In response to “Opposing Viewpoints: Stop telling people to vote. It won’t save us.” published on October 23, 2020:
If you’ve been online recently, there has been much discussion on the left surrounding the efficacy of voting for Joe Biden. But here is the simple truth: The future of progressivism is, in no small part, hinged on defeating Donald Trump. Now, I will be clear: Voting for Joe Biden is neither the alpha nor the omega. We should be protesting under Trump; we should be protesting under Biden. However, there is no doubt that for anyone truly invested in progressive politics, Joe Biden is not just one of the choices on the ballot; he is the only choice.
The only way change has been enacted in this country is through reform. If socialists want change, they must support the more left-wing party in this country. Why? If we do not support the Democrats now, the Democrats will move right to get more voters in the center. Don’t believe me? They did that when McGovern lost. When Carter lost. When Mondale lost. When Dukakis lost. When Gore lost. When Clinton lost. No amount of losing will teach the Democratic Party to move left; that is a pipe dream. Only when young progressives show up for the Democratic Party, as we did under Obama, does the party move left.
But here’s the bigger reason: When the right comes into power in this country, they use the power of the executive against the left in a way the left will not do. We saw this in Lafayette Square Park. If there is one thing that tells you to vote for Joe Biden, it is that heinous use of the executive against Black Lives Matter activists. It is easier to march when the air is not filled with tear gas, and we must make it easier on ourselves because we already have all the power structures against us. The Republicans will use tear gas; the Democrats won’t. The Republicans will use federal troops; the Democrats won’t. That’s it. The Republicans want us in jail; the Democrats don’t… I don’t care the reason, whether it be norms, votes, or whatever. That is the case.
It was Martin Luther King, not Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X or Kwame Ture, who eventually got extensive civil rights legislation signed by a Southern Democrat. He did not do it by telling the Black community “don’t vote.” He wasn’t particularly fond of Johnson or Goldwater in the 1964 election, but he knew that “the prospect of Senator Goldwater being president of the United States so threatens the health, morality, and survival of our nation that [he could not] in good conscience fail to take a stand against what he represents.”
This is the time that we are at now. We are in our generation’s ‘60s; we need our generation’s Great Society. Lyndon Johnson was imperfect; chosen as a moderate to bolster the experience of Kennedy’s ticket, a relic of the past rule of the South by the Democratic Party. But he stepped up because the left pushed him to, not by apathy, by compromise. And now, we are faced with a choice: liberalism or barbarism. Joe Biden is imperfect, but we must take a chance. We have no other choice.
Raymond Perez is a sophomore majoring in International Studies and Social Policy. He is the Vice President of the College Democrats of Maryland and is a voting member on the CDA National Council.