Why I’m Voting for Joe Biden (and other progressives should too) by Sheila Ruth

Sheila Ruth is Co-Chair of Our Revolution Baltimore City/Baltimore County. She also represents District 44B in the Maryland House of Delegates. Below, she provides the most powerful argument we’ve seen to vote for Joe Biden in November:

Like many of you, I will forever mourn that we lost the opportunity for a Bernie Sanders presidency. But Bernie always said it was not just about one candidate. NotMeUs is not just a hashtag. It’s up to us to push for our goals no matter who’s in power. We must remember always our ultimate goals of justice and equity for all and a livable world.

The reality is that on January 20, either Biden will be president, or Trump will. While I respect the work that the Green Party does and align with much of their platform, Howie Hawkins will not be president, no matter how many disaffected progressives vote for him.

So Our Revolution Maryland will be working to Dump Trump, which means of necessity supporting Biden. We don’t consider it an endorsement of Biden, so much as it is an acknowledgement of reality.

The way I see it, we can spend another exhausting 4 years in the streets trying to stop Trump from destroying everything we care about – the Post Office, election integrity, clean air, clean water, public education, immigrant families, Black Lives – with very little hope of success. Or we can spend 4 years in the streets pushing Biden and Congress on our priorities, and maybe making some progress. I know which one I prefer, and it isn’t Trump.

On the recent United Against Trump event, sponsored by many progressive groups including Our Revolution, Phoenix City Council member Carlos Garcia said that we are working to elect Biden because we are choosing our adversary.

Biden is an adversary we can actually fight. So we will be working to put him in the White House. But that’s not enough. From day one, we will be holding him accountable and fighting for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, a fair and just public safety system that values Black Lives, housing as a human right, an end to college debt, an equitable education system, and so much more. We do not accept that electing Biden is an end goal. We see it as a necessary beginning, without which we have no hope of accomplishing anything.

But even if we defeat Trump, to accomplish our goals we need a Democratic Senate and House, and with as many progressives as possible. We know, for example, that Biden doesn’t support Medicare for All. He has refused to say whether he will sign it if it comes to his desk. But if we generate enough groundswell of support to get it through Congress, I believe that Biden will have no choice but to sign it.

We will be working to flip the Senate and take Democratic control of Congress. Some of the Senate candidates we will be supporting, like Paula Jean Swearengin in West Virginia, are unabashed progressives. Others are not. But in some ways the Senate is even more important than the White House. If we win the White House, the only chance we have to enact our priorities is with a Democratic Senate. If we lose the White House, a Democratic Senate can block the worst of Trump’s actions, including judicial appointments up to and including the Supreme Court. Flipping the Senate will also accomplish two other things. One is it will remove Mitch McConnell from his current position of total power over the Senate, even if he is reelected to his Senate seat. The second is that if Democrats have the majority, then Bernie Sanders will be Chair of the Budget Committee. That is a huge opportunity, and is in itself is a powerful reason for flipping the senate.

We will also be working to elect progressives up and down the ballot, as Senator Sanders likes to say, from dogcatcher to Congress.

And while all of that is important work, we cannot lose sight of the urgent state and local work that we do, including the urgent and heartbreaking overlapping crises from the Coronavirus and the lack of government response to it.

Finally, none of it will matter if we don’t have a fair election, and we know that the Republicans are doing everything they can to suppress the vote. So we will be doing everything we can to ensure the integrity of the election and ensure everyone can cast their vote safely and fairly.

We need all hands on deck to accomplish these goals. Please join us for the first step: to dump Trump and elect government at all levels that will give us at least a chance of progress. Then let’s all stand together for phase two: to make sure that progress happens, and build a more just, more equitable world.

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