The Scalzi Endorsement: Joe Biden

A picture of Joe Biden and the phrase

Original photo of Joe Biden by Gage Skidmore, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Inasmuch as I have, in fact, already voted for Joe Biden, I think it’s both safe and reasonable to come out and endorse the man to be President of the United States. I also think it’s reasonable to point out that this endorsement will not precisely be the most fulsome and ringing endorsement that I have ever given to a candidate for president, even as I acknowledge and recognize that voting for Joe Biden might have been the most important vote for president that I have ever made, or might ever make. Welcome to 2020, folks. What a fucking mess it is.

To be clear: Joe Biden will (probably) do fine as president. He wasn’t my first choice, or my second choice for that matter, but he picked my first choice to be his Vice President, so that’s all right. Biden is a career politician and in his 78 years has made some exceedingly questionable choices, from casual plagiarism to how he handled Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas hearings. He has a bit of a tin ear and he is prone to gaffes, some but not all of which can be ascribed to navigating around a stutter. Also, he’s also shown that he can roll with changes and can, when necessary, read a room. He understands the job he’s trying to get, and he really does understand it’s not all about him. He’s your basic pol: Mostly competent, mostly a man of the people, mostly someone who when you look at him, your basic reaction is, well, okay, fine, he can probably do that job.

This is what I mean by not a ringing endorsement! Joe Biden does not set me afire with political passion. He in himself does not strike me as an epochal candidate, the way Barack Obama was, or Hillary Clinton might have been as the first woman president. He’s old, white, middlin’ and middle of the road. Certain sitcom characters aside, he does not inspire fervor in anyone. Even the character assassination of him from the foamy right lacks real passion, in no small part because he is old, white, middlin’ and middle of the road, and not, say, a black man, or a woman. No one expects greatness from Joe Biden. They expect adequate competence. He’ll probably be fine is the mantra here.

And he will, again, probably do fine! He’ll be just fine. His administration will be just fine, full of smart, competent people who will also do just fine, not a revolution but maybe some decent, solid steps forward to where we as a nation need to be. His fuckups will keep the Sunday talk show people employed but normal people won’t have to care much. A Biden administration will probably not consume every waking moment of your day with an existential dread about what awful racist shit it’s up to now, and how it might undermine the basic fucking fabric of American society.

Which, oh, hey, brings us to Donald Trump, the monumental fuck-up who is currently president, and who, as I write this, is careening through the White House, pumped up on steroids and experimental drugs, shedding viruses like a white cat sheds on a black shirt, and is thinking that lurching out of a hospital to wantonly infect others somehow projects strength, not sociopathy.

He is, literally, the worst. After four years, I don’t feel I need to break out all the reasons that he is the worst, although to lightly gloss, it’s to do with the corruption, the white supremacy, the self-dealing, the incompetence and the fact that 210,000 Americans (so far!) have died from a viral pandemic that Trump even today, even now, as it infects his own body, wants to pretend is not that big of a deal, and choses to do nothing useful about. The worst! The worst president in living memory for certain.

(Of all time? It’s a fight! James Buchanan actually broke the country so he might be the least competent president, and Andrew Jackson is pretty much the platonic ideal of a genocidal asshole, so he might be the worst human to be president. But Trump comes a close second in both categories! So he might be the worst president of all time simply on points. But even if Buchanan or Jackson (or Andrew Johnson, who was no treat either, or Warren G. Harding, I mean, shit, we really do elect some awful people to the gig) squeak by, again, no one alive has seen a worse president. No one alive has seen one so willfully unprepared for the job, one so disinterested in the job, one so ignorant of its scope, or one so unconcerned how all of that will affect those who have to suffer his administration, staffed as it is with incompetents and grifters because saner and smarter people either would have nothing to do with it, or left when they realized that Trump wanted sycophants, not useful advisors.)

The United States is not a better place for having Trump as president. The world is certainly not a better place. Most Americans are not better off now than they were four years ago. As much as Trump and his proudly ignorant, proudly racist and proudly angry supporters would like to suggest otherwise, a whole lot of the blame for all of that can be laid squarely at Trump’s door. Trump had no plan to be president — he didn’t want to be president, he just wanted attention — and he has no plan on what to do for another four years as president. He doesn’t want to be president now; he just doesn’t want to be branded a loser, and he doesn’t want to be on the hook for the hundreds of millions of dollars in personal loans coming due in the next few years. His presidency was born of grift and desperation, with a heavy dollop of white supremacy that history, I assure you, will find unforgivable.

Trump did not deserve to be president, does not deserve the job now, and certainly does not deserve another four years of it. Given the prospect of another four years of literally the worst president in living memory and possibly of all time, almost anyone the Democrats could have nominated would have had my vote in the general election. This was a done deal as of November 9, 2016, because it was pretty clear to me how bad the next four years were going to be, nor was I wrong. It makes no sense to deny that for the 2020 election, I was going to vote against Trump far more than I was going to vote for whomever the Democrats offered up.

Four years ago, I don’t think I was expecting that would be Biden, who will come into the White House as the oldest person to be elected to the job. I honestly believed that he figured he missed his shot, would write a memoir and then fade out. Surprise! Here we are, and here is Biden, and here is the 2020 election.

It is, and I say this without drama, the most consequential of the nine presidential elections I have to date voted in. We get to decide whether we will get four more years of corruption, of white supremacy, of self-dealing and of, literally, plague… or at least four years of not all of that. Four years of probably decent, probably unremarkable governance, by and from people who mostly know what they’re doing and mostly want to be useful when they do it, headed up by Joe Biden.

I’m not at all certain America will ever recover fully from four more years of Donald Trump. I’m very certain we can survive, and perhaps even thrive, with at least four years of Joe Biden.

So yes, Joe Biden, all right, fine, you’ll do. You got my vote. I hope you will get the vote of the majority of Americans, and (critically, due to our fucked-up system of choosing presidents) enough of the votes in each of the fifty US states to get you well above 270 electoral votes.

And more than that, I actively endorse you for president and encourage everyone to vote for you, so you can be a calm, unflashy, quiet, competent president who allows us all to fucking not have to concentrate on what terrible, awful, undemocratic and unamerican thing you are doing today, just because you want to and the people you surround yourself with are too ignorant and too corrupt to stop you.

Please be a perfectly fine president, Joe Biden. I need sleep. And so does everyone else. Thanks.

— JS

116 Comments on “The Scalzi Endorsement: Joe Biden”

  1. Notes:

    1. Political post, Mallet, behave, play nice with others, yadda yadda, you know how it is.

    2. Roll up with “Biden is a pedo” bullshit or any other Q-Anon level dipshittery and you will obviously be malleted into oblivion. Let’s acknowledge that the Tara Reade accusation exists and that a lot of that is messy and that I, personally speaking, find much of it dispiriting and confusing for all sorts of reasons. I’m going to suggest that Trump folks trying to score points against Biden on this without acknowledging their favorite’s vast smorgasbord of sexual assault allegations is likely to be hypocritical and a bad look. I’m going to watching discussion of these particular topics closely and with an eye toward Malleting if they do not look to be going anywhere fruitful.

    3. Likewise, once again, I have a BINGO card of Troll talking points, and if I see too many of the squares being filled up in a single comment, the Mallet will be employed. Likewise fly-by comments that I don’t think are adding anything substantive. Basically, if you swing by just to be an asshole, either of the trollish or performatively hand-wringing sort, see what that gets you.

