David P. Hamilton :
OPINION | Why I won’t vote for Joe Biden

Principally, there is the matter of Biden’s record, consistently in service to the rich.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, 2019.
Photo by Gage Skidmore / Flickr.

By David P. Hamilton | The Rag Blog | May 16, 2020

UPDATE: We have received substantial feedback about this opinion piece. We stand by our posting of the article but want to make one thing clear: It only reflects the views of one writer and not those of The Rag Blog or its editors. — Thorne Dreyer

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
federal welfare.

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.]

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28 Responses to David P. Hamilton :
OPINION | Why I won’t vote for Joe Biden

  1. Larry says:

    a respectable placeholder for that role in the Green Party…. in your figmentative contrarian’s
    rationalizing imagination. Never any damage control or contemporary hope for this mindset.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Complete agreement with David’s analysis, but I’ll take it a step further. If you would vote for Biden, please don’t call yourself a ‘leftist’ or a progressive or even socially aware. To do so is simply to embarrass yourself.

  3. SusanV says:

    It’s a binary choice on election day – DT or Biden. It’s really that simple. There is not a realistic alternative, only a spoiler.

    Purity tests are a luxury we can’t afford. The author makes assertions as if they are certainties. You cannot reasonably predict who will or won’t lose which states.

    Giving this nonsense space, in this publication in particular, is questionable as it empowers and enables the ideas to take hold.

    The goal is to defeat DT and the loathsome Republicans who support him in their silence. Focus. Focus. Focus.

  4. Mariann Wizard says:

    Well, I see Dave is getting bashed for this some on FB but I’ll say I agree with him. I’ve been a third party voter in Presidential elections for many years. In my very first Presidential vote in 1968 I wrote in my Mom, A. Catherine Garner, instead of choosing between Tricky Dick and Handkerchief Head Humpgrey. It’s the fact that the Electoral College as a barrier to actual democracy exists that’s the deciding factor for me. Barring a serious sea change in the Texas electorate’s consciousness and a Democratic Presidential candidate who embodies all the things Bro. Hamilton so fervently “hoped” for with Obama (and I rather teased him about at the time!), I’ll continue to vote for candidates who are politically to my liking and personally not covered with slime.
    Naturally, on down-ballot races, I’m happy to support good Democrats.

    • Larry Life says:

      What a wonderfully irrelevant life you’ve lived!

      • Pamela Garner-Taylor says:

        Larry Life, sorry, asswipe. You can disagree with my sister’s voting record all you want. But you don’t get to refer to her life as “irrelevant “; she’s been more relevant politically and otherwise in her lifetime than most. She’s certainly been and remains of crucial relevance in mine. Her relevance in the Austin, Texas political scene is well-established and something that speaks for itself. Who the hell are you to say this about her life? Back off

        • Mariann Wizard says:

          Given that my sister and I do not always see eye to eye (and who the heck does in a whole lifetime?), her having my back with Mr. Life is a lovely example of the fact that Sisterhood is Powerful.
          I think it’s kinda cute that someone thinks that a person’s having voted for successful Presidential candidates is a measure of relevance.
          The races I take real seriously, as I tried to imply, are the “down-ballot” races. Trump has been empowered in his devolution by Cornyn, Abbott, Patrick, and every other Republican Senator, Governor, and pendejo-licking servitor of the ruling class.
          Biden will run well or not in Texas depending on a lot of factors, one of them whether the DNC judges his performance there to be worth funding, a big problem in the past. Neither my friend David nor I would be so ready to vote Green (or, ha, ha, the O.G. Red, at least in my case, Gus Hall & Angela Davis, 1976) if the DNC had taken Texas seriously.
          I’ll just throw in here, too, that it’s ugly to see RagBlog readers calling for David’s article to be “taken down.” They must now know much about the RagBlog’s history, its founders (some of whom continue to contribute, including the irreplaceable leadership of Funnel/Editor Thorne. See, the idea is this thing called Freedom of Speech. A lot of people have put their asses on a lot of lines through the years to maintain that principle, and it is a fundamental principle of this publication.
          That doesn’t mean it’s open to any drivel or outrageous opinion. The Rag and RagBlog, although commenting on national and international matters, is based in a community with many long-term connections and exchanges of ideas and seeing people evolve over time. So it’s not open to just any drivel by just anyone.
          But to me, when a member of this broad and deeply connected community, now spanning generations and continents, has something as deeply felt and as closely reasoned as David’s screed, we will give him a voice.
          I love you, Pamsie!

  5. I want to make something clear: This is a personal opinion piece by a longtime contributor to The Rag Blog. It reflects a certain sentiment on the left. It does not reflect the opinion of the publishers and editors of The Rag Blog.

