There’s a frequently stated philosophical position on left-wing social media sites where I’m active. It goes like this: “Trump and Biden are both tools of the corporate elite controlling this nation. Therefore, I’m writing in Bernie or not voting at all.” These views are especially strong among Gen Z, with 25% saying that they will not vote because they don’t like either candidate. Another 17% are not sure they will vote at all.
These social media activists almost never back up their emotional views with facts, although they often call both men racists, polluters, war mongers and misogynists without supplying details. People like this do a great disservice to political discourse and to our nation. There’s a clear difference in the positions of these two men on numerous issues and progressives must understand them. As people that I respect have said, “Bernie has my heart, but Biden gets my vote.”
For example, on healthcare Biden fully supports the ACA (Obamacare). He also advocates lowering the age for Medicare to 60 rather than 65. As you read this column, Trump is in court attempting to do away with the ACA, which would permit insurance companies to return to the bad old days of excluding you from insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions. If Trump succeeds, it would also force 23 million people off medical insurance.
As one of the most frequently published Medicare for All columnists in America, I don’t agree with Biden’s position on coverage. But it is much better for Americans than Trump’s non-existent, imaginary reform plan.
For another contrast, look at climate change and pollution. Biden philosophically believes in many aspects of the Green New Deal proposals rolled out by progressives, although he does not agree to implement them due to expense. And, he knows that climate change is manmade and is causing an existential environmental crisis. He wants reasonable actions that won’t cause economic harm, while still lessening the health threat to our children and grandchildren.
Trump, on the other hand, thinks that there’s no climate change problem at all. He wants to bring back coal, open public lands to drilling and do away with all those pesky environmental regulations keeping pollutants out of the air and water. Do I wish Biden had more specifics in his platform? Of course, I do. But are his views and Trump’s the same? Only a fool would believe that fallacy.
Biden has a long history of public service. And, sometimes he has made mistakes. Did he treat Anita Hill poorly and let Clarence Thomas off the hook? Yes, and I disagreed with him at the time. But that was a long time ago and he has had a long record of supporting civil rights and women’s equality, leading him to choose a black woman as his running mate. With luck, she will be our first Black/Asian female President someday.
Trump has done the opposite for the last 50 years, embracing both white supremacy and misogyny. His views and actions have been racist going back to the 1970s when the Trump organization was sued for discrimination in housing practices, settled and then sued again for not following the terms of the settlement. Trump also took out a full-page newspaper ad pushing for the maximum punishment for five black young men accused of raping a woman in Central Park. Even after DNA evidence conclusively proved that they had not done it, Trump never admitted he was at fault.
And then, there are the numerous racist things he has said and done since- stating Obama was Kenyan and not a citizen, calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, accepting the endorsement of racists like David Duke and conspiracy nuts like QAnon, and failing to understand the difference between the white supremacists in Charlottesville and the good people protesting against them.
Further, Trump views women as property and playthings. He has been married three times and has had affairs during each of his marriages. He is also been accused of sexual misconduct by over 20 women. His position on abortion is extreme, saying “there has to be some form of punishment.” To emphasize his commitment, he has nominated jurists with strong anti-choice views who may well overturn Roe v Wade, supported by 69% of Americans.
These two men are the exact opposites of one another. If you believe in throwing people off health insurance, rolling back environmental regulations, regressing on civil rights and so on, Trump is your man. If not, then Biden the moderate is the only feasible choice and must be supported by progressives. If you want more rapid change than Biden advocates, and I definitely do, electing Biden is the necessary first step on a long road to a better America.