A Biden Victory: Symbolic At Best
With the projected victory of Joe Biden officially declared, a feeling of relief has emerged for many across the world. No matter how much he disputes this impending reality, Donald Trump will no longer be the president of the United States come 2021. A record number of Americans casted their ballots under truly unique circumstances this year as the US continues to suffer as the epicenter of the pandemic. With Trump soon to be swept out of office and Biden ready to replace him, the question arises: what is going to change?
In order to analyze this situation, it is imperative to recognize the nature of the votes casted for Biden. It is true that many who voted for him do not support Biden as a unique and inspirational figure on his own. As a politician, Biden has had a record that hardly differentiates himself from a conservative and led a truly uninspiring campaign from the start marred with slip ups and questionable commentary. While a record number of Americans voted for Biden, the election must be understood as less of a landslide win for a unifying and popular candidate, and more accurately as a rejection of Trump and the mismanagement of this pandemic. This election served as a critical referendum on the boldly reactionary and divisive presidency in time of crises.
As a divided America welcomes in a candidate who crafted arguably the most devastating crime policies in contemporary American history in a period of time marked by unprecedented uprising and rejection of the carceral state, the irony cannot be lost upon us. Biden’s pioneering of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement act of 1994 directly led to the over-policing and targeted criminalization of Black Americans which has left deeply damaging impacts for decades onward. With the opioid crisis overcoming families across the nation, Biden’s own son included, the sympathetic turn towards reconciliation exists in direct dichotomy to the harsh and unsympathetic response to the crack epidemic. The recognition of the opioid crisis as a matter of public health that collectively impacts the nation boldly displays the racist overtones of American policy. When crack was criminalized in such harsh and swift ways, the message was sent to the Black community that this crisis was theirs alone.
With the ever-expanding police state now coming under mass public protest with calls to defund and divest from violence and invest in the public, Biden has again shown that his commitments remain with maintaining the violent American status quo with calls for even more funding for forces across the nation. This stands out as zero commitments have been made to cancel rents or bail out the people under such acute unemployment and eviction crises. This selective response shows how ruling class interests remain preserved as the masses are presented with a hollow display of change.
A Biden victory is largely symbolic in many ways. The relief that is now felt is one that marks a replacement of “normalcy” to the office of the presidency. In consequence, no major commitments have been made by Biden on issues ranging climate change, pandemic relief, foreign policy, and police terror. The masses have no reason to expect any departure from classic neoliberal imperialist politics, a platform that garnered support for Biden from the Pentagon to Wall Street. While it is understandable to rejoice in the defeat of Donald Trump and the horrors of his administration, we must never forget the incredibly harmful transgressions of Biden’s political career, and neither shall we turn a blind eye to the violence of the state that will inevitably be perpetuated under his administration for the next four years. The pressure is on us, the masses, to take to the streets and demand what must be done. An end to police terror, end to endless wars abroad, regular stimulus checks, and a cancellation of rents will not come from Biden’s advisors, Congress, or the Supreme Court. It can and will only come when the people demand it. Now is not the time to retreat in relief. Now is the time to advance with vigor and determination. We know this system was never designed to meet our needs, so we must organize for them and apply the pressure.