  2. Yup, I think you pretty much nailed exactly my feelings about this election. Shared with many of my progressive friends who think that Biden is “just as bad as Trump”.

  3. But, but, but….he’s a raging liberal! (defined broadly, I guess, as in “can keep right arm down in public”).

    Either he or his VP will likely be competent and are unlikely to be evil (evil meaning “I don’t care how many people die to get me what I want, and what I want is likely for a lot of the people I don’t like to go away forever”). I’m pretty sure we can’t say that of either Trump or Pence and not likely the people who have endorsed (explicitly or tacitly) his actions (yes, I’m looking at you, Dr. Sasse).

  4. Yep. A Biden presidency may be a bit of a missed opportunity, but competence + compassion is so, so much better than the proven alternative.

  5. Biden’s as bad as Trump? Really? Considering how low the Trump standard for that is, they must be trying to prove that cognitive dissonance is not a GOP monopoly, which is a useful point but not worth the cost of four more years of the Toddler-in-Chief and his enablers.

  6. My wishful thinking. Biden wins the election, and right after being sworn in (literally after he takes his hand off the Bible), he announces that he’s stepping down, and Kamala goes up there and gets sworn in as our 47th President. A man can dream…

  7. As a transgender woman married to a transgender man living with friends and family of all sorts of marginalized people, thank you for expressing how we all feel.

  8. I’ve always maintained that the Biden campaign, all along, could’ve done worse for a slogan than “Biden: Feel free to ignore the news for weeks at a time.”

  9. This is pretty much where I’m at as a second-time Bernie supporter. I know you don’t like him and (generally) not his supporters but personally it seems like most will likely hold their nose and vote for Biden.

    I think nominating Joe Biden was an abject failure if the goal was to move the country forward instead of just… revert it back to what it was before Trump. But the latter is obviously preferable to fascism and I cast my vote the day it came in the mail.

    Here’s to a tolerable four years.

  10. Wow, you have been busy these last days. Three columns while I was following the NFL.

    I can’t vote (being foreign and all), but what I do hope to see (should a Biden presidency come about) is a restoration of the term ‘public service’ and the occupation ‘public servant’. ‘Restoration’ may not be the correct word here. How about eliminating ‘denigration’ of such?

  11. I nearly left the country in 2018 (had a job offer and everything, spouse nixed it). If 45 gets reelected, I’m definitely leaving. I want to live somewhere my child and I can breathe free (literally and metaphorically) and it’s definitely not the United fuckin’ States of America.

    I personally know several people who have emigrated or repatriated to Canada because living in a failed state with visa uncertainty is impossible. I expect the brain drain to continue unless the last four years is promptly reversed.

    Every time I think of that recording of the kids ICE ripped away from their parents screaming “mama” and “papa” like it’s the only word they know–and the fact that *we’re still doing that*–I fall apart. I’m not the sort of person who can turn off the part of my brain that is horrified and cares; that’s impossible to live with in an authoritarian state. If I stay I’m likely to die–by COVID-19, suicide, alt-right terrorism, or brain aneurysm, not sure which.

  12. It is an interesting thought experiment to imagine what kind of nominee the Dems would have to have such that one would say “I’m more excited to vote that person than I am to vote against Trump.”

    My preferred nominee was Elizabeth Warren, but if the nominee had been a genetically perfect mix of FDR, MLK, Rita Moreno, and a pepperoni pizza, I would still be voting against Trump.

  13. I hope, fervently hope, he does win the Electoral college. I am blue in a very red state, and every day I see some of the worst of his side casually flaunting its power. I am hoping it is almost over.

  14. My own feelings on this is that Biden will be a good but not great president, but considerably better than ‘fine’. Or would be, if he isn’t completely kneecapped by republican intransigence and a lack of understanding that it will take more than a few months to fix all the damage Trump has caused.

    Really though, I think the last part is key. I have leftier-than-thou friends who are voting for Biden but extremely vocal about how much it hurts them to do so, and are already yelling about how they’re going to be gaslit and attacked for the next few years because Biden is Just So Awful But Better Than Trump. Which I have no patience with.

    Here’s hoping he’s a success.

  15. Anyone who would roll up and try to talk about the Joe Biden allegations while at the same time disingenuously disregarding or downplaying all the Donald Trump allegations is someone who is demonstrating to the world that any opinions they may wish to express in the future can be safely ignored.

  16. @chumeister, I think I’m in the same boat. Biden was something like 2nd or 3rd to last on my list of Democratic candidates, but I’m really warming to him since he became the nominee. There’s something to be said for steadiness and compassion, and he’s got that. He’s also adopted a big list of liberal wishes and said he thinks there’s a transformative opportunity here, so I’m hopeful and glad that he’s not a “centrist” in terms of how our media likes to spin it.

    That said, would still prefer Kamala and would honestly just love it if he turned it over to her after a year or so of righting the ship.

  17. Not in my first several choices either, but I will happily vote for him if we can bring some sanity to the oval office.

    Sadly, that is the bar now. Not crazy.

  18. I lived in Ohio until just recently, and when I speak to people who believe Biden is as bad as Trump, I always have the feeling that person is living in a blue bubble. My first choice was Elizabeth Warren, and then probably Kamala Harris. When Trump was elected, I had some brief hope that he would assemble a good team that would keep him within bounds, but that lasted just a hot minute. He was worse that I expected, because Republicans refused to rein him in. We need to flip the Senate as well, or we’ll have Mitch blocking every good thing that could happen.

  19. Your tepid endorsement is apt. It may even qualify as stolidly adequate.

    Let them eat milquetoast!

    I also preferred Harris, and Biden’s choice made me happier.

    You are on fire! Thanks for this string of essays. Non-delusional inspiration and hope for a less awful tomorrow are in short supply these days. We have a passel of challenges before us and the trump squad in getting too heavy to bear.

  20. The GOP will be intransigent wherever they can. Power is all they have. No principle. Not much (if any) humanity. Just power (and money).

    A place where we got whatever we want might not be good anyway – power is corrosive. I would hope we wouldn’t become like the GOP, but power did no favors to even sane dictators in Rome, and I would expect nothing better to happen to people now.

  21. Biden has a level of empathy and humanity that I quite like, seems rare among politicians, and definitely makes him about as far from the current occupant of the White House as can be. I’ll take him, with gladness.

  22. For me the situation is a little worse. The Democrats chose my second least favorite candidate (only behind Bloomberg’s short-lived attempt to buy the nomination), and then picked my third least favorite as their VP nominee. I don’t want a prosecutor potentially in the Oval Office in 2021 at all, let alone one with her record; it’s the wrong move to try to heal Black Lives Matter and the reactionary response to it. (In this case her record outweighs her race.) For the record, my favorites were Sanders and Warren, though I go back and forth on the order to put them in.

    A lot of the backing for Biden seems to rest on the magical belief that all we need to do is get rid of Trump, and things will return to how they were before he became the President. That isn’t going to work. It’s going to take a lot just to get back to that level (and was going to even without COVID), and a lot more work to actually move forward. I’m not convinced that either Biden or Harris are the people to make those changes happen.

