The Horserace to Nowhere

Former Vice President Joe Biden picked California Senator and former Democratic Presidential nominee Kamala Harris to be on the ticket with him this November. It’s not a good pick, but a not-good pick was expected.

This is yet another wrinkle in time where ordinary people on both sides are going to get it completely wrong, and largely because of the news they are fed. The gang that watch Fox News are going to tell you that Kamala Harris is basically as left as Bernie Sanders; those who follow CNN and MSNBC are going to say she’s so qualified, and so smart, and oh boy I can’t wait until she crushes Mike Pence in those debates!

For most people politics is a My Side vs. Your Side affair. It’s Red vs. Blue, Conservative vs. Liberal. It’s all low-hanging fruit, my side is right and righteous, your side is wrong and stupid. Believing in the principles of Democratic Socialism aren’t popular among the masses — we get hated on by both sides fairly equally — but they do allow people like me to be colorblind when it comes to the issues. To me, politics are life and death.

With that being the case I think Kamala Harris is a Republican. Both Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, feign indignation at such a statement, but I just look at the numbers on the board. What else should I call someone who takes donations from Wall Street and the private prison industry? What else should I call someone who argues against a parole program for non-violent offenders, stating California would lose an important labor pool? That’s not a liberal. That’s not a socialist. That resembles someone who would work for Donald Trump or George W. Bush.

People like me get shitted on by Democrats because in their world the only important thing is getting Trump out of office. Forget that Joe Biden has fought for the last 30 years to cut Social Security, forget that he voted for NAFTA, forget that he was one of the leading voices supporting the Crime Bill, forget that he probably has some form of dementia. None of that matters. The only thing that matters is getting Trump out of office.

Now they are telling me I shouldn’t care about Harris’s record. I shouldn’t care that she didn’t prosecute Trump’s Treasurer — Steve Mnunchin — when she was attorney general of California. (He went on to donate to her winning Senate bid in 2016.) I shouldn’t care that she didn’t want to let petty criminals go on a parole program, because without them how would California pay inmates like a dollar a day to fight fires? And I shouldn’t care that she endorsed Medicare For All, then like a day later she walked it back because she took heat from her mega-rich donors who obviously don’t want that. I shouldn’t care, because the only thing that matters is getting Trump out of office.

Before the line gets blurred I’ll go ahead and say that, yeah, it’s my hope that Joe Biden beats Donald Trump in November. That should go without saying. But if I’m talking about principles, and giving a shit about America and politics in general, I’ll also say that I won’t be voting for Biden. California is going to be a blue state; it’s one of a handful of states where my vote means absolutely nothing.

As a 30 year-old, however, I am trying to look at the big picture here. Unlike a lot — or most — people, politics is not cocaine to me. The quick fix of removing Trump isn’t good enough for me. Coke is great when used only occasionally and in recreation, but it’s not a sustainable game plan looking at the next four years, or the next forty. There is too much shit in the United States that requires fixing, and a ticket headlined by Joe fucking Biden and Kamala Harris ain’t going to be the one to change things. They have very little, if anything, to offer working class families, and would really just continue Trump’s policies when it comes to ICE, the pharmaceutical industry, the banks, and everything in between. They just wouldn’t be talking all manner of nonsense on Twitter and to the press all the time.

With that in mind, there’s a real chance that Biden and Harris will actually set the country back — and even further than Trump supposedly has. The reason for that is completely due to the fact that Donald Trump wouldn’t exist if not for failed Democratic politicians. Bill Clinton’s failures led us to the nightmare of the George W. Bush presidency, and Barack Obama’s failures (which were more or less an extension of Clinton) led us to Donald Trump. Politics as usual, or the “normalcy” that liberals want to get back to, is directly what led us to where we got in 2016.

The beauty of having Trump in office is that he hasn’t got anything done. In his first two years, with a Republican majority in both the House and the Senate, the only meaningful legislation he passed was a tax cut for the rich. He failed on replacing Obamacare (a right-wing healthcare plan that sucks), and in 2018 the House flipped to the Democrats and they have more or less blocked everything since then. The only thing both sides can agree on, as per usual, is expanding the powers of the big banks and pumping more money into the military budget.

I guess what I’m trying to say is if Biden and Harris get elected, they better do some shit while they are there or else the American people are going to elect a worse version of Donald Trump in 2024. Someone who believes in the same shit — whether it’s tax cuts for the rich, throwing tens of millions of people off their health insurance, treating Mexican immigrants like felons, inciting violence against Muslims and Jews, et. al — but won’t shoot themselves in the foot at every turn. Someone who can work with “moderate Democrats” (i.e. Republicans) to pass all the things on the right-wing agenda. That’s the gamble you take if you get what you want and put Biden in office.

From my perspective this is a lose-lose situation. Either Trump gets reelected and isn’t able to get anything done due to a Democratic majority in the House or Senate (or both), or Biden wins and we deal with the scenario above. The only thing I’m fairly sure of is that Sleepy Joe isn’t going to give progressives what they want. Above all, the goal of both parties is to squash the will of the working class.

I won’t be able to convince anyone on either side that Biden and Harris are virtually Republicans. The right will say they are the incarnation of Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, and the left will say I’m not giving them a chance, that we can “push” them to our side if we try hard enough. It’s a losing battle and I honestly don’t know why I waste so many words talking about it. I suppose I just like it. I like the struggle. I like being the underdog, even though I don’t like betting on losers.

The only thing I’m certain of is that we are being offered a false choice. Everything the media spews, and in turn what people on either side try to argue, is that this is a Left vs. Right issue. To me that’s bullshit. Whether it’s Trump or Biden, the top 1% win. The banks win. The private insurance industry and big pharma win. The defense contractors win. Basically, the billionaires win.

That’s why I don’t see L vs. R, I see top vs. bottom. It’s us, the bottom 99% of wage earners, those making $30,000, or $50,000, or $100,000 a year vs. those making eight and nine and ten figures and more. All they want is to pay less in taxes. All we want is some decent healthcare, enough food on the table for those we love, and a chance at the American Dream. Whether it’s Trump or Biden, the one thing I am assured of is that the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer and more desperate.

But I hope you enjoy the show.

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