Principally, there is the matter of Biden’s record, consistently in service to the rich.
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First, he’s from Delaware. Delaware is the paradigm of corporate political hegemony. It is more a tax haven than a state. It has 0.3% of the U.S. population, but 64% of the Fortune 500 major corporations call it home. Typically, these corporate “headquarters” are no more than a post office box.
This fiction is maintained because of Delaware’s very corporate-friendly climate. “Big corporations, small-time businesses, rogues, scoundrels and worse — all have turned up at Delaware addresses in hopes of minimizing taxes, skirting regulations, plying friendly courts or, when needed, covering their tracks.”
According to a 2019 Mother Jones article, “Delaware was less a democracy than a fiefdom, contorting its laws to meet the demands of its corporate lords.” Such is the corporate capitalist swamp from which Joe Biden emerged and that he represented in the Senate for 40 years.
But principally, there is the matter of Biden’s record. It is long, racist, war mongering, and consistently in service to the rich. It is his albatross and none of his supporters will talk about it if they can avoid it.
Biden has been a lifelong lackey for the same people who literally own Delaware.
Biden has been a lifelong lackey for the same people who literally own Delaware. Originally elected to the Senate in 1972 as a vaguely New Deal, vaguely anti-Vietnam Democrat, the trajectory of his career has been to continuously move to the right.
His racism is one persistent theme. Early on, he teamed with Southern racists like Trent Lott and Strom Thurman to block school busing, especially of white kids. At Thurman’s funeral, Biden eulogized him as a “brave man whose lasting impact was a gift to us all.” The Eagleton-Biden Bill of 1977 prohibited HEW of using its funds to promote school busing to achieve racial integration. By 1980, Biden was voting consistently against measures to promote busing. His anti-drug/crime bill of 1986 punished crack cocaine (associated with black people) at 100 times the rate for powder cocaine (associated with white people), a provision later seen correctly as patently racist.
In 1994 he championed the crime bill that ballooned the U.S. prison population to the world’s highest rate of incarceration, mostly with nonwhite men held for nonviolent drug crimes. Biden remains adamantly in support of the “war on drugs” and opposed to marijuana legalization, a classic mechanism to exert state control over unruly people of color and other ne’er-do-wells. Biden pinned much of his career on crime prevention. He has favored mandatory minimum sentencing, civil forfeiture, elimination of parole, and preventive detention. (See Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, which Biden co-sponsored with Strom Thurman.)
Biden’s record of fealty to the capitalist class has hundreds of entries. [For an extensive listing, see “Yesterday’s Man: The Case Against Joe Biden” by Jacobin writer, Branko Marcetic.] Some highlights include support for Delaware allowing credit card companies to charge any interest rate they wanted and his opposition to allowing student loan debt to be part of bankruptcy proceedings. “In 2005 amendments to the [bankruptcy] bill, Biden voted against borrowers drowning in medical debt, seniors, servicemembers, union members, and victims of deadbeat dads.” [American Prospect,1- 9-20]
Biden helped Reagan enact the ‘Reagan Revolution’ to reduce government spending.
Biden helped Reagan enact the “Reagan Revolution” to reduce government spending. On several occasions, Biden offered to include Social Security and Medicare as part of measures to reduce government debt. Notorious anti-government businessman, Howard Jarvis, said of Biden, “You have shown yourself to be in the forefront of the battle to reduce government spending.”
In the 1980’s he voted to cut food stamps, reduce federal pensions, and for massive tax cuts that principally benefited the very rich. His budget freeze proposal in a 1984 cut scheduled increases for Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries. The same year he backed giving Reagan a line item veto. Later, Biden supported a Reagan sponsored “tax reform” that lowered the top bracket from 50 to 28 percent. Then he supported the Gramm-Rudman bill that would have mandated a balanced federal budget and supported constitutional amendments to accomplish the same.
During this period, Biden became a principal in the right-wing, anti-union Democratic Leadership Council that believed the way to beat Republicans was to become more like them. In 1994, he backed the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act, which eliminated barriers to where banks could operate. Defying union opposition, Biden voted to give Bush “fast track” authority to negotiate NAFTA and other trade agreements.