    And yet, I will vote for Biden. And I advise everybody to vote for him. The alternative is far worse. This election is the difference between keeping democracy alive long enough to bring in people who WILL make those changes happen, or the kleptocracy seizing power forever.

    I still lament 2016. Hillary had the misfortune of getting the one Republican opponent she couldn’t beat, because he was able to make the election a referendum on change vs the status quo. (There were enough people who were hungry for ANY kind of change, but who didn’t care a lot about what kind of change it was, to tip the balance.) Meanwhile, they threw away the opportunity to give Sanders the one opponent he could have beaten; that would have made the election a referendum on what KIND of change people wanted, and I believe that was a war that Sanders could have won.

  23. Like our host here, I’ve already voted for Biden. And if he is elected (as I think he will), it will be a moment of sweet sweet relief, the way getting up in the morning after shaking off a fever feels GREAT. But do not expect a quiet time under Biden. The various parts that make up our country have been flung about so violently, they’ll be banging into each other for a long time.

    It makes for interesting times, as noted in the ancient curse.

  24. What Matthew and David said. Biden was “okay, fine,” when he got the nomination, but he’s been really good about reaching out and listening during all of this, which IMO counts for a lot. He seems like a likeable, decent, empathic guy who’s also competent and willing to take advice from experts, and i am pretty well through with the pissing and moaning about how he’s not Che Guevara.

  25. In 2016 I voted against Hillary for various reasons – lack of trust in her personally, lack of trust in a globalist agenda, and while not as smarmy as Bill, still smarmy. She just didn’t give me a good feeling. I didn’t vote for the Great Orange One for many of the reasons you highlighted. Almost certainly Biden will get my vote because this country cannot handle another four years of GOO. I can’t think of a more divisive president and he actively pushing that divisiveness. That alone should give any supporter pause – Bush post 9/11 was a model of how a President should appear in public.

    I am profoundly disappointed in the Democratic party. Our election is this is to choose from one old white man and another old white man. This should have been a historic landslide of epic proportions … and we got Biden. Honestly, I disqualify Sanders for the same reason – another old white man. Had a fairly centrist non-OWM been nominated, I have zero doubt there would have been a blue wave across federal elections. Instead, the party apparatus gave us something akin to spam. Ugh.

    Neither party covers themselves with glory in 2020.

  26. There’s a reason that “may you live in interesting times” is generally considered a curse and the last 4 years, with 2020 being the poster child here, have been painfully, rudely, and horrifically interesting. For me, Binden is pretty much perfect – I actually don’t want a dynamic, charismatic, new ideas kind of president. I want some god damned quiet for a little while and I think Joe is the man for the job. Quietly Competent is perfection.

  27. @Shirley Marquez

    I have to disagree with you about Clinton’s chances. She is unelectable under the Electoral College system. The huge popular vote gap is evidence. People who live in the crucial precincts really, really, really dislike her. I’d argue it was Trump who beat the only opponent he could have beaten in the general. I’d be willing to bet Biden would have won 2016.

    I have heard the theories about Comey ruining her shot, or Putin, or the Bernie Bros, or whoever, but they do not convince me. There are a number of people who would not have voted for her if she were running against Hitler…well, I suppose the last four years have stolen the surprise out of that comparison.

  28. Don’t forget to vote downballot as well. Biden can do a lot more to fix things with a Democratic Senate than with a Republican one, which it currently is, especially if the House, every member of which is now up for re-election, stays blue. Also, since we’re just finishing up a census, legislative districts are about to be redrawn for another 10 years, and in many states whichever party controls the state legislatures gets to decide how they’re drawn. If you’d rather not see more gerrymandering to protect incumbent legislators and parties against political majorities who want change, vote for your state legislators accordingly. (Also consider which ones are trying to ensure that as many people as possible vote, instead of trying to make it hard for people they don’t like to vote.)

  29. Added: one of my favorite moments post-debate was when both Trump and the White Boys With Dredlocks Crowd held up “oooh, Biden’s not into the Green New Deal” like some kind of gotcha, and AOC Tweeted that yes, she *knew* that, that’s why they’d be on a committee together to talk things out.

    It’s nice to see people, who, to paraphrase the West Wing, operate in the world of professional politics and not adolescent temper tantrum.

  30. Biden closed his town hall thing by saying he wanted to be a transitional President. I can live with that, something that is going to shake many trees and just try to get some balance back into this country.

    If he is setting a stage for Harris to follow, even better, but that is another story.

    It will be hard for Biden to replace all of the things Trump took away from us, even if the country wasn’t divided, so, no, the country isn’t going to get better just by electing Biden, but there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

  31. Agree on all points, JS, but I’ll add this; I think, while he doesn’t hugely excite me as a candidate, Biden is fundamentally a good and compassionate and empathic human. There was a time when I’d have thought that at least the ***perception*** of being such was the barest minimum we could expect from a U.S. president, but, well … here we are. With an individual holding the office who doesn’t purport to be any of those things to even the slightest degree. So, getting us back to a place of having a Basically Decent Human driving the boat is at least a step in the right direction.

  32. Biden was not my first, second, or even third choice for democratic nominee, but he’s the one that’s left. And while that is enough to get me to vote for him, his actions since securing the presumptive nomination have led me to believe that he will be better than okay, that he will be a good President.
    1. He has always been at the center of the Democratic Party. I know many don’t like political weather vanes, but in this case the fact that the center is farther to the left/liberal side than to the conservative/center side of the party is heartening, and the policies that he has embraced in getting the nomination are all well within the liberal canon.
    2. He has demonstrated true empathy and compassion throughout the campaign, which is a stark contrast to Trump’s displays of toxic masculinity and psychopathy.
    3. He picks good people. He picked one of my top picks to be his vice presidential nominee. His campaign team is top notch and is doing everything possible to hit back at Trump’s displays of fascism, without stooping to the Republicans’ level.
    4. He walks the walk. He models the behavior that he wants us to do, most prominently by wearing a mask and physical distancing when in company of people who aren’t living with him. If there is one thing that we desperately need, is someone to be a role model for our kids (and our adults who behave like ill-mannered children). I am ready to chant “Be Like Joe!” at the top of my lungs at an appropriately socially distant rally whenever they hold one near where I live.

  33. > It is, to be clear, the most consequential of the nine presidential elections I have to date voted in.

    Eh… no. I mean, it’s an important election, no doubt, but the most consequential presidential election of recent history was clearly 2016’s. Even if Biden wins, things will remain fundamentally different than they were before.

  34. As a former American now safely in Canada, I can truly say Americans have no idea how dumb the country looks right now to the rest of the world. You can bet that Putin is marveling at how easy it was to manipulate Americans to elect this jerk, and how he could do it again with a more credible candidate now that he knows how corrupt the GOP is. And may Xi is watching too, wondering why Russia should get all the wins.

    The next time America faces an existential crisis, it won’t be a buffoon like Trump who’s the candidate.

  35. This election was always going to be a referendum on Trump, especially after the COVID-19 disaster. Biden was not my first choice, but I understood that the Dem Party is a pretty big tent coalition and given our times, Joe is probably the perfect candidate for that colation. He has managed to coalesce the Party faithful behind him which is no mean feat politically.

    As a left of center former politician, I think the left in the Dem coaltion is going to be pleasantly surprised by a Biden administration. It will not be Bernie’s Revolution, but it will be good progress towards a more equitable playing field.

