It’s safe to say that 2020 has been a tough year, with a lot of questions. One question a lot of us are asking ourselves is, “Do I vote for Joe Biden, even though he’s not my ideal candidate?” The answer is yes.

I don’t intend to convince you that your ballot is being held captive by a two-party system and that you MUST vote for the lesser of two evils. I do, however, hope to convince you that voting in this election, for all offices on your ballot, is more important and more nuanced than a simple, “this or that”.

Over the past four years, the Trump administration has mounted countless attacks against marginalized communities and has done more to drive political division and hatred in this country than I ever believed was possible. Democracy is at stake, and the President of the United States thinks he deserves not only a second, but a third term because of how poorly he believes he’s been treated in office. Trump is a fascist who must be defeated.

I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment that our two-party system is fundamentally flawed, and I will happily advocate and vote for legislation that moves us away from that system. The fact of the matter, though, is that we are one month from heading to the polls and the system hasn’t changed. It’s the 11th hour, there is no viable third party candidate, and we are still voting in a two party system. Voting for a third-party candidate in the general election will not affect any change to this system, but, as I said before, the system needs to change. Desperately. So, if the question is, “Which presidential candidate do I think will be more likely to lead an administration that will consider legislation to move us away from a two party system?” then the answer is Joe Biden.

The Supreme Court is one of the most, if not the most, important bodies of government, as it pertains to civil rights legislation in America. Nominations for appointment to the Supreme Court are made by the President. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the oldest supreme court justice at 87 years old, with Justice Stephen Breyer shortly behind her at age 82. Both justices were appointed during the Clinton administration. These two justices, who have historically voted in favor of a woman’s right to choose, are both well past retirement age. Should they decide to retire or, heaven forbid, fall under bad health over the next four years, we have to consider who their replacements might be. If you care about the lives of people from any marginalized community, you should care about the Supreme Court. So if the question is, “Which presidential candidate do I think is more likely to nominate Supreme Court justices that will protect the civil rights of marginalized Americans?” then the answer is Joe Biden.

Vidalia Ann Gentry. Photo by Cody Stallings.

March 3 marked the 2020 presidential primary election in Tennessee, and in the early hours of that Tuesday, a tornado ripped through Nashville, claiming 25 lives and becoming the 6th costliest tornado in US history. I waited in line for three hours to cast my democratic primary vote for Senator Elizabeth Warren. Many waited longer. Later, I was upset when it became clear that Warren would lose the nomination. I, and many of my peers, felt that somehow the election had been rigged, that Biden had stolen the nomination. It seemed like the dream of a greener, more progressive future had been snatched away from us. But, both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders went on to endorse Joe Biden for President, and progressives around the country followed suit. We’ve seen the Biden campaign adopt more progressive policies because of the pressures of progressives, and we can continue to push the needle now, and when he’s in office. So, if the question is, “Which presidential candidate did Bernie Sanders endorse for President of the United States?” or even, “Which candidate would be more likely to adopt progressive policies while in office?” then the answer is Joe Biden.

On August 6th, 2020, Memphis-based environmentalist Marquita Bradshaw won the democratic nomination for Senate, beating the party favorite, James Mackler, with only a fraction of his budget. Marquita supports the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, fully funded public education, and a worker’s right to a living wage. She is the first black woman to win a statewide party nomination in Tennessee, and the only black woman running for US Senate this year. The Republican Party currently holds a majority of 53 seats in the Senate, and electing Ms. Bradshaw to replace Republican Lamar Alexander would move the Senate one step closer to a democratic majority. So, if the question is “Which US Senate candidate is advocating for progressive social policies and programs and can help flip the Senate?” then the answer is Marquita Bradshaw.

For me, Joe Biden is the only option when I enter the polling booth to cast my vote for president in November. So, if the question is, “Do I vote for Joe Biden, even though he’s not my ideal candidate?” then the answer is yes.

But, I’m not just voting for President. I’m also voting for Jim Cooper for House of Representatives, Marquita Bradshaw for Senate, Heidi Campbell for State Senate, and Darren Jernigan for State House. I’m voting for my rights, women’s rights, civil rights, the rights of my LGBTQIA+ family, and I’m voting to defeat fascism

There is so much more at stake here than a question of whether you like a candidate, because our system is so much more complicated than that. So, if the question is, “Do I vote to protect the people and country I love from four more years of Trump?” then the answer is yes!

Vote early, vote informed, vote blue, but most importantly, just vote.


The content of this article does not necessarily represent the opinions of the publisher of Out & About Nashville, or of its editors.



This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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