This is the most important choice in our life – and one of the most momentous in The nation155 years of history. Donald Trump accepted his party’s nomination in 2016, pledging to “lead our country back to security, prosperity and peace … to create millions of new jobs and trillions of new prosperity”. On his inauguration, he returned to the subject and vowed to “rebuild our country with American hands and American labor”. All lies. He also claimed to be worth billions – and to have paid “millions” in taxes. That also turned out to be a lie.
Instead of leading us to prosperity, Trump pushed through a tax return that grossed billions of dollars for his wealthy supporters (and cabinet members) and cut taxes on companies by a whopping 40 percent while handing crumbs to working families. Instead of seeking peace, Trump has sunk the Iranian nuclear deal, which was opposed by the Medium-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (negotiated by Ronald Reagan), and is withdrawing the country from the Open Skies deal. Not to mention his abdication of the Paris Climate Agreement – the foreseeable consequence of a government with a disdain for science, an aversion to the truth, and a blind belief in the infallible wisdom of the markets and corporate elites. Playing on Twitter while the West Coast burns, Trump has nothing but four more years of incompetence and indifference. The man who pledged to end the “American slaughter” has instead emerged as a cheerleader for white supremacy, religious bigotry and nationalist hatred.
And without even counting on the way in which the coronavirus ruthlessly exposed its terrible inadequacy as a leader, its literally fatal inability to take advice or face an opportunity. As the pandemic continues to spread and our country leads the world in terms of death and suffering, Americans should be asking, “Do I feel safer than four years ago?”
Trump’s absence will not heal the terrible wounds inflicted on our body politics over the past four years. But it is the absolutely necessary first step. That means voting for Joe Biden – wherever possible by voting early or if necessary by being absent or voting in person.
We have no illusions about Biden, who – as we reported here last November – broke bankruptcy protection for student loans, drafted the bill banning states from capping interest rates on interstate banking, and had a career in the Senate in which he carried water for Delaware’s credit card industry. The idea that Biden is some kind of sleep aid for socialism is a cruel joke, as is the claim that it is a radical closet.
The democratic primaries included some candidates and ideas that are really radical. Bernie Sanders –The nationThe preferred candidate formulated a vision of Medicare for All and an America where health, education and economic security are human rights. Elizabeth Warren defied Biden’s favors for the banks and ran on a platform against the monopoly millionaires and robber baron billionaires who have manipulated our economy. Nevertheless, both vote for Biden.
Including Angela Davis, Noam Chomsky and Jesse Jackson, whose pioneering campaign first demonstrated the potential of a presidential election to change the limits of what is possible. As Davis said, this election is about “choosing a candidate who can be most effectively pressured to make room for the evolving anti-racist movement.” The nation has always preferred to put our trust in movements rather than saviors. If the present moment allows hope – and we believe it does – it comes from these movements and from a government that is willing to listen rather than whip.
The recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underscores how much is at stake. “It doesn’t matter whether you like Biden or not,” argued Chomsky. “Another four years of Trump can literally take us to a stage where the very survival of organized human society is deeply threatened.” Maybe you think this is scare tactics. Maybe you live in a safe state. (New Yorkers are fortunate enough to elect Biden to the Working Families Party line – a vote against Trump and against the corporate-dominated Democratic Party.) But Trump must be resolutely rejected in the referendum to undercut any appeal to one Supreme Court that has already been tipped in its favor, and that’s why every vote counts.
When he first supported Biden in April, Sanders complimented him: “You want to bring people in, even people who don’t agree with you.” Whatever his other merits, Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as his runner-up showed a willingness to turn to one of his most effective critics. It also showed due respect for color voters – especially African-American women – whose role as the cornerstone of the democratic coalition had been taken for granted for far too long.
After winning the nomination, Biden implicitly admitted that times called for bolder solutions than the recovery he had promised during the primaries, and established a task force for the unit that included not only Sanders but also Karen Bass, chairman of the Black Caucus of Congress, which included Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Pramila Jayapal, Co-Founders of Sunrise Movement, Varshini Prakash, and Sara Nelson, President of the Association of Flight Attendants. The result is arguably the most progressive democratic platform in decades, though Biden’s stubborn refusal to accept Medicare for All despite the raging pandemic seems both politically perverse and short-sighted.
But as Sanders told the Democratic Convention, “If Donald Trump is re-elected, all the progress we’ve made will be at risk.” Because despite Trump’s efforts, we’ve made progress – on climate change, reproductive rights, racial justice, economic inequality, police brutality, immigration reform, and universal health care.
When you get rid of Trump, the movements behind these changes can move forward instead of spending the next four years in a defensive crouch. It also empowers the growing cadre of truly progressive elected officials, especially if the Democrats manage to overturn the Senate. However, there are no guarantees. Power does not concede anything without asking.
One thing is certain: Trump is not only a threat to our republic and our democratic institutions, but also to our lives. Let’s vote him out. Let’s fire Donald Trump on November 3rd.