  36. Yeah he’ll probably be meh okay sure. He’s likeable enough but how long will he be around. His VP candidate may be lawyerly and professional and experienced in politics but what about statecraft and diplomacy? It’s not enough to just hammer your enemies in debates. My other worry is that the same people tend to follow those in power, pretend to be whomever you want them to be, and then merrily go along taking in bribes and adding debt and starting wars and making trade deals none of which benefits America in the least. There’s also this little item of deficit spending which is not in vogue at the moment but has the habit of causing long term problems. I have heard nothing from anyone on how they plan to solve that one. Well anyway at least Trump will have to face the music in four weeks and it is not looking good for him.

  37. @Magda

    Yeah, that’s one of my fears too, that the GOP (with or without the help of Vladimir Putin or whoever else) will eventually find a candidate who is basically Trump, except actually smart, competent, and not a loud-mouthed, poo-flinging baboon.

  38. I don’t think being in Canada will save you, though – if the US flips its lid, lots of bad things will happen in lots of places (even more so than now).

    I think the understanding that an awful lot of people are willing to screw themselves and others and get lots of people killed to have social dominance they can’t earn and shouldn’t have had is something that cannot be forgotten. Even if Biden wins, it will always be lurking until it is repudiated, and since souls aren’t cheap, it will be difficult to be rid of.

  39. This paragraph here:

    “[Biden is] old, white, middlin’ and middle of the road. Certain sitcom characters aside, he does not inspire fervor in anyone. Even the character assassination of him from the foamy right lacks real passion, in no small part because he is old, white, middlin’ and middle of the road, and not, say, a black man, or a woman. No one expects greatness from Joe Biden. They expect adequate competence.”

    …reminded me of this paragraph from a Windsor Mann opinion piece that stuck with me:

    “Americans have strong feelings about Trump. Twenty-seven percent of voters view him very favorably; 50 percent view him very unfavorably. Few people are passionate about Biden, which is a good sign. The only way to defeat a personality cult democratically is by replacing it with a personality that doesn’t inspire a cult.”

    So, who knows? Maybe the bland, middle-of-the-road, vaguely racist grandpa candidate really was the best choice here!

  40. Clicked on your link to your previous piece about the Democratic nominees, way back from June 2019, and got a wry, dispirited chuckle at the end:

    “and if a targeted and highly specific virus incapacitated every single other candidate above you, then I guess I’d vote for you over Trump.”

  41. Hey. I will quite happily settle for “mostly competent” if it means I don’t have to flinch whenever I look at the national news. I want someone who is capable of finding the brain trust to FIX things, and I’m convinced that is Biden. I don’t want someone who evokes a personality cult, either right or left. Period.

  42. About this “better off” business, regardless of income, no one is better off in terms of the quality of the society we live in. I would prefer all of us doing OK to a few people doing really great, at the expense of the misery of others.

    I’m retired, doing OK, probably better off than I was in 2016 (for reasons not related to 45), but I have empathy. So I’m voting for Harris. And Biden.

  43. You expressed my thoughts far better than I could, Mr. Scalzi. Biden wasn’t my first choice by a long shot, but I voted for him and Harris (well, really “Harris and the old white guy” is how I framed it in my mind) regardless.

    I am terrified – TERRIFIED – that the current occupant of the Oval Office is going to steal this election, too, same as he did the last one. I desperately hope that I am wrong, but there are just way too many folks out there for whom he is the last and only chance that they’ll ever have to get their way. Whether white supremacists gleeful at finally having one of their own in the top spot or just rabid conservatives who hope to manipulate him into turning the US into a theocracy, either way, there are a whole lotta folks who really have a vested interest in helping him to steal another election. I see it daily in my own state – I live in a deep-purple swing state, and the R’s are just frothing at the mouth in their efforts to suppress as many non-white, non-rich, non-conservative votes as they possibly can.

    It is going to be a very, very long month.

  44. I don’t know. I mean, I think people can think Biden is a very bad candidate from a left perspective, and it’s their right to say it aloud. But it seems to me they’re completely ignoring how much he’s acknowledging the left wing of the Democratic party, and how he seems to be giving lots of consideration to some pretty progressive ideas. Who knows, maybe he’ll end up like Pope Francis: practicing some great policies in some areas, while having blind spots in others. That’s how things work, mostly. And people aren’t completely evil, when they aren’t completely good.

    Looking from abroad, Donald Trump does seem devoid of any redeeming qualities, though. I really hope you guys get rid of him and his enablers, well and truly. I want to see the world come together to beat pandemics and climate change and nuclear proliferation, not follow authoritarian nationalist leaders turn all of those problems up to eleven, especially not in one of the most influential countries.

  45. I don’t believe in an actual afterlife but, to paraphrase the Albright quote: there is a special place in Hell for ‘progressives’ who won’t vote for Biden because heisasbadasTrump.
    I am afraid though that, with vote suppression on the Right and dumbfuckery on the Left, Trump might very well get his second term.

    I pray to a God I also don’t believe in that he won’t.

    On a personal note, I’m living with cancer and two years ago (when I started with a hormone cure) it wasn’t certain I would live to see this coming election. The treatment is going so well there is a good chance I will be around for a full second Trump term. I would very much prefer to live and not witness that over being dead and not having to.
    So, as a non-American who cares about this planet and all who live on it, including homo not-too-sapiens, I would like to ask all Americans to go out and bloody vote (against Trump) already.

  46. Janne, I think I agree with you. He’s giving a lot of consideration to progressive ideas and regardless of whatever else you think his campaign is doing fantastically well – two of the more recent reputable polls have him at +13 and +17 points nationally, which is just insane. And he’ll be good in many areas, bad on others, and in all cases a huge improvement over the current presidency… and in most cases over the Obama presidency as well. He’s significantly to the left of 44’s presidency because the party and the country is more left than it was, and that’s good.

    I think Biden’s going to do a lot he won’t get credit for, and he’ll be blamed for making some necessary compromises. From his speech (going on right now, actually) he’s going to try to get Republicans back into the fold of sane governance, which is the only play you can make in a time like this where his opponent is running on a “all democrats are traitors” platform. But it’s also going to fail, so I hope he’s ready to tell the American people why it failed (republican elite intransigence and an unwillingness to work together by republican senators) when it does.

  47. I basically share our host’s sentiments, with slightly different rearrangements. Biden is, above all, not a raving loon like Trump is. He’s even reasonably liberal and smart, not to mention experienced.

    That said, it’s long past time his generation got sent to retirement — they’ve been clinging to power way too long, and shutting out a lot of younger candidates. (Yeah, it’s the Gen-X problem as applied to politics.) His age worries me in a different way too — I’m just hoping that he’ll be able to stand up to the Republicans, especially if we need to add seats to the Supreme Court.

    That said, in many respects, Kamilla Harris represents a marked improvement, and, given Biden’s age, she might even get to sit in his chair before 2024.

  48. Quiet competence at the top and in the bureaucracies of civil servants are what keep countries functional. Trump has does his best to gut the State Department, HHS, etc., etc. through cronyism and kleptocracy, destroy existing alliances, etc.

    Biden will be better just fine and is a good person to undo at least some of the damage.

  49. US citizen living in Canada. I can only vote in federal elections (so prez, senator, and rep) and the state I vote in is solidly blue so my vote will just be part of the hopefully enormous landslide of popular votes against Trump in particular and the GOP in general.