In 1996, Biden supported ending
In 1996, Biden supported ending federal welfare and in 1999 the revocation of the Glass Steagall Bill, which had previously separated commercial banks from investment banks. Biden championed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) in 2005, which made it nearly impossible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, “clean slate” bankruptcies intended to discharge nearly all debts. Meanwhile Biden supported legislation to reduce penalties for bank fraud.
Need we mention that from 1976 until he flip-flopped just before running for president in 2019, Biden had supported the Hyde Amendment that prohibited the expenditure of federal funds for the provision of abortions — anywhere in the world.
One could go on endlessly in this Biden record-bashing vein. We have yet to even mention Biden’s role in getting his fellow Democrats to support the Iraq War. Or his desire to overthrow the government of Venezuela. Or his consistent devotion to Israeli Zionism and his longtime personal friendship with Bibi Netanyahu.
Nor have we mentioned Anita Hill or Tara Reade or his propensity to fondle females. Or his obviously declining mental capabilities. But this all becomes trivial to the binary-thinking of Democratic Party cultists. Politics has become a tribal affair and for the DP true believers, all Biden has to be is anointed by the party establishment as the official “Not Trump.”
The DP is impervious to a progressive transformation from within.
When the establishment neoliberal corporate capitalists who run the DP in service to the PC billionaires rallied around Biden in order to stop Bernie Sanders, they sealed their own fate. They revealed that the DP is impervious to a progressive transformation from within. Exerting pressure from outside this capitalist party’s structure is thus our only option besides surrender.
Pushing the DP left from outside the party is easy and without negative consequences if you don’t live in a swing state. Presidents are elected by the Electoral College. In all but two states (Maine, Nebraska) the contest is winner take all in each state, whether one wins by one vote or a million. There are only seven states that are considered “swing states”: Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida.
In Texas, no Democrat has won the presidential vote since Jimmy Carter in 1976. No Democrat has won any statewide election in Texas since 1994. Obama lost Texas in 2012 by 1.26 million votes. Hillary Clinton lost Texas in 2016 by over 800,000. It is inconceivable that Joe Biden will change that pattern. Current polls show Trump only slightly ahead in Texas, but all bookies have Trump running ahead of his polls.
Biden has a divided and unenthusiastic base.
Trump has a unified and enthusiastic base. Biden has a divided and unenthusiastic base. Hence, Biden will lose Texas, probably by half a million votes or more. If winning is everything to you, voting for Biden in Texas is just as futile as voting Green. But if you vote Green, you assert your progressive principles. If you vote Biden, you endorse corporate control of the Democratic Party.
Were Biden close in Texas according to polls immediately preceding the election, it would be a certain indicator that Biden was winning all of the swing states, so Texas wouldn’t matter anyway. Texas will not decide the outcome of Trump vs. Biden under any circumstances.
In California, Hillary Clinton beat Trump by 4,268,978 votes in 2016. If a million of those voters had voted for the Green Party instead, it would have made utterly no difference in the awarding all of California’s Electoral College votes to Clinton. It would, however, have caused a political earthquake. If you vote for Biden in what is certain to be a losing cause, no one will notice. But if half a million Texans voted Green — or just the 5% required for the Greens to earn federal matching funds — it would be historic.
The Democratic Party is corrupted by corporate cash and has proven itself to be impervious to progressive transformation from within. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the element of the capitalist class that recognizes that issues of identity don’t seriously affect their profits. The Democratic Party will only consider changing their corporate capitalist fealty if 5 million people vote instead for a progressive, left-wing alternative party.
At this point, we have a respectable placeholder for that role in the Green Party, which will have ballot access in most states and whose platform reflects progressive political principles far better than either of the capitalist party duopoly. To make your progressive voice heard, voting Green is your only option.
[David P. Hamilton is a member of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin in history and government, David was an activist in 1960s-’70s Austin and was a contributor to the original Rag.]
- Read more articles by David P. Hamilton on The Rag Blog.