Why I'm voting for Biden/Harris 2020
(Because Trump needs to go, because we need campaign finance reform, and because of the potential for fully refundable tax credits and monthly stimulus checks in 2021)
In 1996, at age 19, I made my first decision as a citizen of the United States as to who the next president should be. My vote went to Bob Dole, the Republican candidate, despite really wanting to vote for Ross Perot, the independent, who had dropped out before jumping back in. I have voted in every general election since. (It took a few more elections for me to learn the importance of primary voting and mid-term voting.)
I have always been fiercely independent in my vote and refused to register as a Democrat or a Republican, until I moved to Louisiana where closed primaries exist, which require me to be in the party of the candidate I wish to vote for. To vote for Andrew Yang, I registered as a Democrat, but I still don’t consider myself one. It’s just something I needed to do, that I never had to do in Washington’s open primary system.
I should also further preface this by saying that I live in a deep red state, one of the reddest in the country, where because of the Electoral College, my vote does not matter. Regardless of who I vote for, my state’s electors will be pledged to the Republican presidential candidate. There is a 93% probability that Louisiana will vote for Trump. I am not in a swing state. That’s why in 2016, I voted for the Green Party, because at least then my vote would count for something, due to third party public funding relying on the popular vote.
With all that now said, I would like to now explain why this time around, I’m voting for Joe Biden, and why I recommend others join me.
The main reason I am voting for Biden, is because Trump must lose. He must lose not only because of what he’s been doing as president, but because of his anti-science mentality which is directly responsible for his fatal mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, and because of his anti-democratic authoritarianism. As a firm believer in science and democracy, I believe it to be of utmost importance for Trump to not be a two-term president. Our institutions and our planet just can’t afford it.
For anyone wondering why I’d vote for Biden in a deep red state where I just admitted my vote doesn’t count, it’s because despite the popular vote not deciding who is president (even though I think it should so that my vote actually does matter), I believe it’s important for the popular vote result to be maximized this year. If Trump wins the Electoral College again with a minority of the votes, and Biden loses with a huge majority, that could be enough to finally get enough states to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact to pledge their electors to the popular vote winner in 2024.
However, there are also some key reasons why I think a Biden win would not just be better than Trump, but actually quite important on its own in positive ways.
First, Biden has been a long-time advocate of campaign finance reform and the public funding of elections. For those who aren’t familiar with this long-term fight of his as a senator, I recommend reading this CNN opinion piece written by Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that works to strengthen U.S. democracy and empower citizens in the political process.
In short, it is very likely that a new version of H.R.1. would be introduced again by Democrats in the next Congress, and that it would pass under a Biden presidency. This reform would help drain the swamp by among other things, introducing a system of 6:1 public matching of donations under $200. Under such a system, grassroots campaigns would have a much better likelihood of winning. As one example, the $16 million in 2020 raised by Andrew Yang from small donors in 2020 would have been boosted an additional $96 million to $113 million. It’s not Democracy Dollars where everyone gets $100 to donate to campaigns, but it’s a huge multiplier of what does get donated, and thus would make a huge difference.
Other important changes besides small donation matching that are part of H.R.1. are ending gerrymandering, automatic voter registration, political organization donor disclosure, and other anti-corruption reforms intended to improve our democracy. I consider these reforms to be vital reforms, and so does Joe Biden.
The second big reason I am voting for Biden is because of the addition of a fully refundable child tax credit to his platform. This would expand the existing CTC of $2,000 a kid to $3,000 for kids under 17 and $3,600 for kids under 6, and make it fully refundable plus paid monthly, so that for those earning too little to get a benefit from the tax credit would start receiving a monthly check. For these parents, it would be a small basic income, similar to the Canada Child Benefit which has helped build the case for a basic income in Canada.
Not only that, but Biden would also like to boost the child and dependent care credit (CDCC) to $4,000 for one kid and $8,000 for two, and make that refundable as well. Making these credits bigger and refundable is a big step toward basic income, especially a basic income for kids, and would also help people understand UBI as a fully universal fully refundable tax credit.
The third and final big reason I am voting for Biden is because of Kamala Harris. She has been a strong proponent of getting cash directly to people as being what people need. I took issue with her LIFT Act as not being refundable, but with the onset of the pandemic, it was Kamala who together with Bernie Sanders introduced S.3784, the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act, which proposed $2,000 a month to everyone earning under $100,000, including $2,000/mo for up to three dependents.
As a VP, I think Kamala Harris would be an ally in the ongoing fight for monthly stimulus payments, and I think if we can with that fight and get some kind of monthly stimulus checks going out to the majority of the country in 2021, then that victory will help lead us to winning a full universal basic income after demonstrating the positive effects on the economy and the health and well-being of Americans across the country who would have otherwise suffered greatly without that monthly financial security.
It is for the above reasons that I am early-voting for Biden. Our democracy needs to expel Trump in order to survive. It needs to be as big a win as possible in order to prevent the worst possible post-election-day scenarios and to be the final nail in the Electoral College if Trump wins despite losing even more massively than before in the popular vote. Biden would sign important campaign finance reforms into law, he would introduce steps toward basic income like a refundable CTC + CDCC in response to the pandemic recession, potentially even monthly stimulus checks too, and last but not least, Biden has a spot waiting for Andrew Yang on his advisory council.
Every election, both locally and nationally, we need to determine for ourselves what we think is most important, and to vote accordingly as a citizen. Everyone has their own beliefs as to what’s most important at any time. At this time, in October of 2020, these are what are most important to me as my own reasons. They are not my only reasons, but they are my primary reasons, and they are why this year, my vote as a citizen of the US, is going to Joe Biden.
As one final note, I would just like to emphasize that none of us should ever feel we have no choice except for someone we hate or someone we don’t like. We have to prevent that feeling by making sure everyone can actually vote their consciences, which is why I think ranked-choice voting is such an important reform to achieve in state after state. If you’re angry about your lack of choice, fight to expand your choices so that next time around in 2024, you can vote for any candidate you like most, without any fear you will help elect the candidate you most hate.
A functioning democracy demands better than a duopoly, and a voter demands better than being shamed for their vote while half the country doesn’t even bother to vote.
Please don’t fight each other. Fight to change the rules that encourage you to fight each other instead of the status quo.