    Biden was not my first, second or third choice in the primaries and I still get frustrated when I reflect upon his unwillingness to upset his R colleagues and his lack of support for Anita Hill during the Thomas’ hearings. And certainly setting oneself up as transitional president isn’t sexy, but I’ll take it because I’m certain as a transitional president, he will work to rebuild and improve many federal departments (e.g., the EPA, State, and the Post Office) and executive functions that Trump has damaged (and maybe eliminate a few that are really problematical — Homeland Security, I’m looking at you). I’m also positive that under his administration many of the competent and dedicated members of the civil service, who fled or were driven off by Trump, will return and that his new hires will be people who can actually do the job, rather than partisan hacks who are only good at being sycophants and grifters. I look forward to having a DOJ that doesn’t function as the president’s private law firm, a CDC that doesn’t have fight with the administrative about how to manage a public health crisis, and a Pentagon whose leaders don’t have to remind the president that their oaths of loyalty are to the country not to him. I also am hopeful that under Biden there will be a serious look at fixing some weaknesses in US’s system (and if senate flips and the house stays D, we might even get some of problems repaired).

    Also with Biden as president I feel that there will be a greater chance that the Canada – US border will be re-opened in time for me to be able to visit with my family for next year’s Thanksgiving.

  50. Okay, yes, Biden wasn’t my top pick in the primaries either. But he’ll definitely do just fine. He was always in my top five, as was Harris. And really, the biggest problem I had with Biden initially was that, well, he is 78 years old; however, I decided fairly early (back in 2016, actually) that “old and sane politician” is better than “old and insane demagogue,” aka Donald Trump. And then Biden picked Harris, who is young enough to develop the foreign policy chops she may lack right now due to inexperience, and a solid, competent choice in other ways–and I was (and am) happy.

    I will be voting against Trump–that was always a given; I’d have voted against Trump if the Democrats had nominated Elmer Fudd, and Elmer is a cartoon character who hunts “wascally wabbits.” But this year I will also be voting FOR Biden and Harris. To me, they are a positive choice, not just “the lesser of two evils” (which, to be fair, I was quite prepared to select on election day); they are a positive good against a clear evil, and I am honestly comfortable with them as my candidates. Could there have been a better choice for the Democrats? Maybe, but also maybe not. It could be a lot worse.

  51. I am more optimistic about a Biden/Harris administration than I was when he was first selected as the nominee. Biden wasn’t my first, second, or third choice, but he’s acquitted himself well and seems like a compassionate, intelligent, competent person. I’ll be voting for Democrats all the way down the ticket here in Texas. We’re in for a rough ride if we don’t take back the state house and senate.

  52. Yeah, I was all in for Harris the moment she announced, but she clearly wasn’t ready for a campaign at this level. But, OMG, she’ll be an awesome VP and can step in/up if necessary.

    I’m just looking forward to the daily drama level dropping back down to background noise I can read about if I choose. Oh, and the pandemic finally taken seriously and an end to the 24/7 existential threat to this country’s very existence as a democracy.

  53. I felt as you do, and I wrote some pretty unkind comments about Biden’s performance in the primary debates. However, right now, in late 2020, I think Biden is a candidate who is a strong match for this historical moment. The man knows grief and loss. We, as a nation, are grieving when we’re not furiously angry. We need his empathy. We need a leader who understands, from his heart, the experience of what feels like insurmountable loss. It also meets the moment that he’s been in the White House for eight years and knows what a functioning Federal Government is supposed to look like from the inside. I fervently hope he wins.

  54. Some people who may consider him south of “just fine” are surviving family members of the 200,000 Iraqis murdered in the war crime he voted to authorize.

    Look, we know we’re stuck with him. Just don’t insult our intelligence by trying to pass him off as anything more palatable than the corporate bag man he’s always been.

  55. [Deleted because the joke contained in it was more offensive than funny and didn’t add anything useful to the conversation — JS]

  56. @Magda. Yes, we’re aware, largely because people like you keep mentioning it. I’m happy to hand out reciprocal comments (hey, have the Canadians resolved their guilt over their treatment of the First Peoples yet? The rest of the world is aghast!), but how about we don’t go down that path?

  57. On a side note, I was delighted to see that a comment from someone who played the “you’ll probably delete this” card was in fact caught by the spam filter and didn’t make it onto the comment thread at all, thereby saving me the trouble of deleting it.

    Which is my reminder to any very brave truth-tellers out there that that if you dare me to delete your post, I’ll be happy to oblige you, strictly on that basis.

  58. “the plan goes, the Trump campaign would cry foul about rampant fraud and demand that state legislators ignore the ballot tabulations and choose their electors directly. If the campaign can sustain doubt or confusion about the ballot count, legislators will feel more and more pressure to take up the responsibility before the Dec. 8 deadline when electors’ names are sent to Congress for verification.”

    The entire GOP is setting up to steal the election by appointing partisan electors in republican controlled states.

    The only way this doesnt work is if the vote is a landslide against trump to the point that “fraud” isnt even a question.

  59. Last two paragraphs = spot on.

    I want to spend my days living the life I choose, not educating myself on the twists and turns of individual political careers, not having my face pasted to the computer screen all the time be to find out the next twist and turn of current events that could screw up my life, the lives of family and friends, and of people I don’t know but who deserve to not have their lives screwed with.

    I’ll vote for Biden soon as my ballot gets here. And with Harris as his VP, the possibility of a female POTUS gets better and better, even if Biden goes for two full terms. He doesn’t have to be a great president, he just has to be competent and hold the fort till the woman can step up to the plate.

  60. So I’ll be voting for Biden even if my vote for president doesn’t really matter (I live in New York.) But the down ballots count, so when I get my ballot in the mail, I’ll send it right in.

    But John, I may have to disagree with you on the worst president in memory. I think Bush the Second may be worst. He put the US into two forever wars, approved torture as official US policy, and oversaw a massive collapse of the economy.

  61. It will be nice not to have to feel like I have to go to the range to keep up the proficiency every other week on account of I’m part Jewish and the President has no problem with actual nazis supporting him.

  62. “Joe Biden does not set me afire with political passion. He in himself does not strike me as an epochal candidate, the way Barack Obama was, or Hillary Clinton might have been as the first woman president. He’s old, white, middlin’ and middle of the road.”

    Can I get an Amen?!

    Also, I don’t care how much he’s grown and evolved over the decades, “The Deterioration of the Family” is grade A antifeminism, context and ultimate aims notwithstanding.

    His marriage to and respect for his professional of a wife mitigates this a bit, but I digress.

    He’s also got a bit of a racist streak which, while nowhere near the continent size one on the other side, still makes me pause.

    For me, he came in behind Harris, Booker, Warren, Yang, Sanders, O’Rourke, Castro and even Klobuchar, but I’ll be damned (I’ll probably be sold or even executed because black and female) if I stay home or vote third party because he failed to crack my top five.

    Right now, he’s Democracy Man !!! with a big blue D on his chest and a cape that incorporates the flags of all of the nations represented in this country.

    He won’t work actively to starve, imprison or lynch my family or me.

    He has my vote for the simple fact that he doesn’t have white supremacists on retainer, preside over eugenics and genocide or work actively to enable the spread of a contagious, debilitating and deadly virus.
    He’s done a decent enough job at appearing to check his privilege that I kind of buy the “uncle Joe” shtick.

