By the time you’re reading this post, it won’t be too late (ahem), but it will be 20 or fewer days until Election Day in the United States. Of course, this year features several national and state elections of significant consequence. The presidential election features the incumbent Republican President and Vice-President, Donald Trump and Mike Pence, who are currently down huge in multiple nationwide and swing state polls to their Democratic challengers, former Vice-President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris.
A relevant fact worth noticing in that USA Today story is that while Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine were leading Trump and Pence by at least 6 points in the last 20 days before the 2016 election, their lead was shrinking. Considering Biden/Harris polling from the past two months, it is clear that their lead over Trump/Pence has increased and is already higher than Clinton’s in 2016 at the same juncture (10 points compared to 6).
Let me state my political bias now: I am not a Republican voter or conservative person. My first election featured my voting for Barack Obama and Joe Biden in 2008, and, as a more liberal Democrat, I have voted for every Democratic presidential candidate since then. With that said, I am a firm believer in publicly analyzing, criticizing, and holding accountable political figures that I support, from local city and county council members to State and National Senate/House members to President and Vice-President.
So, while I endorse Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in this election, I think it is essential for those who vote for them and Americans that value racial and social justice to hold them accountable to their platform. I have read quite a bit of the Biden/Harris platform and see the influence of former presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders throughout it (especially on education, healthcare, and the environment). I believe this is for the better, as I found Bernie to be an innovative and assertive voice toward achieving equity in education and healthcare and intentionally preserving the environment. They were wise to incorporate Bernie’s ideas into their platform.
This election season somehow became even more exhausting than many expected it to be. I am very hopeful and optimistic that Trump and Pence will lose. Amongst a plethora of other reasons, I have found Trump and Pence to be loathsome in discussing Black folks, women that “dare” to speak critically of men in power, the LGBTQ community, media, and countries that have Black or Latinx majorities. Still, Biden and Harris are each worthy of criticism on their individual records, from Biden’s sponsoring of the 1994 Crime Bill (which undoubtedly increased mass incarceration of Black folks) to Harris’ heavily pursuing marijuana cases as District Attorney in San Francisco (which disproportionately impacted Black men). When looked at contextually during their origin, these decisions were supported by many (including some Black folks), but do not stand up within a 2020 context of social and racial justice. However, as I compare Biden and Harris to the alternative, whose words and legislation have impacted far too many vulnerable communities in this country TODAY, choosing who to vote for was clear. Specifically, it is the platform that Biden and Kamala are running on, with its influence from a progressive candidate that I believe is more in-line with the ideas of racial and social justice that I support.
If Biden and Harris win the presidential election, it will be vital for us as citizens to hold them accountable to achieve what they propagated through their platform. Strategies on how to effectively do that will be for another entry. While I am not thoroughly “excited” to vote for the Biden/Harris ticket, I will do so knowing they are a much better fit than our current executive leadership to lead a country beset by the dual viruses of racism and COVID-19.
Derek Bowe, Jr.