Friday, May 1, 2020

Allegations 3. Why vote for Biden anyway

Erin Ryan, in the Daily Beast, says I Take Tara Reade’s Allegations Against Biden Seriously, and I’m Still Voting for Him. Here’s Why.

Two true and heavy statements: First, there is no more important task for Americans who care about their country’s future than to defeat Donald Trump in November. Second, it’s time for Joe Biden supporters—from the enthusiastic Ridin’ with Biden bumper-sticker types to those who would sign their ballots cast for him “Reluctantly”— to take the sexual-misconduct allegations against him seriously.

I realize that the allegations Tara Reade has leveled against Biden are not a fun thing to think about right now. It all feels so precarious. Thanks to our drunken Rube Goldberg machine of a nominating process, Biden is the only man standing between us and four more years of Donald Trump, a dumpy, wet-mouthed crook who believes that scientists might be able to cure the deadly respiratory infection by injecting UV light into a living human’s lungs.

But the long-term consequences of Democrats refusing to acknowledge inconvenient truths around Their Guy, again, could and will alienate the women who make the backbone of the party’s present, and the progressives who represent the party’s future. I don’t have any insight on why women’s groups have been largely silent on the accusations, but if I had to guess, it’s because what Biden is alleged to have done pales in comparison with things Trump has been accused of, and that Reade is, at press time, the only person to make serious assault allegations against Biden.

There is enough information here for me to confidently conclude that Tara Reade believes—and believed 27 years ago—that Biden’s office was a hostile place for her to work. I cannot say confidently that I believe Joe Biden sexually assaulted Tara Reade. But I cannot say confidently that I believe he did not. The Biden camp’s talking points are that Reade is lying.

This whole situation is, to use a technical term, “a real shit sandwich.”

… here we are: If you care about women, there is no choice but to treat Tara Reade’s allegations seriously. And if you care about women, there is no candidate to vote for in November but Joe Biden.

What, then, are we to do? You could complain at the process that ruled out Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris (for examples). But that was then and this is now. Ryan makes the case. Staying home is a vote for Trump. Voting for a 3rd party candidate is a vote for Trump. If you are serious about our nation’s future you do not want to vote for Trump. Period. Ryan elaborates:

… I’m certainly not going to vote for Donald Trump, a pussy-grabbing, teen beauty-pageant changing-room interloper who has been accused of sexual assault—up to and including rape—by 25 women and whose policies make life worse for pretty much everybody who isn’t a billionaire or in Trump’s immediate family. And I’m not going to cross my arms and stay home, like that’ll accomplish anything at all except giving myself something insufferable to brag about at parties as Trump spends another four years throwing babies in cages, publicly getting into spats with powerful black women as a way to score political points with his knuckle-dragging base, and drilling for oil in national parks.

I could vote for a third party, I suppose, or I could just go into my office and yell MEDICARE FOR ALL! into my designated screaming pillow; both moves will be equally effective in preventing Donald Trump from appointing the next four years’ worth of federal judges who will decide whether people have more of a right to their gun collection than women have a right to their own bodies.

Sexual-assault allegations should be disqualifying for a political candidate under normal circumstances. But nothing has been normal since Trump rode down that escalator and into the presidential race in 2015. And anybody who claims otherwise is, to paraphrase Tarana Burke, using sexual assault as “a political football.”

Which is to say: If you claim, with a straight face, that Reade’s accusations (if they are true) should disqualify Biden in a race against Trump, you don’t actually care about sexual assault at all. You care about Joe Biden losing.

Erin Ryan is a contributor to The Daily Beast, the host of Crooked Media’s Hysteria podcast, and a writer for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. She is based in Los Angeles.

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