• Joe Biden and Kamala Harris represent much of what I loathe in politicians, particularly the way they’ve wielded power in the world of criminal justice.
• Biden is one of the key architects of the failed, immoral War on Drugs, and a supporter of almost every US military intervention of the past half-century.
• Harris, as a district attorney and attorney general, cracked down on poor people and addicts, while turning a blind eye to police and prosecutorial corruption.
• So why am I voting for these ethically compromised, power-hungry career politicians? It’s simple: Donald Trump has been president for almost four years.
• This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris represent, respectively, the go-along-to-get-along stasis of a lifelong politician and the frightening potential for abuse by a cop on a well-meaning crusade.
Particularly when it comes to civil liberties and criminal justice reform — umbrella terms for the issues with which I’m most politically engaged — they have absolutely terrible records as overreaching “tough on crime” politicians.
And yet I’m going to vote for the Democratic ticket anyway — resolutely, though not without some lamentation that it has come to this — because Donald Trump’s presidency is that indefensible and destructive.
It feels terrible to vote for candidates you dislike or distrust, but we’ve all got our own political calculus. Mine is centered on an unbending desire to see Trump’s political career end in humiliating defeat.
An ideal scenario would be voters rendering Trumpism toxic overnight by not only firing him from the presidency, but giving Democrats full control of Congress. Only when Trump proves himself a liability to the party he hijacked can the GOP be reborn as something resembling their supposed ideals, a free market-supporting center-right party that wouldn’t pursue policies like an economically damaging trade war.
Not because my political identity is particularly fascinating, but merely for the context of this column, I’ve taken to calling myself a “civil libertarian,” mainly because civil liberties issues are what animate me most.
At various times I’ve voted for Libertarian, Republican, and Democratic presidential tickets. I’m atypical in the American electorate — a politically-active registered independent who rejects the duopoly and truly holds no allegiance to either liberal or conservative orthodoxy.
And I am not voting for Biden/Harris because I have any hope of them “uniting” the country or “returning us to normalcy.” With some of the most prominent voices on the left twisting themselves into pretzels to justify rioting and looting, and the US’ major right-leaning party openly embracing QAnon conspiracy theorists and bigots, I’m confident this country is politically and culturally broken, and will be for some time.
Biden and Harris have my vote despite their deplorable records in government. Those records are a primer on what they could do in the most powerful office in the world. I want them to be kept honest about those records.
Way back when there were 20-something Democratic presidential candidates, I zeroed-in on Biden and Harris as the two I’d least like to see at the top of the ticket.
Biden presented himself as America’s folksy, work-across-the-aisle, “get stuff done” lawmaker. And boy did he get stuff done.
Over four decades as a senator from Delaware, Biden tried to outdo the Reagan-era Republicans in crafting Drug War legislation. He helped create the role of federal “drug czar.” He was instrumental in drafting the mass incarceration-exacerbating 1994 Crime Bill. He bragged about introducing legislation that did “everything but hang people for jaywalking.”
Even in the 2000s he was the Senate’s reliably out-of-touch Democratic narc, pushing to criminalize raves, arrest party promoters, and urging local municipalities to use the “crack-house legislation” he co-sponsored in 1986 to bust up parties.
Most Americans now favor the decriminalization of drugs and recognize the damage wrought by mandatory sentencing and mass incarceration.
Biden has supported nearly every US military intervention of the past half century (though to his credit, he opposed President Obama’s intervention in Libya, which proved disastrous).
But Biden can’t escape the fact that as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he enthusiastically whipped Democratic support for President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq — unquestionably the US’ worst foreign policy fiasco since the Vietnam War.
Harris’ record isn’t nearly as long as Biden’s, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t notched some dubious feats of her own.
Awkwardly selling herself as both a no-nonsense prosecutor and as a woke, hip-hop loving, former pot smoker, Harris’ political career cannot be divorced from her work as a self-described “top cop.” Read from source….