Voting fails to acknowledge deeper systemic issues


Photo credit: Diep Hoang

illustration by Diep Hoang

The pressure to vote is on. When Joe Biden won the primary election for the Democrats, people were quick to say “vote blue no matter who.” After Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election in 2016, Democrats are racing to avoid repeating the past.

Unfortunately, instead of fundamentally changing the party or how they conduct their campaign strategy, the party decided to do a 2.0 2016 election, nominating a candidate who is barely left of center and has a dirty track record. Marginalized groups are yet again being told to vote for their oppressor with the idea that there is a “lesser of two evils.”

College students and other young adults are feeling the pressure to vote in this election. Trinity, social media ads and our peers are continuously telling us to vote when the inevitable end is that if Biden does not win, the youth will be scapegoated. In reality, it is the fault of the system that allowed this to happen.

Abstaining your vote this fall is not the evilest thing you can do. The most harmful thing you can do this fall is to continue to ignore how our governmental system is built on white supremacy and heteronormative patriarchy.

Under this system, the individual is blamed for their failure to not elect Biden much like the individual is blamed for climate change or the spread of COVID-19. Our government and groups like the DNC have the power to make changes that would stop global warming, stop the spread of disease, and get people excited to vote, but they do not do those things.

Why should we vote for a moderate democrat and prove to the DNC they can continue to nominate horrible candidates? In the hopes that Texas becomes a swing state in 2020? Well, unfortunately systems like gerrymandering, the inability for people to vote who have been convicted of a felony, and the electoral college, are the reasons why Texas will not elect Biden. Rather than channeling your anger and frustration at your peers who will not vote this fall, channel your energy towards organizing and becoming involved.

If you’re not comfortable abstaining from voting nor voting for Biden, I encourage you to consider voting third party. Voting third party can be a tool to show the DNC that the party is not satisfactory and there must be changes made to who they push for elections. If you’re registered to vote somewhere in Bexar county it’s more than likely you have many Green Party candidates on your ballot. Ultimately, when it comes to being politically engaged, voting is only one tiny aspect. If you think voting is the only action you can take to improve our society, you are horribly mistaken.

Figure out who is organizing in your city and join their projects. In San Antonio, there are a plethora of groups: Democratic Socialists of America, The Brown Berets, Black Futures Collective, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and many more. There are always small actions that these groups are asking people to do— like calling the city council or redistributing money to those in need. We should stop wasting our breath on asking people to vote and start getting people to help movements in our city.

On the lesser of two evils, let’s consider what happened during the Obama administration: he dropped tens of thousands of bombs in the Middle East, deported millions, separated migrant children from their families, supported the illegal occupation of Palestine, among other atrocious acts. Yes, Biden actually believes in climate change but there is nothing in his policies that will prevent us from hitting the irreversible CO2 limits by 2030. If we are hoping we can make Biden more progressive once he is elected, my hopes are low.

Obama grew increasingly conservative during his two terms and ultimately, a politician will always prioritize the bottom line. Oil company’s profits will always come before the people and the planet, unless something drastically changes. Furthermore, Biden supports additional funding to police, more than Trump. He plans to increase support for police and target protestors. To quote a peer, “Why should I vote for someone trying to out-fascist Trump?”