On August 18, Joe Biden was nominated to be the Democratic Candidate for the 2020 Presidential Election and a movement called ‘Settle for Biden’ emerged in the Progressive community. This movement is comprised of previous Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren supporters who do not enthusiastically support Biden but would prefer him as their next President over the incumbent Donald Trump. While these young Progressives may have good intentions, their political naïvety distorts their voices and feeds into a Republican narrative that the 2020 election will be decided by determining the lesser of two evils.
Republican voters have been propagating the “lesser of two evils” theory for the entire 2020 election cycle. Due to the generally youthful and politically inexperienced nature of Progressive support, Republicans have been able to convince many of them that Joe Biden is in some way bad. It is much easier for young Progressives who are not politically attuned beyond their Instagram stories and Tik Tok “for you pages” to submit to Republican narratives in debates than to think independently and challenge these narratives. Progressives often concede that Joe Biden is in some way creepy and racist, as Trump supporters often suggest.
One may ask: Why is this harmful if these young, Progressive voters are voting for Biden anyways? In response, I would argue that this movement distorts Joe Biden’s perceived character and public image. In such a polarizing election, readers may not think this distortion is particularly important because Biden and Trump supporters are firm in their support, however, these readers are forgetting the independent vote.
Many independent voters are still on the fence in key battleground states so, collectively, Democrats must ask themselves: how do we want our candidate to be portrayed to undecided voters? How does it come off to undecided voters if a large portion of our base is ‘settling’ for the candidate we nominated? We all see and feel the enthusiasm from Trump supporters. Do we want our saying, as @settleforbiden on Instagram puts it, to be “Okay, fine. Settle for Biden”?
There is no room for hesitation in this election; it is monumental and affects the lives of millions of Americans. Republicans who endorse Joe Biden for President, like John Kasich, are the Americans who are truly settling in this election. Yet, these Republicans refrain from embracing the harmful Progressive attitude. These Republicans know they aren’t doing Vice President Biden any good by taking the “Okay, fine” approach that many Progressives have.
Moderate Democrats and many other Biden supporters like myself are frustrated with young Progressives because they are showing their political inexperience in the worst possible fashion: at the expense of Joe Biden. Progressives, please consider putting aside your pride and social media status in the final week of this election. If you all truly accept the nomination we made in August, we can push Donald Trump out of office.