it’s a great idea to keep that guy under wraps as much as possible. I sure as hell don’t wanna see him. That would just be a reminder that I’m actually gonna vote for this sex criminal.
So yeah, I’m gonna vote for Biden. For all the lefter-than-thou folks out there who are like, “But he’s just as bad as Trump!” No, he’s not. But he is absolutely terrible. I don’t expect him to reverse any one of Trump’s policies without enormous pressure from the left. But at least there is that small opportunity to push back. If we keep going with Trump (who will do everything he can to steal the election), we’re going to see a rapid, exponential increase in austerity and genocide.
And for all you centrist Sam the Eagles out there who are incensed at the notion that left-wingers might abstain or vote third party, y’all need to go soak your heads. Vote shaming doesn’t work. Trust me, I’ve been on the other side of it many times. I voted for Gloria La Riva in 2016 because I lived in Tennessee and it didn’t matter. If you think that it did matter, then I guess you don’t know about that anti-democratic sham called the Electoral College, wherein we expect voters in a handful of key states to decide the election for us. I live in one of those states now, so I’ll vote for Molester Uncle Joe this time. But I will not attempt to shame anyone else into doing it. I’m tired of this expectation that we’re supposed to set aside our disgust and misgivings to support these weak, centrist, anti-working class creeps that the Dems love to foist upon us. I’m tired of being told that our deeply warped excuse for a democracy doesn’t function properly because everyday, struggling people don’t show up in big enough numbers for candidates they dislike. Neoliberalism always tells us its that our societal problems are the fault of many misbehaving individuals, not gargantuan institutions run by greedy psychopaths.
So there you have it, that’s my big endorsement for Wacky Uncle Not Trump. If we had fair elections and/or weren’t living under quarantine conditions, I think he could beat Trump just by not being Trump. But sadly, some of us are going to have to fight hard to get this shadow of a once-lively scumbag elected to office. That’s what I want to happen, with the hope that his puppeteers are less fascist than the current set of ghouls running the show. Either way, we’ll keep on fighting.
*If they even know what Medicare for All is — my two years in M4A canvassing taught me that most people do not.