Biden’s polling numbers have dropped across the board recently. With just under ten weeks left until election day, Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts has shown him a template to follow if he wants to change that.
I had no idea who Ed Markey was last year. I was watching the press conference for the unveiling of the Green New Deal because of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(AOC). I barely remember anything he said that day. The next time I saw him, he was applauding Trump’s comments that America “would never be a socialist country.” After that, I committed his name to memory, but I couldn’t believe that this was the same guy that was sponsoring the Senate’s version of the Green New Deal.
Nevertheless, I still got behind him in his primary race. I donated to his campaign because I had the means to do so, and I’m not an idiot. I understand how imperative it is that America pass a Green New Deal. Ed Markey is not perfect, though he is rated as one of the most left-leaning Senators in the 116th Congress. Markey is victorious today, not because he’s a political rockstar or a policy wonk. He stands victorious because he unapologetically embraced the progressive left’s policy priorities.
Let’s start with the bad. Ed Markey voted for the Iraq War, the 1994 Crime Bill, and the Patriot Act. I do not agree with these votes, and I’ve hammered Joe Biden on this very platform for having those same votes on his record as well. We all make bad decisions, but elected officials’ mistakes have the potential to result in mass surveillance and even mass death. I, like many others on the progressive left, have no problem supporting a candidate with past bad votes. We aren’t naive enough to believe that elected officials with perfect voting records exist in American politics. However, we still have values and policy priorities that are non-negotiable.
The Biden campaign believed that they had it in the bag, and I must admit I was worried that they did as well. It’s not merely that I don’t want Biden to win; instead, I don’t want Biden to win and not have to work his ass off to earn our votes. We’ve been labeled ‘unreasonable’ and ‘unrealistic’ because we want the alleged opposition party to provide people with Healthcare during a global pandemic. Markey’s race proves that not only are we indeed reasonable, but we are also powerful.
Joe Kennedy, III, Markey’s opponent, became the first member of the Kennedy political dynasty to lose an election in Massachusetts. He had the backing of several Democratic establishment politicians, most namely, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. None of that was enough to deliver him a victory Tuesday night, though. With Joe Biden’s poll numbers cratering in battleground states, this is a clear opportunity for him to work with us on the progressive left to defeat Trump.
Until now, the Biden campaign has been courting conservatives. The DNC’s collection of speakers consisted of several Republicans such as former Ohio Governor John Kasich and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Unfortunately for Joseph, this strategy does not seem to be paying off, as Biden appears to have only converted 5% of Republican voters, which is lower than past Democratic Presidential Nominees. However, as Markey’s victory proves, when you meet the demands of your own voting base, you can maximize your electoral output. Who would’ve thought? Many people may believe that Biden runs the risk of losing voters that he already has locked up if he does this, but this is not the case.
Voters are not backing Biden because of policy; they’re supporting him because he’s not Trump. Due to his high name recognition and proximity to former President Barack Obama, Democratic primary voters viewed him as their best bet to beat The Donald. It seems that this was a miscalculation, but we’re past the point of correcting that error now. For many voters like myself that aren’t backing him yet, it’s not good enough to merely not be Trump. What exactly do we plan on replacing Trump with? Are we replacing Trump, but leaving in place an authoritarian police and carceral state? Is Trump’s replacement going to neglect systemic racism and climate change? Are we going to force Trump out just to continue forcing Americans to choose between death and economic ruin because of America’s horrible Healthcare system? If so, count us out.
We understand that Trump is merely a symptom of our Nation’s ills, not the root cause of them. The root illnesses that plague our Nation are racism, imperialism, and economic exploitation, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. laid out for us over fifty years ago. Biden is running the same campaign playbook that led Hillary Clinton to defeat four years ago. Biden claims that he needs us, so he needs to start acting like it. Support Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and defund not just the police, but the Pentagon as well. That’s our starting point. Ed Markey is living proof of what’s possible when a politician stands up for what’s right, despite their past.
We are not in love with Biden, but we’re dying for him to at least meet us halfway. The alternative is to leave things in the hands of chance. More specifically, into the hands of Trump and Dejoy and their de facto election rigging via the destruction of the United States Postal Service. We won’t be taken for granted any longer. Don’t make this more challenging than it needs to be. Show basic moral conviction, and you will be rewarded with Progressive votes. Make no mistake, merely supporting these policy initiatives to secure our votes is not enough to satisfy us. This applies to both Markey and Biden. We will need a return on our investment in the first 100 days of a Biden Administration and beyond. However, this can be the beginning of a great partnership, as much as it pains me to admit. All of this is contingent on what the Biden campaign decides to do. He can continue his fruitless endeavor of courting Conservatives, or he can embrace his party’s base. The ball is in the Biden campaign’s court.