The Problem With the "Lesser of Two Evils" Narrative
Earlier today, Bernie Sanders announced he was suspending his presidential campaign, which leaves Joe Biden as the democratic nominee. With the constant criticism surrounding Bernie Sanders and his policies, I knew this was going to happen, but I'm still disappointed.
Now that Joe Biden is the obvious projected Democratic candidate for the election in November, already there is the "lesser of two evil" dialogue happening on social media. Biden is better than four more years of Trump, they say. Yes, a used napkin would be better than four more years of Trump; however, voting for Biden just to remove Trump from office is a problem. I thought Democrats wanted to vote for change, for the improvement of quality of life for millions of Americans, for the deconstruction of an oppressive political system.
Democrats had one of the most diverse bunch of presidential hopefuls this election cycle, but we're left with old white man against old white man; both with a history of racist policies and rhetoric; both accused of s*xual assault. However, one is un-apologetically racist (in public) and was caught on tape admitting and bragging to s*xually assaulting women. Yes, Biden is the lesser of two evils in comparison to Trump, but I personally still don't want to vote for a man that's just a smidge less racist, and perhaps s*xually assaulted fewer women.
When Tara Reade came forward with s*xual assault accusations against Biden, liberal media outlets were suddenly silent. Days went by after Reade came forward with her story, and I saw no major media outlets talking about it. I was left confused, then that confusion grew into frustration. There were only conversations about Reade's accusations on Twitter. If you type Joe Biden's name on Google, no articles discussing the alleged assault come up until you fully type in "Joe Biden s*xual assault." THAT IS A PROBLEM! What happened to the powerful messages, platform, and dialogue of the #metoo movement? What happened to "believe women"?
When Trump was caught on tape bragging about s*xually assaulting women, it was highlighted and discussed by liberal media outlets everywhere. When Dr. Ford accused Brett Kavanaugh of s*xual assault in 2018, the Kavanaugh senate trial was shown on several media outlets and was discussed at length for weeks. However, not even a sliver of that same energy was kept for Biden. What was still disappointing about those instances was Trump still became our president and Kavanaugh was still appointed to the Supreme Court. Joe Biden is still the Democratic presidential candidate, despite Reade's accusations coming out days, perhaps weeks, ago. Is sexual assault only deplorable when the perpetrator is a Republican? Are Democrats encouraged to look the other way when a member of the party is accused? What kind of message does that send to women and young girls in the Democratic party?
I then felt inclined to write about why liberal media outlets were not discussing the accusations against a front running presidential hopeful. However, I decided against it because I didn't want to feel I was contributing to another four years of Trump. THAT IS A PROBLEM! Why should I have felt stifled from using my voice and my platform to speak against sexual assault, just to prevent another man who was also accused of sexual assault (but by several women) from getting a second presidential term?
Furthermore, going up to the polls and voting for the lesser of two evils every time I vote for president is going to get tired quickly. I'm only 22 and I feel more discouraged than I did in 2016 because 4 years later and nothing about America has changed. I'm reminded why I labeled myself an independent when I was 18 because the Democratic party is simply embarrassing.
The lesser of two evils narrative illustrates how complicit American society is with problematic people in power. As a collective, we continue to vote for the same kind of people, while simultaneously complaining about the problems those people have perpetuated their whole career. Don't like s*xual predators? Stop voting for them. Don't like racists? Stop voting for them. Don't like misogynists? Stop voting for them. Older generations always express disappointment in young people for not voting and in the past so have I. But it's sad to say, I can see why young people feel like their vote doesn't matter. If we say we want equality, we're asking for too much; if we say we want affordable healthcare, we're asking for too much; if we say we want increased minimum wage, safer gun laws, alleviated student debt, affordable education, access to safe and legal abortions, we're asking for too much. When we say we don't want to vote another predator into office, we're told "vote for the predator with better policies." Where is that change Democrats talk about so passionately? Short answer: it doesn't exist.