    He’s our only hope.

  63. Two things about your endorsement:

    1. I think you underestimate Biden a bit. All of your comments about his limitations are spot on, he is absolutely not the candidate I would have chosen 9 months ago, and he has plenty of issues that you didn’t even mention here. But I think that as mediocre a politician and Presidential candidate as he is, I think he’s somehow right for the moment we are in.

    2. I actually think your endorsement is a great one. If more people took this approach to voting: “I’m voting for this candidate because (s)he will do”, we’d all be a lot better off.

  64. Trump getting the worlds best healthcare and three different not-even-approved-yet drugs to treat his coronavirus, then coming back and telling all tbe people who have no access to any of that to not worry about covid19, really smacks of a “let them eat cake” moment.

    At this point, i just want a president that isnt a clueless, selfish prick. Biden satisfies that requirement.

  65. [Deleted because not relevant to discussion, and also random dimwit is failing very badly at an attempt to condescend to me — JS]

  66. I agree with your thoughts, but honestly I am somewhat excited for Joe. Because he will be restful. He won’t be in the news every day. People pissed at him won’t be in the news every day. I live in Michigan and the amount of hate directed at our very competent governor is exhausting after dealing with Trump. I want a Woman president, I want minorities. I want more liberal politics. But that is going to be divisive (it shouldn’t be) so taking a couple years off sounds restful.

  67. Observes troll spoor, wrinkles noes and steps around it in disgust.


    Agreed, but it’s so much worse than that; he’s taking hostages now.

    Like a lot of desperate people, Trump has adopted the “I and mine retain power or Americans’ stability and wellbeing get it” strategy.

    This from a person passing out viral loads like party favors and encouraging his underlings and supporters to do the same.

    In the meantime, here’s Biden’s message:

    The best someone could argue is that Trump is playing hardball with the American people like he would during business negotiations. Problem is, he’s likely going to cost lives and cause even more chaos, the kind that, unlike him and his supporters, won’t discriminate.

    Folks on both sides are hurting, and the unicorns (unicorns specifically meaning empathetic republicans and conservatives who value and respect democracy, even when they disagree with those in power) may not take kindly to Trump using relief as leverage in a sociopolitical dick-waving contest.

    Democracy Man to the rescue.

  68. [Deleted for saying they weren’t comparing someone with a Nazi after directly analogizing that person with Hitler. Dude, what the actual fuck — JS]

  69. Folks, an FYI: I’ll be turning off the comments here soon because it’s likely to sprout trolls overnight, and I have to be up early to take Krissy to have her foot surgery, which means going to bed a little early as well.

    In fact, now that I think about, now is a good time to do that. They’ll be open again once I’m up. See you in the morning, folks!

    Update: Comments back on.

  70. … almost anyone the Democrats could have nominated would have had my vote in the general election.

    I looked at that link. The Democrats could not, in fact, have nominated Marianne Williamson. I mean they could have, in the sense that all of the air molecules in the room I’m now sitting in could all suddenly wind up in 1 cubic meter of space leaving the rest of the place in vacuum, but nah. And as you pointed out there, in that eventuality you were already moved to Canada and not voting anyway.

    Admit it, you were always “vote blue, no matter who.”

  71. But if Trump loses it means my country’s Prime Minister will be the worst Western Leader and biggest puppet of Putin…. Yeah, Trump should lose and the UK needs to learn what it is to be the World’s biggest joke for a while. Vote Biden, my Amerifriends. Turn the corner, maybe drag us with you.

    I do worry though, and this last weekend has thrown that worry into sharp relief, that making it focused on defeating Trump means that if he becomes ineligible to stand, through illness or death, a lot of potential Biden voters are gonna call it a done deal and just stay home or go third party protest vote and hand the whole thing to Pence. From what I can tell, Pence is one of the few people on the planet who are potentially worse, especially with his seemingly true believer status in his apocalyptic death cult. I’ve seen a lot of comments along the lines of “if Trump dies we don’t have to worry”, so defeat Trump but please also put a focus on Pence and vote to defeat him with the same fervour. People seem to be ignoring the danger he and the rest of the Republican party poses thanks to the hyperfocus on defeating Trump. If Trump dies or can’t stand for any other reason, and the campaign and electoral passion is directed solely on a “defeat Trump” campaign then there is no campaign left. Don’t hand the Whitehouse to Pence by default.

    Also, only tangentially relatedly, is it Whitehouse or White House. I see both used interchangeably. I’d like to know which is correct to use.

  72. As for the two parties nominating as president imperfect people, I think of a definition I heard somewhere, with the key word being “most:” Democracy is the faith that most of the people, most of the time, will do the right thing, provided they have the information.

    Sometimes, most people will say “groovy” and wear bellbottoms.

    The only perfect people who do everything in lockstep are the ones who very, very confidently say, “Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.”

  73. I’m no huge fan of Biden but he’s at least mature enough to incorporate a measure of humility in his make-up. Neither am I a Democrat, but the GOP has been proving it’s complete ineptness since the 2016 nomination process. I was a charter member of ABC – Anyone But Clinton – but resigned when it was clear that the GOP had surrendered to Trumpism. A Dem mediocrity might at least know enough to hire good people and *listen* to their advice.

  74. I’m thinking he will be the salve to begin to heal the damage wrought by Trump.
    A lot of ground has been lost in the last 3.5+ years. It will take a few more elections to regain and resume. Joe will get us settled so we can get on with solving problems rather than creating new ones or making current ones worse.

  75. Just checked my state voter website, and my absentee ballot has been ACCEPTED. And of course it’s a ballot for Biden/Harris.

    @crypticmirror, I’ve always seen it written White House with the sole exception being the website.

    And off-topic, but I’m glad to hear Krissy’s surgery went well.

  76. So yesterday afternoon I was taking advantage of a beautiful early autumn day to wash and wax my car. Had the radio on tuned to a classic rock station, and an Elton John song from my college days back in the early 70s came on. I was singing along with the radio when the song ended and I realized that for the first time in my recent memory I was happy and relaxed, not worried about a crashing economy, pandemic, what the clown in the White House was going to tweet or proclaim next, what outrage or stupidity he was going to commit in my name.

    I want that couple of minutes to become my permanent reality again.

  77. Re: worst president ever, I’d submit that there’s never been a time when the leader of the free world has been more informed, more supported by finance and science, more able to reach out to peers in time to cooperate and deal peace than right now, more of, just, EVERYTHING, elevating Trump to Worst by a wide margin.

    Buchanan, Johnson, Harding, et. al. were obviously products of their time, constrained by the limitations of their era, and certainly the Internet has become a devil’s bargain that modern pols have to deal with but, my God, we have a global,instantaneous communication, a (theoretically) educated populace, pandemic playbooks, scientists, money, the (fraught) start of a national discourse on social justice. There’s no excuse for a 21st President who does such a thoroughly mangled job of it…literally, there’ s no excuse. It’s malice and incompetence, which makes Trump the Worst.

