Neal: A polarized party: Why far-left Democrats should approach Biden with an open mind

Joe Biden’s presidential candidacy has engendered numerous questions of his electability from far-left Democrats. Could too much party polarization put us at risk of four more years of Trump?


Katina Zentz

Former Vice President and 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden addresses issues in society at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Iowa City was the second stop on the Iowa Kickoff Tour for the Biden campaign.

Madeleine Neal, Opinions Columnist

When former Vice President Joe Biden announced his presidential candidacy April 25, he engendered a plethora of mixed responses.

He quickly picked up speed in national polls, expanding the lead he already enjoyed. But he also woke up many far-left Democrats who claim that Biden just isn’t as radical as he needs to be.

They took issues with parts of Biden’s record such as his vote on the Iraq War, his treatment of Anita Hill during his time leading the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Justice Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, his relationship with large corporations, and his alleged inability to properly gauge the boundaries of someone’s personal space.

These are all just a few areas some liberals cite in their anti-Biden rhetoric against center-left Democrats.

It’s no secret the Democratic Party is becoming increasingly polarized, but this is concerning when it comes to removing current President Donald Trump from the White House.

Yes, running a center-left candidate in 2016 clearly did not work in our favor. That said candidate wore the name tag “Hillary Clinton,” nominating a well-known establishment candidate probably didn’t help our cause too much, either.

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Biden is undoubtedly an establishment candidate in this election as well, but that doesn’t mean we need to write him off.

I’ve spoken before about the importance of critique. Why wouldn’t we question every aspect of someone running for one of the most powerful offices in the entire world? Why wouldn’t we worry about electing an establishment candidate as the Democratic nominee when it when worked so poorly last time?

Those are all fair points. Here’s my caveat, though: Would we rather remain hung up on the possibilities of our preferred candidates not snagging the nomination or would we rather do everything in our power to ensure that a Democrat, any Democrat, gains the support to prevent four more years of Trump?

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As a Democrat, the choice seems pretty clear. We need to put our polarized party partisanship to the side and realize what’s at stake here. We’re fighting against four more years of a president who isn’t just sort of against our morals and policy stances but the complete antithesis of them.

We need to prioritize. We saw the dangers one-sided polarization can do to an election in 2016 when the “Bernie-or-Bust” crowd failed to show up for Clinton. Leftists who weren’t pleased with the establishment nominee our party had in Clinton were probably less likely to vote for her.

Taking your beliefs seriously and being unwavering in the face of actions you just don’t believe in should be applauded. I am not trying to silence far-left Democrats or more left-leaning independents. Diversity in opinion is always an added bonus for any group of people — especially voters.

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What I am saying is this: Who would you rather have in office — an establishment candidate who has done some things you disagree with such as Biden or someone who literally exemplifies your party’s greatest fears?

Too much polarization on the left will result in four more years of Trump. I don’t know about you, but that makes my choice pretty clear.

Biden doesn’t currently have my vote, but he will, should he snag the Democratic nomination. It’s my hope that my fellow Democrats will realize what’s at stake and join me, too.