We understand why so many Massachusetts voters are frantic for Joe Biden to win the presidential election. Donald Trump is a train wreck to be sure. A greedy and racist failed businessman trying to play the messianic strongman he most certainly is not. We don’t like him either. And we won’t be crying any crocodile tears should he lose in November.
However, let’s be clear. Neither candidate excites us. From our perspective, a vote for Biden is simply a vote against Trump. And we think it’s worth remembering that we’ve been down this road before in recent decades.
Because Biden—like Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama before him—is a neoliberal Democrat. In essence an old-school Republican, not an FDR-style social democrat like Bernie Sanders. Making him an adherent of a political playbook with precisely one central dictum: fake left and break right. Or put another way, destroy New Deal and Great Society reforms that made life better for millions of working Americans to give tax breaks to corporations and the rich. Say “socially liberal” things about Black people and women and LGBT communities and immigrants while pushing “fiscally conservative” legislation that makes it harder and harder for all but the wealthiest members of this society to make ends meet.
Like his predecessors, but with far less charisma, Biden tells us that things are going to be better for everybody with a Democrat in the Oval Office.
“You’ll get pie in the sky when you die,” we are promised. Just as Carter, Clinton, and Obama—and generations of huckster preachers—promised us before him. Those who put noses to grindstones and work hard (and pray, of course) will do decently well in this life and get a rich reward for their toil in the hereafter. But, as the old Wobbly martyr Joe Hill informed us in the song that chestnut comes from, “That’s a lie.”
While millions of us are working increasingly crappy nonjobs and millions struggle through longer and longer periods of outright unemployment and millions lack healthcare and millions languish in the hellholes that are the American prison system and millions are denied a path to citizenship that should be the right of every law-abiding immigrant and refugee coming to these shores—all such tragedies being the very real results of the anti-worker neoliberal policies of Democratic administrations coupled with the nearly identical policies of Republican administrations over the past 50 years—Biden and his ilk have helped American plutocrats get ever richer and more powerful. When they’re not getting us into endless wars and “conflicts” and “police actions” to prop up the ruthless extractive multinationals they serve and the military-industrial complex that still fuels this country’s economy at the expense of the peace and freedom of so very many other countries.
So when you vote for Biden—whether you “hold your nose” or not when doing it—remember what you’re going to get with the next Democratic administration: a nicer Trump administration. A ruling elite that says kind things about the people it’s screwing (and even passes some weak legislation that barely undoes the damage Trump did to women, people of color, LGBT folks, immigrants and so many other “out groups” in the last four years), but screws them nonetheless. Economically and otherwise.
Don’t believe us? Then just ask yourself where the Democratic Party zeal for wildly popular, forward-thinking, pro-worker policies like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All has gone since Biden won the nomination.
Where support for all such policies goes in the corporate-dominated oligarchy that is 21st-century America. Away.
This editorial originally ran as the Editor’s Note of the DigBoston members edition 1.6, 10.15-10.29.20. Go to trypico.com/DigBoston to become a DigBoston member and get our members edition delivered to your mailbox every two weeks!
Chris Faraone is editor-in-chief of DigBoston and Jason Pramas is executive editor of DigBoston.