  78. Hear hear. This pretty much sums up my feelings on the guy too.

    I think the key thing for me is knowing that Biden will likely not only be reasonably effective at carrying out his duties in the job, but also will appoint competent, knowledgeable, and (hopefully) principled people to his administration. That has been sorely missing from the Trump administration. We do love to lay the blame for everything at Trump’s feet – and, in a real sense, the buck does stop there – but he has flooded his cabinet and federal agencies with sycophants and donors rather than qualified experts, and that fact has probably done almost as much material damage to this country as the guy in the Oval Office has directly caused.

    I’m sure Biden will be better at assembling a team than Trump (hard to do much worse). His VP pick shows that’s off to a good start already, if you ask me.

    I just want a functional, competent federal government again.

  79. More than one person upthread wants a quiet Biden. I can see that happening. There were all sorts of crises, one after another, before Reagan got in, including (but not limited to) campus, Persons of Color inner city, and ecological. After Reagan got in, none of those were making the front page.

    I think people back then wanted a brief rest, even while there were a few Reagan jokes going around.

    Everything got pushed to the back, including the arms race… which is why the movie The Day After was such a shock to those who had pushed the danger aside. When my roommates, disturbed, said they hadn’t known about atomic war I almost snarled, “Where were you in ’62?”

    The other thing I can remember about his election is someone saying he felt a sense of payback for all the times the liberals had done a “straight arm to our face.” I guess power should be used with respect.

    So yes, quiet like a corporation president works for me.

  80. crypticmirror: The building is the White House. The Senator from Rhode Island is Sheldon Whitehouse. The building’s website is because URLs usually run words together.

  81. I’m not voting for Biden. I live in a state where the polls say that Trump has something under an 8% chance of winning with just 42% of the statewide vote. I’m protest voting because I am really upset with the Democrats. Yeah, if I lived in Ohio I’d very likely knuckle under and vote Biden, but where I am? No. If the only two choices were Trump or Biden I’d not vote. And no, this is not middle class apathy, this is making under 20K a year anger. I don’t know that what I’m doing will change anything, but I want to make it clear that I am not happy with things merely “getting back to normal”. Under Obama things were fairly shitty for me and if things do not significantly improve over that baseline in the next year I’m probably going to get to choose between the lesser evil of homeless or suicide.

  82. Mathais, I am not going to dump on you for your protest vote, you are in so much pain right now it would be cruel. There are a lot of hotlines and help available should you get so down you feel that’s your only way out. Please, please don’t hurt yourself. Take care.

  83. Wade: “Admit it, you were always “vote blue, no matter who.”

    You say that like its a bad thing to do for 2020. A potted plant(D) would be better that Trump.

    Mattias: ” I’m protest voting because I am really upset with the Democrats. … Under Obama things were fairly shitty for me”

    I will assert that Obama had nothing to do with how shitty your life was.

    Shitty things done by Obama include: not sending W to the Hague, not prosecuting torturers, continuuing the widespread warrantless wiretapping started by W, preemptively caving to republicans on key bills such as obamacare, letting the republicans get away with not confirming merrick garland, and having intel that the russians were influencing 2016 election but keeping that info classified. Those last 2 were because most people underestimated how stupid america was and didnt think Trump had a chance of winning.

    But point being, however shitty your life is now, i czn promise you it would be shittier had Obama lost and john bomb bomb bomb iran mccain had won with sarah palin as vp. Four more years of trump could destroy the nation and your 20k a year job might look like the good old days.

    You want to protest the dem party? Donate money or money or put a bumper sticker to candidates who align with you. But if you dont vote Biden, the closer the gap between trump and biden, the more likely trump may get away with saying there is voter fraud and declare himself the winner.

  84. Quarbleline, now what was I just saying about being cruel? You’re not being very helpful. You don’t know what others are going through.

  85. John Scalzi: so did I. It felt good. I hope Krissy’s foot surgery goes well.

    I’m actually ridin with Biden with more enthusiasm than I anticipated. As Shantanu notes, he picks good people, which is half the job in doing good things. And he’s decent and compassionate, both of which will be useful when we get around to properly mourning the COVID dead, not to mention actual governing.

  86. One nice moment in the otherwise excrement-flinging debate was when Trump tried to bully Biden over his son Hunter. Rather than distance himself from his son, turn the attack back on Trump for having no decency, or otherwise use it to go on the attack, he instead used it to reinforce his love and support for his son:

    Yeah, he’s old, white and has done things I really don’t like. Barring a real electoral-road-to-Damascus moment for the GOP, I don’t think compromise and trying to work with them is going to be fruitful at all. But his drive for compromise seems to be rooted in his empathy, and ability to connect with people, and his pragmatism should let him overcome that failure. Empathy and pragmatism seems like a solid base for a President.

  87. Perhaps an odd comparison: Biden reminds me, in a strange way, of George S. Patton.

    Not in temperament or attitude, but in their suitability for a certain circumstance and their unsuitability for what would come after. Biden is not the guy to lead America all the way out of the morass that the Republican Party of the 21st century has sunk my country into. But he *is* someone capable of defeating Trump and Trumpism, who can counter the weaknesses Trump used last time against Hillary Clinton, who can build a coalition of disparate voices like nobody else truly managed in the 2020 Democratic primaries.

    Patton was a jerk and a blowhard and a bully, but he was quite good at leading soldiers in battle, and in 1944, that’s exactly what was needed.

    In mid-1945, he was the wrong guy, though.

    In 2024, Biden may well be the wrong person to lead America. But in 2020, with its … unique challenges, it’s becoming more and more apparent that Biden may just do a pretty damn good job.

  88. @Nancy:

    It’s hardly cruel to disagree with a post in a political thread.

    I’m glad you made the choice to withhold criticism, but please don’t expect others to do the same.

    Quarbleline was gentle in her critique and offered some extremely “helpful” suggestions as to how to launch a more effective protest.

    To whom does she have a responsibility to be helpful, a single poster with whom she disagrees or the millions of people who’ll suffer under another four years of Trump?


    I won’t harp on you, but I will remark that you open yourself up to criticism whenever you go public with your intentions at the ballot box.
    No one can or should dictate how you should vote, but people who call you on a choice you announce aren’t wrong when they do.

    I’m hoping folks’ better angels prevail.

    I’m hoping that the communities under the boot of the *current* administration and its supporters aren’t driven to contemplate suicide or Sethe’s choice.

    I’d encourage anyone unable to cope to take advantage of all of the available mental health resources, while we still have them.

    I’m also glad someone said “I will assert that Obama had nothing to do with how shitty your life was”

    Trump, by contrast, has a ton to do with the poor quality and outright obliteration of millions of lives, but even I wouldn’t charge him with direct responsibility for things not going my way.

    I’m not one of those “poverty and misfortune is always your own fault” jerks, but I’ll need more than someone’s word to convince me of a president’s direct responsibility for their crappy life.

    We get the government we deserve, and I think how or whether we exercise the right to vote is a huge part of that.


    I’m glad to know Chrissie’s procedure went smoothly. May she enjoy a speedy and comfortable recovery.

    @General thread:

    I often wonder if Trump is an amalgamation of the various cankers that make up the least common denominator or if he’s the root cause of that canker.

    More specifically, Does Trump bring out the worst in this country or does he represent it?

    Someone upthread made the excellent point that removing Trump will do little if anything to calm the waters; I agree, whole-heartedly.

    I think Trump is part retribution for the election and reelection of a “Kenyan socialist Muslim n***,” one who oversaw a healthcare bill that “punished the productive,” “rewarded the “non-productive have nots” and “[interfered] with natural selection.”

