If there is one word I loathe more than any other during a presidential election, it’s “electability.”
As a writer, I’m acutely aware of how words can become sharp tools to manipulate minds. Super Tuesday proved that, yet again, this word has become an effective tool — a sword — to push back progressives and force a moderate agenda down the throat of every Democrat.
Here we go again. Despite the clear need for change, the conservative Dems are crying out for a familiar face: “Hillary or Joe! We know them and they make us feel safe and cozy!”
Yes, we know them. That’s why more than half of us would rather not be pressured to vote for them. “Electability” has become the rallying cry of all those who are terrified of change and more interested in the status quo than actually addressing the issues that got us into this mess to begin with. In short, “electability” means nothing outside of an election.
On the practical side of things, I realize that Bernie Sanders has struggled to win over black voters; however, I’m a little confused as to why Joe Biden is doing so well with this group — is it simply his proximity to Obama? If that’s the case, then I must attest that regardless of proximity, Biden’s policies do nothing for black voters, or any voters, for that matter, who are making less than $100,000 a year. “Because I have a black friend named Barack” should not be a reason Biden is elected president of the United States.
In 2016, I was told — rather aggressively by people who apparently care about me — that if I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, I was basically voting for Donald Trump. I remember thinking to myself: “Self, I’m not voting for Trump. I simply want to vote for the person who I believe would best serve our country as a leader of progressive change — change we desperately need.”
Ultimately, my question is: What’s the point of voting if I can’t choose the person I want? If I can’t really choose, then this starts to sound less like a democracy and more like a different kind of government. But, since we still claim to live in a democracy, I will proudly state that regardless of the primary results, I will be voting for Bernie Sanders in November — even as a write-in, and even if Bernie himself tells me to vote for Joe.
“Electable” Joe does not make me feel better about the troubles and challenges our future inevitably holds. I don’t see him as “better” than President Donald Trump, just a different flavor and less Twitter.
Furthermore, the likelihood that Biden will beat Trump is questionable at best. Trump didn’t win because he was “electable.” He won because he inspired people with change they desperately wanted. The game has changed. “Electability” means nothing when it really matters. I don’t know about the rest of you Bernie supporters, but this time around, I will not allow the “electability” sword to force me into a corner as it did in 2016.
April Salchert is a Minnesota resident and doctoral candidate studying at the University of Otago in New Zealand. Her research analyzes how video games represent marginalized groups and assesses the potential for these works to foster player empathy for these groups.