    • Mariann Wizard says:

      And that is the way it should be, Brother Dreyer; wow, people are really emotional about this, aren’t they? See my long reply to my sister’s defense of my existence (<3); if the Rag/RagBlog doesn't give voice to serious (minority?) opinions on the Left, it does the Left as a whole, and the people as a whole, a disservice. All that sectarian stuff in the 60s did us no good. We let strong opinions frighten us into splinters.
      I'd like to see an equally strong response to David's piece that goes deeper than "TRUMP OUT!" While that is an outcome devoutly to be hoped, I think a lot of potential Democrat voters will stay home unless somebody can show them concretely what a Democratic administration can and will do. PLATFORM OVER PERSONALITY.
      (They gotta have at least one of these things going for them!)
      Virtual electronic uv-treated hugs,

    • Wiz says:

      As a Co-founder of The Rag/RagBlog, occasional contributor, and Associate Editor, I’d just like to say that I can only think of one thing I’ve ever written for the entire 50+ years that was intentionally crafted to reflect the opinion of anybody else associated with the enterprise. It was the first piece The Rag published under my byline (M Vizard then) and Jeff Nightbyrd ASSIGNED it to me at about the 2nd meeting, something about “granfallons?” Some hippy-dippy book… I did it, but only that once. Jeff was very imposing back then, you know! ROFL
      Since then The Rag has more or less printed more or less most stuff I’ve submitted or guided in here. There was one big exception in late 1967 when something very important to me but exploring a minority opinion on the Left was summarily discarded after one installment was printed and one negative “letter to the editor” received. It took a long time for me to feel comfortable dealing with this important community-based communications channel again. We have to trust each other with our disagreements as well as our concurrences.

    • Leslie C. says:

      Thorne–You shouldn’t have had to make this comment, nor to put that update at the top of the piece. It should go without saying that the Rag does not have a rigid editorial line that would exclude any contribution not adhering to the opinion of the publishers and editors. Anyway, I would hope the publishers and editors don’t all have the same opinions on everything.

  6. Pamela Garner-Taylor says:

    Voting Green will only give Trump the advantage, at this time, in my opinion. It’s really a matter of getting rid of Trump. Anybody has to be better. Biden is not the greatest candidate in the history of voting. But he is not an evil orange dictator. I say give Uncle Joe the votes. Vote Green on the local and state levels for now. But this November, support any Democratic candidate for POTUS. Anybody other than Trump. This is not an election that can be won by voting Green. You are just throwing away your vote, might as well be voting Red. It’s just as simple as that.

    • Mariann says:

      Well, it’s those down-ballot races where we have to turn over the Senate and as many state houses as possible in order for Joe or any one to do anything as President. Cornyn, Abbott, Patrick, and the rest of these corncobs — McConnell! — have given Trump the country on a silver platter with an apple in its (unmasked) little snout. I don’t vote third party in any race other than Presidential UNLESS the Dems don’t have a candidate, then I’ll go Green, Libertarian, Black Panther, Progressive, Socialist, Communist, Independent, or Write-in. (Mama loved me voting for her and you know she was a Yellow Dog D!)
      Texas electoral votes are winner take all. LOOK AROUND YOU. And you live in a civilized area.
      Big hugs,

      • Pamela Garner-Taylor says:

        WILCO went Blue last big election. I never thought to see that here. So…pigs do sometimes fly, lol. I look around, and see a lot of chaos currently. You know my political views lean more towards anarchy and just burning it the fuck down. But I realize, for now, that’s not the path that will be taken in November. So, voting for the Democratic candidate seems the only viable and effective route.
        My first election, I marched in and voted a straight Communist ticket. I was so disappointed when nothing happened, I was 18 and thought “they” would chase me down! Bwahahaha. I voted for our dearly departed Mom in a couple of minor elections, as a write-in candidate as well. Lol great minds. I love you, too, dearest Sister

  7. So what? We know Biden well. But we also know Trump. Biden wasn’t my choice. I’m the Bernie delegate on our ballot. But if I only have one broom at hand, no matter how dirty it is, I’ll use it to sweep Trump out the door. Besides, it’s not really Biden vs Trump. It’s the Third Way Dem triangulators vs rightwing populism and its rising fascist sidekicks.
    The left finds itself in one of two baskets–politics as self-expression and politics as strategy. Set aside the former for now, and engage with the latter. We not only need to defeat Trump, we also need to crush him under a Blue wave. Then as Biden assembles his ruling team, we can advance the projects of our own counter-hegemonic bloc on more favorable terrain than that of a Trump victory.

    • Pamela Garner-Taylor says:

      I totally agree with you. Everything about this election is strategic, and we face another four years of idiocracy and demise with Trump remaining in power. It’s too important of a vote to choose anything other than Red or Blue. It’s a no-brainer. Political ideologies are just grand, but this is the time to pick a side that could actually win. That means Red or Blue, y’all

    • Mariann says:

      Carl, you always have a level head. Totally agree with you on the Blue Wave; I don’t like and disagree with all the focus on PERSONALITIES, whether Trump’s evil one or Biden’s lack of one, it’ got to be about electing Senators, House members, Governors, Every other Damn Thing, or it wont matter who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Obama was crippled by a Republican Senate; Trump has been empowered by the same ham-handed geezers. And that’s what I hope Sen. Sanders and his electors (good for you!) can still push onto the Party table. It’s got to be all out and across the board. Bottom of the ticket UP.

