I remember how hopeful and excited I was in February watching the Democratic debates at night while doing my math homework.
In the morning, my friends and I would casually debate who had the strongest bid for the presidency.
At this point, the selection of candidates was diverse, and it was anyone’s prize. In our friend group, we had one for the Yang Gang, several Bernie Bros, a strong Liz supporter, and then a girl who timidly blurted, “I like the gay one.”
Yet, however long or strange our political conversations got, they always seemed to end with one phrase: “None of this matters. Biden is going to win the nomination anyway.”
Biden was losing in the primaries to Sanders, Buttigieg, and anyone newer and cooler. Heck, even Amy Klobouchar had a stronger chance of getting my vote at that point and her most memorable debate points were something like, “I don’t seem like I belong on this stage, but I promise I do.”
As an aging politician, Biden also made questionable racist statements on the campaign trail and had poorly defined priorities.
This was extremely frustrating to me.
Progressive, unprecedented faces stood on that stage and their merit was undermined by the democratic system, not because Biden was the best option, but because he was the only option in a country where a presidential candidate runs on the campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” and that old America was even more racist, misogynist, and segregated than it is today.
As the only non-radical man on the stage, Biden’s almost obvious nomination was a compromise that gave swing voters and conservatives a justification to vote for the Democratic party without feeling offended or threatened by his views or identity.
Right now, it is weird how settling for Biden is the most progressive action you can take in TrumpLand.
But something like a Biden nomination is something that must never happen again if we want to make real strides toward equality.
In the past four years, the LGBTQ+ community, illegal immigrants, the disabled, women, and all people of color (POC) have been battling for respect and for rights, and most of all living with the fear that their rights will be taken away.
The election of 2020 is the election to win back security and rid the country of hate.
One day, I was scrolling through my social media feed, and everyone was sharing a post: “It isn’t a vote for Joe Biden, it’s a vote for equality.”
Well, yes… but no.
A vote for Biden is a vote against Donald Trump, but a vote for Biden is also a vote reaffirming that we can’t have what we want unless a white man says we can have it.
Funny how the candidate for “equality” proves how white men dominate and rule this country.
Imagine the unprecedented and inspirational changes that could have been made in this country if we had a nominee willing to fight for universal health care, or universal basic income.
Imagine our first openly gay nominee.
Or our second woman presidential nominee.
Or our second POC presidential nominee.
This would become the norm instead of something of a shock to Americans.
This election, the Democratic party settled for Biden because they couldn’t risk anyone else. The Midwest and swing state voters will not vote for Sanders or Warren because their socialist, liberal ideals are considered too extreme, and they wouldn’t vote for a moderate candidate like Buttigieg because he is gay.
Biden’s nomination highlights the racist and patriarchal institutions on which our country is built.
The people of the United States aren’t ready for policies that offer opportunities for all, and if they were, Trump wouldn’t be president.
Think about it: by allowing the rest of the candidates to step down, the Democratic party voters basically said they were stronger with a white man.
We are not beating a racist system by voting for Biden – we are feeding into the racist system by giving racists what they want and playing it safe.
In the end, it’s not the president who decides whether we keep our rights – it’s us.
Just as we can’t settle for racism, we can’t settle for a weak candidate.
If we want to dismantle racism, we need to stop compromising with it.
In the next four years, we need to use our power to influence through social media and word of mouth to convince those uncomfortable voting for an extreme candidate that perhaps those politicians’ policies aren’t so absurd afterall.
Instead of settling for someone the other side might deal with – although barely – we need to show them that it’s okay to step out of their comfort zone.
During the next election, there will be no need to settle because the progressive candidate will be a winner.