I stood at the polls this spring to vote in my first presidential primary. As a staunch Elizabeth Warren supporter, I was excited: excited for the opportunity to vote for a candidate who was progressive, highly educated and genuine. A week later, after the Super Tuesday elections, it became clear that Joe Biden would be the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee. In an election that is, to many, a matter of life or death, the concept of a 77-year-old white man spearheading the campaign against Donald Trump is undeniably disheartening. Now more than ever, though, it is imperative that we use our vote for change, even if we have to do so unenthusiastically.
Simply not voting for Joe Biden because he is not the candidate you want him to be is not a luxury that we have at this point in time. Many of the people who are suffering firsthand from the sitting president’s policies are unable to vote. Therefore, those of us who can vote have a duty to vote for change and keep working from there. It is this sentiment that has sparked calls across social media to “Settle for Biden.”
There are many reasons progressives did not initially support Biden. Unlike many of his opponents in the Democratic primary, he is not a supporter of Medicare for All or the Green New Deal. However, he has worked on a Unity Task Force with Sen. Bernie Sanders, pushing many of his policies further to the left. In response to calls for universal healthcare, Biden supports a public option which gives everyone access to an affordable public healthcare plan through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace. The Task Force has also laid out a plan to make America’s energy industry carbon neutral by 2035 and create “good-paying” union jobs in the process.
These plans, paired with promises to address racial injustice and issues within the criminal justice system mean that, while certainly not perfect, Biden has dedicated himself to making meaningful change for the country moving forward.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has called white supremacists “very fine people,” announced the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accords, has had countless sexual assault allegations against him and has botched the response to a pandemic that led to the deaths of more than 200,000 Americans. Given this almost unending list of his “accomplishments” in the last four years, I don’t think I’d like to see another four.
So why is it so hard for some to settle? Understandably, many are discouraged by the fact that neither party has stepped up to adequately address the current state of the nation. That being said, simply not participating in a system because it is flawed is not an option right now. This election is our chance to vote against racism, bigotry and hatred, but our actions should not stop there. Vote. Protest. Call your senators. Donate to impactful organizations. Share resources on social media. Settle for Biden and protect the future of American democracy.