I have something to confess. I’m still mourning the end of Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign.
I’ve been a diehard Warren fan for years and felt such undeniable hope in her policies to tax the rich, make college tuition-free, and create universal childcare for parents across our country. I loved her stance on LGBTQIA+ rights and her fight to improve public education. I waited patiently in line to watch her speak at my local town hall and even took my four-year-old daughter with me into the polling booth to vote for her. As I explained to my little girl that no woman has ever been elected president before and that Warren might be the first one to make it that far, her tiny eyes lit up and her jaw dropped with wonder.
Even to this day, my daughter points and shouts “Elizabeth Warren!” as we walk by our polling spot around the corner. And it breaks my heart to have to tell her that the dream I’ve held close to my heart since I was a little girl like her is not happening this year.
Now more than ever, I miss the female presidential candidate I loved so much. But as much as I wish the reality of this election year wasn’t what it currently is, I know with complete certainty that Joe Biden needs my vote this fall. In fact, he needs all of us to vote for him, even if he wasn’t our first — or even fourth — choice. I won’t be picking Biden because I believe him to be the best possible candidate for the job. I’m voting for him because he’s lightyears away from the utter moral delinquency of our current president.
And it definitely helps that Biden just choose a kick-ass, smart, highly capable Black woman to be his running mate. I’m looking at you, Kamala Harris. I am so here for a Biden-Harris ticket.
But there’s a more urgent reason why Biden has my vote no matter what. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know all about the racist, sexist, narcissistic, gaslighting bully who is currently taking up space in the White House. We absolutely cannot allow him to live there for four more years. And the only way to prevent that from happening is to vote for Joe Biden. He’s no Elizabeth Warren, that’s for damn sure. But he’s also no Donald Trump. And as much as my feelings may be hurt from seeing my all-time favorite candidate drop out of the race, I cannot be a sore loser right now. Because Americans who have been directly affected by Trump’s hateful dictatorship of a presidency are desperately counting on me to vote for Joe Biden.
Yesterday, I came across an Instagram post that really summed up why I believe everyone needs to vote for Biden. It was shared by Amber Leventry, a fellow Scary Mommy writer, public speaker, and LGBTQIA+ educator who also voted for Warren in the primaries. In it, they call out anyone who may not be voting this year just because they don’t like either candidate. According to Leventry, a choice like that comes down to the privilege of not being negatively impacted no matter who wins the presidency.
“People are often offended when told they are privileged,” they tell Scary Mommy. ”But that doesn’t mean you are living a life of luxury. In terms of voting this election year, it means you have the luxury to not have your baseline changed no matter who wins. It’s a privilege to say you don’t like either candidate and choose not to vote.”
Leventry understands the frustration of knowing that both candidates are far from ideal choices for president. But they also understand that dwelling on that will only keep folks from ensuring that Biden wins the spot. “I don’t like either option,” they say. “I hate Trump, and I wanted Warren. As a queer transgender person raising a transgender kid and who is trying to live an anti-racist life, a vote for Biden is in line for what I need and want in terms of basic human rights. I can’t mentally or financially afford another four years of Trump. I don’t have the privilege to just not vote.”
It’s so damn important that we actively put our faith in a Joe Biden presidency, because any ambivalence will dilute the overall votes, leaving a better chance for Trump to win. And that cannot — and should not and must not — happen. “If you can’t stand Trump and what he has ignited in this country, then vote against him with a candidate who has the best chance of winning,” Leventry says. “I know there are plenty of third party supporters, but the chances of a write-in winning are slim. Voting with conviction is noble, and voting is better than not, but I struggle with the idea that third party voters will be able to make a change. A vote for a third party feels like a vote for Trump.”
When asked what aspects of Trump are the absolute worst, Leventry didn’t hesitate to state the obvious.
“Well, besides the fact he is a racist, misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic, xenophobic dummy who can’t understand basic pie charts, he has created a division in this country that is toxic and dangerous,” they share. “I don’t care what political party you align with — the goal should be to unite the people you are leading, especially during times of crisis. I didn’t vote for Bush and certainly didn’t agree with his politics, but when 9/11 happened, I felt like he brought the country together. I was younger and more naive, but I don’t remember feeling threatened by other Americans the way I do during this pandemic and during the whole of Trump’s presidency.”
Look, I think we all know how epically heinous Trump is at this point. And honestly, I’d rather not give him any more of the attention his fragile ego so desperately craves. So, I’m going to spend the rest of my time breaking down for you exactly why Joe Biden is a candidate you can actually get behind.
One of the most impressive aspects of Biden’s campaign has been his recent willingness to listen to progressives like Bernie Sanders. The two joined forces to create an extensive policy wish list that embraces more of the left-leaning ideals that resonate with so many Americans who believed in Sanders and Warren.
“The goals of the task force were to move the Biden campaign into as progressive a direction as possible, and I think we did that,” Sanders explained last month to NPR. “On issue after issue, whether it was education, the economy, health care, climate, immigration, criminal justice, I think there was significant movement on the part of the Biden campaign.”
As far as his policies go, Biden is proposing the abolishment of cash bail and mandatory minimum sentences, and he wants to create a national roster of police officers who abuse their power. He wants to triple the federal assistance being offered to schools in need, give public educators competitive wages, and will fight to make college free for families who earn less than $125,000 a year. He’s offering the prospect of universal preschool for three- and four-year olds and access to high-quality, low-cost child care for children up to three.
Biden also plans to reverse the transgender military ban, and he has tangible goals to support LGBTQIA+ youth and adults in schools, the workplace, and beyond. He aims to invest over seventy billion dollars in HBCUs and double the current funding for the State Small Business Credit Initiative, particularly for those businesses owned by Black people and POC. Finally, he will be working with advocates to pass the long-awaited Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), so that women’s rights are — finally! — recognized in the Constitution.
This is just a handful of some pretty damn awesome policies I pulled from the extensive list on Biden’s website. I encourage you to check them all out, because I was stubbornly on the fence about him until I actually researched what he’s planning to do. I’ve got to say — reading his plans and knowing that he worked with Bernie Sanders on his platform reignited a little bit of that undeniable hope I had lost when Warren dropped out.
For the human beings who face unnecessary discrimination and oppression because of their identity, a second Trump term will be another heartbreaking reminder that the rest of America is not listening to their pain. Don’t be on the wrong side of history. For the love of humanity, check your privilege and realize that we need everyone in this fight. Make sure you’re registered, make plans to either safely vote in person on November 3rd or mail your ballot in early according to your state’s deadlines. I won’t even judge you if you wear your Warren shirt to the polls, as long as you fucking vote for Joe Biden.