Presidential Prospects: Biden, Trump, and a Communist Internet Meme.
Much like the last election, this upcoming one and its candidates make it difficult to be enthusiastic about any of their prospective administrations. The fate that we have chosen include two old men with brains both functioning on a questionable level, now, a rapper and producer, and even a frame from Merrie Melodies, infamous in meme culture.
I’m sure you have heard of both Joe Biden and Donald Trump as being the two most legitimate candidates this election season. Both, as I previously mentioned, are old men and have become the very essence of the parties they represent. As far as I can tell, the democratic party, and especially Biden after polling popularly among black voters in my home state, South Carolina, has been campaigning a large anti-Trump campaign. And why would they not? Trump is both his greatest asset and worst enemy, with his deftness in not only appealing to white supremacists and other voters on the far-right but to centrists who fall victim to his rhetoric (e.g. The immigration issue and “immigrants stealing our jobs” rhetoric, which has been used as a scapegoat for racism since the early 20th century), at the same time, however, he is polarizing to anyone remotely progressive. Many voters are sick of not only Trump’s appeals to the alt-right but how despite our GDP growth, America has a 14.7 unemployment rate amid coronavirus on top of 30-40 million people at risk of eviction. These shortcomings of republican’s Reaganomics put the republican on the defensive. Instead of policy change or any other sort of appeal to more liberal voters (even if it were possible at this point), they employ an unorthodox strategy: Kanye West, their ace in the hole.
Republicans have been working to have West’s name on the ballot. Take for instance in Milwaukee, republican election lawyer Lane Ruhland, being caught by journalist Matt Smith, dropping off ballot signatures after the Wisconsin filing deadline. This is merely one case among dozens in at least four other states. Republicans almost seem scared of losing four more years of their biggest partisan star since Reagan, using West’s name on the ballot to detract from Biden’s appeal to black voters. Black voters are after all a driving force for Biden’s campaign and the main factor in why he is the Democratic candidate and not Bernie Sanders.
Of course, this strategy is ridiculous and rooted in Republican’s misunderstanding of how black voters vote and of course: racism. The thought process seems to be along the lines of “Well, black people seem to want another black person in the oval office, so Kanye should be a good fit for that criteria.” Biden has to battle this strategy on the right, but inversely, a bigger threat shows itself -- the left.
I and many others hate the idea of Biden running the country. With nothing to offer beyond not being Trump, he wants to increase funding to our militarized police force, and that sentiment only worsens the taste left in voters’ mouths with his VP pick, Kamala Harris. Instead of realizing a green new deal, and completely reimagined healthcare as we strove for with a vibrant Sanders administration, we vote for an unenthusiastic Biden.
As a result of this electoral angst, accounts on Instagram @settleforbiden and @settleforbigchungus poke fun at whatever the next four years entail for the left. Posts on the former’s page include pictures of Angela Davis, a black communist, and Noam Chomsky, author of Manufacturing Consent, with text above stating “He/She’s settling for Biden, why can’t you?” (both have actually “settled for Biden) while the latter’s posts contain leftist figures like Vladimir Lenin or democratic socialist president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega with captions like “a vote for Big Chungus is a vote for revolution!” I see the humor in these posts, however, the existence of the latter feels counterproductive.
Leftism, without the hope of a President Sanders or a Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn, has felt like a contest among online communities to prove who is the most left-wing, and a popular practice has cropped up to not vote for not only the sake of pride but also for clout among other leftists. This practice is childish and does more harm to many causes, I and other leftists are passionate about, while voting will likely not resolve institutionalized racism, the pitfalls of capitalism, and disenfranchised families with sick loved ones, the Biden administration will likely cause less damage to those issues than Trump will within four years.
Right now, Republicans hold the majority in the Senate, meaning they not only hold more votes but current republicans in the house are more likely to be reelected and new republicans are more likely to be elected, this goes for congress as well though it is under a Democratic majority at the moment. On top of this, with four more years of Trump, and Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s continued decline in health, the next Republican justice can be appointed. Do we want another Kavanaugh? and/or a Republican majority in the senate? By no means, will all senators or congresspeople running for office be a congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or senator Bernie Sanders, but voices on the left will have greater weight in D.C.
What is most damning about leftists choosing not to vote, or voting for an internet meme or a rapper, is their pseudo-compliance with Trump’s continued plunge into fascism. Potential voters on the left will cry out against people being stuffed into unmarked vans without a warrant or an expressed reason, shout about Trump defunding the USPS to prevent people from voting, and will tirelessly protest against the decades of ceaseless violence against black people and POC, but will do their best to still prove themselves as “true” leftists by not voting. For once, swallow your pride and critiques against both candidates because with Trump, we snowball to a fascist state, but with Biden, we get four years to haunt him.
Video of Lane Ruhland: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhQ0CbKYko0)