  8. Claire Wilson James says:

    Thanks, David Hamilton. Clear, powerful writing

    • Paul Spencer says:

      Indeed. Voting for either Biden or Trump is negation of everything that we used to say or do concerning the political economy. It’s treasonous (and self-defeating) to our alleged principles.

      Yes to Mariann’s plan to vote down-ballot for the true believers. Electorally, it’s our only path to improvement at this juncture.

  9. “Principally, there is the matter of Biden’s record, consistently in service to the rich.”

    So it’s better to throw the election to Trump, because’s he’s a friend of the poor?

    Get a grip.

  10. Mariann says:

    Paul, we need to jit only be voting out the rascals, we desperately need to be developing and educating future candidates at all levels. It worries me a great deal that the best people im any age refuse publuc office. It’s nasty, bruising, intrusive, etc. For people like me, it was never in the catds; Im a Communist AND a witch, lol.
    We need to find ways to interest young people who are not narcissistic deviants that they can serve the people honorably.

  11. Lori Jo says:

    David, you and Alice and I all benefit from White Privilege. The difference is in how one chooses to use it.
    Not voting for Democratic Party’s nominee for president is the ultimate exercise of white privilege, and in your case, white male privilege.

  12. Frances Morey says:

    I credit David Hamilton and his ilk with the election of DJT. His unrelenting venomous attacks on Hillary Clinton damaged her electability if in a microcosm yet as surely as did James Comey’s announcement of an open investigation of her email kerfuffle ten days before Election Day. I judge Hamilton’s flat out hatred for Hillary to be based in deep seated misogyny, which was also evident in other men I know.

    Of those who actively hated Hillary they didn’t vote Green to actually shortchange her in the Popular Vote, which don’t forget she won. Biden is nowhere near as popular as Hillary was. Of three other Hillary-haters I personally know, two held their noses and voted for her anyway, the other one flat out voted for Trump. I didn’t block these guys, but I did block David Hamilton for relentlessly and arrogantly attempting to force me to “do research better to argue with him,” which I considered a total waste of my time.

    That said I do share David Hamilton’s disgust for Biden. I have been railing on and on over similar acts of Biden treachery in Democratic circles asking Democrats if he is the best we can offer? Or are we becoming the Republican party in order to attract disaffected, embarrassed Republicans who also want to beat Trump and still have a Republican presidency? I accused Biden of being a DINO in Democratic circles!

    I hold Biden responsible for delivering Clarence Thomas even if he didn’t vote for his appointment. His shabby treatment of Anita Hill was profoundly disappointing to me, which David doesn’t even touch on. Hmm, could that be additional evidence of his own misogyny?

    It was only later that I learned that Biden had ignored Hill’s corroborating witnesses who were present and willing to testify. Thank you, Uncle Joe, for delivering every vote of Uncle Clarence.

    The dismissal of Anita Hill by Biden aggravated me so badly that even though I knew Joe from when we met in the Young Democrats before he became a senator, yet from that display forward, I held him in contempt. Biden’s enthusiasm for being able to “work across the aisle” disgusts me. As he was sliding in recent primaries, I considered him over and done with.

    Then the black voters miraculously united behind Joe Biden, despite the legislative damage he did to them directly. They gave him a win in states he didn’t even campaign in–what the hell is going on here?!? If Biden loses this race the Democratic Party will only have itself to blame for the end of the world as we know it.

    • Paul Spencer says:

      David and I not only performed the ultimate exercise of white supremacy, but Frances gives us credit for electing Trump in 2016, too. I think that y’all overestimate our reach. You might just consider us as a contingent of the plurality of US voters who didn’t bother, because we – and the rest of our cohort – couldn’t quite find any essential differences in policy or program (or character) between the two ‘heads’ of the duopoly.

      If y’all don’t think that this is the time – or past time – to work for an actual left organization, then the time is never.

    • Don Hyde says:

      Frances has shown me the light. 9-11 AND the Iraq War were Ralph Nader’s Fault. As to Clinton…I live in Italy and see her handy work every day from “ We came, We saw, He Died” in Libya to the state of affairs in Syria. Much worse than Biden /Thomas. I could hop over to Libya and buy a grown man for 400 dollars…..a woman or child for less.
      It never did anyone harm to do better research. I am appalled by your statement.
      Want to thank Thorne for running this piece but also feel the disclaimer is totally unnecessary.

  13. Frances Morey says:

    David’s negative vote pronouncement against Biden is like throwing an anarchist’s bomb to re-elect Trump all the closer to come to having people in the streets with pitchforks in hand.

    The tiki torches are for the right wing nuts. I don’t like Biden either, but I despise Trump. With only two choices on the ballot the third is to step off the cliff.

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