New York, NY — When Jenny Ryerson, a progressive resident of Brooklyn’s trendy Greenpoint neighborhood, voted for Joe Biden, she didn’t just want to get rid of Donald Trump.
“I voted for change. Donald Trump sucked but the system has also been broken for a long time. Biden said he’d be the one to take steps like reverse Trump’s border policies and hold shitty allies like Saudi Arabia and Israel to higher standards.”
But six months into his presidency, Biden has taken zero of these steps. In fact, he maintained the Trump administration’s cap on refugees as numbers swelled at the border for four months before modestly raising it from 15,000 to 62,500 (before Trump the average was around 95,000). And after issuing tough language to Saudi Arabia for its murder of American resident, Jamal Khashoggi, he ultimately broke his campaign promise by declining to sanction the nation for its errant ways. Meanwhile, he has described Israel’s continued efforts to violate Geneva Conventions through forced evictions of Palestinians in Gaza and its subsequent US-funded aerial bombardment, which has claimed the lives of over 200 civilians (compared to Israel’s 10), as self-defense. These actions seem contradictory to what some Arab-American voters believed was his understanding of Paelstinians’ right to a decent livelihood during his campaign.
While Ryerson says that she and her friends are completely blown away by this about face, Bill Heyer, a senior reporter for Vox news says there is nothing to be surprised about.
“He’s Joe Biden. Why are you mad at him for being…him? He’s a middle-of-the-road Democrat who’s not going to rock the boat. He’s never been anything but that and never will be. The only reason he gives a shit about some progressive policies now is because a lot of them have become mainstream within the Democratic party in recent years. You think he gave a rat’s ass about a $15 minimum wage in 2010? Or Black Lives Matter in 2014? Did you forget about his 1994 crime bill and its impact on mass incarceration? ”
Heyer went on to explain that progressives’ understanding of Biden was tainted by comparisons to his predecessor.
“Donald Trump was a disaster for the left wing of the Democratic Party. It was a four-year funeral for the fight for human rights, criminal justice reform, and taxing the rich, among other issues. Biden’s election made them think it was the dawn of a new era but for the most part, it’s just a returned to the jacked up system that gave us Trump in the first place.”
“Besides, the guy has actually followed up on a few tame progressive issues like his public health care option, a plan to partially forgive student debt, and taxing the rich. That’s a huge reach for him. If you want more than that, then you don’t know who you voted for.”