    I also think this is a bigoted country and charge bigots with Trump’s rise to power.

    Don’t even get me started on single issue voters.

    That said, to what extent do protest voters and leftwing sexists, misogynists and tantrum throwing party purists own his win?

    Aren’t their hands just as bloody as Trumpists’?

    How do members of targeted communities regard those willing to take political stands on *our* heads?

    Does having the right to do something free you from the consequences of doing it?

    We can’t expect consequence free speech, so why should we expect consequence free voting, especially when the consequences impact millions of people?

  89. Nancy:”You don’t know what others are going through.”

    No. But I can be pretty sure that Obama isnt the cause of it.

    Also, as someone who once struggled with suicidal thoughts, I will support anyone who is asking for help. And as someone who struggled with suporting someone else who was suicidal, I no longer let depression make me a codependent in their relationship. Depression does not allow someone to inflict damage on others.

    Pat: “Any true progressive will be voting for the Green Party,”

    Trump thanks you for your assistance.

  90. Translation: I really don’t care. Do you?

    Real progressives will do as Sanders suggested and throw in with the candidate most likely to get them what they want.

    Faux progressives/Tantrum throwers who pick this election to detonate their suicide bombs are a threat to anyone who doesn’t lack their privilege.

    Real progressives will count them among the Trumpists and treat them accordingly.

  91. I want results.
    As in, I want results from an elected president.
    Joe Biden wasn’t my first pick (that would have been Warren) or even fourth but at this point I will vote for a used sweat sock on a stick if that’s what it takes to get rid of the bloviating orange gasbag.

    On the plus side, Biden is a competent and practiced administrator and legislator who can be relied on to not shut the government down in a hissy fit and he’s more than capable of choosing able and competent administrators for the massive machine that is the federal government. My concern is that he is often a little too chummy with the people in the room, largely to the detriment of middle class and working class Americans. It’s not underhanded to point out that Biden was a big proponent of deregulating the financial industry (although he’s hardly alone in that respect–looking at YOU, Larry Summers), particularly the financial products markets, such as credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, etc. He opened Delaware right up for the purveyors of said products, so much so that his home state of Delaware is now home (as in incorporated and as in company headquarters) to pretty much all the credit card companies & other related financial products. That didn’t work out particularly well for anyone who had or wanted to have a credit card or use an ATM without paying $20 in user fees or get charged a fee for every time you used a prepaid debit card. All practices that hurt middle class and working class Americans and enriched the 1%. And Joe was way too comfy with the Clarence Thomas hearings with all the MEN in the room and was more than happy to keep them happy and comfortable. And was perfectly comfortable throwing Anita Hill under the bus.

    Yes, I want more women and minorities in the government but I’m not willing to trade optics for actual progressive change. I wasn’t crazy about Hillary but at that point, the options were “boring, competent and morally questionable policy wonk”, “what’s Aleppo?” (after Aleppo had been the lead on the news for 2 weeks straight–for religious and ethnic GENOCIDE) and “ambulatory tire fire”, so yeah, I voted for the least objectionable. Which is pretty much what is happening here.

    Kamala Harris is a terrific prosecutor and likely a terrific jurist but those skills don’t necessarily translate into being a terrific executive or being excellent at crafting policy. They are decidedly not the same skills. (She had not served a full term in the Senate before running for the Democratic nomination, so it hardly seems fair to judge her on her legislative record–there hardly is one.) I’m still looking forward to seeing her go all Mortal Kombat on Pence tomorrow night nonetheless. (FINISH HIM!!)

    The real problem is that we are in a genuine world crisis (several of them, actually) and business as usual won’t fix that. Business as usual is what created them. We are in a worldwide pandemic, the West Coast is basically on fire, the Greenland ice sheet could slide off into the ocean at any given time and we are staring a massive species extinction event in the eye in no small part due to climate change. Radical change is needed to solve these problems and I don’t see that coming out of the Biden-Harris presidency. Small businesses are going out of business in this pandemic; this benefits huge companies like Amazon and Walmart, who can afford to ride out the looming depression while small businesses fold, which in turn hurts American consumers. Will Biden give real aid to small businesses or will we see a repeat of big companies gobbling up all of the financial assistance from the government as we did when the PPP was first offered? What limits, if any, will be placed on that aid? Will it come directly from the federal government or will a buddy of the administration be given the job of “administering” the aid for a suitable fee? (Those deep in student debt know exactly what I’m talking about here.)

    Circling the drain at a slower rate is still circling the drain.

    Treading water only delays the inevitable. At some point you either need to be rescued or start to swim. And truthfully, we are out of time. Running out the clock with business as usual means that there will be an end. And not a good one.

    I hope I’m dead wrong here, I would purely love to be 100% wrong and have Biden and Harris turn surprisingly progressive and prescient, in the same way that Roberts (and Souter for that matter) turned out to be surprisingly centrist. I’m dying inside, thinking that the last useful bit of environmental policy came from President HW Bush, when he cracked down on petroleum processing companies. He forced new environmental standards on petroleum processing plants, forcing them to limit greenhouse gases, which forced them to retool said plants, which made the plants more efficient… and more profitable, because they were now producing petroleum products more efficiently. I kind of want to vomit when I realize that was 22 years ago.

  92. Sean said (re most of the people etc): ‘Sometimes, most people will say “groovy” and wear bellbottoms.’ Thanks for the giggle amidst the terror, man. I lived through those times, too.

    When Obama was elected, various pundits said, “and now we will experience the horrible thrashings of the last gasps of socially-acceptable white supremacism (and misogyny).” I believed that, but (in my deep blue bubbles of Oregon and Minnesota major cities) I didn’t realize how many people would thrash, for how long, and how horribly.

    Please, everyone, vote against the thrashers and FOR someone who can stomp on them (I voted third-party some in the 80s and I don’t regret, but it is terrifying that Pat thinks THIS election is a time to spend a vote to express principles).

  93. Must agree, I feel Biden will try to be President of the entire Nation, not just those who voted for him, and that’s important.

  94. As a Pratchett fan and an outside observer (g’day from Western Australia), it’s hard to believe just how Interesting your Times have been for the last four years. After voting for Lord Snapcase, latterly
    “Mad Lord Snapcase” the populace of America have been slowly decimated (okay, not actually by ten percent but you know what I mean), and STILL there are enough people who are willing to vote for the unpleasant, insane elephant in the room that the election result isn’t a sure thing…

    What is wrong with the world???

  95. Well, there’s 90 minutes I’ll never get back.

    Kamala Harris told the truth and the fly trap lied and pontificated. Same shit, different debate.

  96. Yeah, voting for Biden-Harris if I gonna havta crawl upon broken glass.

    Somehow Mike ignore-rules-agreed-upon Pence was worse than Donald steamrolling-barbarian-five-year-old Trump. An accomplishment of dubious distinction.

    I have a whispering itchiness, we are living inside a horrid video game; instead of a simple-minded first-person zombie shooter, it is a complex political chess game and we are the NPCs being cycled by an AI.


    I keep repeating “computer end simulation, exit holodeck” but no such luck.

    Maybe if all of us shout that at the same time…?

  97. My meemaw usee to say a bird pooping on you was good luck, and a fly landing on you meant a landslide loss in the electoral college.

    Wise woman.

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