Before the Vote Harders accuse me of saying voting doesn’t matter, of course it does. As a native and current resident of the mainland colony of the District of Columbia, which lacks voting Congressional representation–and who has lived and voted elsewhere–I’m painfully aware of the importance of voting. Losing Congressional representation when you’ve had it previously makes it clear that voting does matter (even if it’s not sufficient). If nothing else (given the ineptitude of too many professional Democrats), putting a Democrat in office is harm reduction: it means keeping an even worse Republican out of power. That’s not nothing.
Over the weekend, First Lady Jill Biden uttered this:
So many young girls, my own grandchildren included, went up to the Supreme Court & marched. I say OK, good for you, but what are you going to do next? You feel good about yourself bc you voiced your opinion, but what are you going to do next? What is your plan?
Does (Joe or Jill) Biden really think the overwhelmingly majority (basically everyone) who attends a protest for legal and safe abortion isn’t going to vote? For that matter, I’m sure some, perhaps many, of the protestors do more than just vote, including GOTV efforts and campaign donations. They’re Voting Harder, even Voting Harder Plus.
Do people like Biden realize what assholes they sound like when they say this? If I were a Republican ratfucker trying to demoralize the Democratic rank-and-file, I would love to falsely attribute this to Jill Biden. But she actually said this! There’s anger at the Vote Harder suggestion because it’s being aimed primarily at those who already do that (whether the intent is to do so or not).
To return to the D.C. issue, it’s even more galling: in my experience attending D.C. protests, a disproportionate percent of the attendees are D.C. residents. They (we) are doing this in no small part because Vote Harder literally isn’t an option for D.C. residents–something Democrats when they’ve held power never saw as important to fix*.
Biden could have made the same point–along with all of the Vote Harders (not just picking on Biden here)–by issuing a call to arms to people who aren’t doing anything right now. Stop sanctimoniously hectoring the people who are angry, frustrated, and willing to do something, especially when the people doing said hectoring have been running the Democratic Party for decades. Sanctimony without owning your own failures is galling. Learn how to communicate with your activist base, which means stop shitting on the surrogates who can do so. Maybe spend some of that ‘unity’ energy on those in your own coalition for a change.
A boy can dream, can’t he?
Related: Renee Graham writes:
Behold the centrist Democrats’ call of the mild. The problem, you see, isn’t Biden’s inertia. It’s those “activist Democrats” who always want too much like voting rights protections, control of their reproductive choices, and a president who will fight all-out for them. We are not living in decent, temperate times, and a majority of the country agrees with those “activist Democrats” on reproductive rights and significant gun reform measures.
*And don’t get me started on Obama’s willingness to use women’s right to a safe and legal abortion in D.C. as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Republicans. Yes, he did that.