Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Former Vice President Joe Biden greets guests during a campaign stop at the RiverCenter on October 16, 2019 in Davenport, Iowa. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Former Vice President Joe Biden greets guests during a campaign stop at the RiverCenter on October 16, 2019 in Davenport, Iowa. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Open Letter: Dump Trump, Then Battle Biden

Fifty-five progressive writers and activists with a message for 2020 voters.

Many people, both on the left and more mainstream, are now discussing preparations for the very real possibility that Donald Trump will dispute the results of the election after he has lost. Such concerns are well-founded. But such concerns should not obscure the most urgent task—defeating Trump in the election with as big an Electoral College margin as possible, to undermine his predictable efforts to steal the election.

"Ending the Trump presidency is, by far, the most important goal that can be achieved between now and January."

How does Trump lose? Trump loses only if Biden, however distasteful he may be, wins.

And how does Biden win? Biden wins if he gets more votes than Trump in swing states so that his Electoral College count is higher than Trump’s.

The Electoral College should be gone. Electoral coercion, manipulation and misdirection should be gone. The need to purchase visibility should be gone. The Democratic Party candidate should be Bernie Sanders or whoever would inspire your positive support. But none of that will happen by Election Day.

So it undeniably comes down to this—help Biden or increase the risk that Trump wins.

And what helps elect Biden?

Voting for Biden all over helps ward off post-election Trumpian tactics. Voting for Biden in swing states is essential.

Protestations that Biden is beholden to elites are true but beside the point. The lesser evil is evil, but in this case, the greater evil is simply off the charts.

Claims that not voting sends a message are true. But the message that not voting in swing states sends in 2020 is that we are okay with Trump for four more years as long as we don’t have to sully our hands by voting for Biden.

Claims that more votes for the Green Party’s or any other third party’s presidential candidate are necessary to win long-term progressive goals ignore the many ways that Trump’s re-election—with his climate policies, his nuclear weapons policies, his undermining of democracy and the courts, and his racism and sexism—would obstruct all positive social change.

Imagine it is late November. The mail votes are finally all counted. Everything is tallied. And Trump has scored an Electoral College victory. That is what not voting for Biden in swing states risks. It is what not advocating we should vote for Biden in swing states risks.

"Protestations that Biden is beholden to elites are true but beside the point. The lesser evil is evil, but in this case, the greater evil is simply off the charts."

Ending the Trump presidency is, by far, the most important goal that can be achieved between now and January.

Not voting for Biden in swing states won’t bring on a revolution. Not voting for Biden in swing states will not make anyone the slightest bit more progressive, radical, or revolutionary. Not voting for Biden in swing states will not grow or solidify the ranks of opposition. But not voting for Biden in swing states risks immeasurably enlarging the obstacles that opposition will thereafter face.

So, it comes down to this. Dump Trump, Then Battle Biden. Vote for Biden at least in swing states—and urge others to do so as well. And then get on with building grassroots movements for ongoing fundamental change.

Signed,

[Organizations listed for purposes of identification only.]

Aisha Jumaan, epidemiologist and health activist

Amar Shergill, chair Progressive Caucus of Calif. Dem. Party

Andrej Grubacic, anarchist writer, activist, CIIS, Collective 20

Ann Ferguson, women, gender, sexuality studies, activist

Avi Chomsky, writer, activist, Salem State

Barbara Ehrenreich, author, journalist

Bill Fletcher Jr., writer, TransAfrica Forum, trade unionist

Brett Wilkins, Common Dreams, Ethics In Tech, SF Berniecrats, Collective 20

Charles Lenchner, digital media, People for Bernie

Cornel West, writer, activist, Harvard Divinity School

Cynthia Peters, The Change Agent, City Life/Vida Urbana, Collective 20

Dan La Botz, New Politics, DSA

David Barsamian, Alternative Radio

Doug Henwood, economic journalist, LBO, KPFK’s “Behind the News”

Doug Pagitt, Vote Common Good

Elena Herrada, Radio host "Beloved Detroit," activist, Collective 20

Gar Alperovitz, writer, historian, Democracy Collaborative

Gregory Wilpert, writer, activist

Hassan El-Tayyab, peace activist, songwriter, author, FCNL lead lobbyist

Jeff Cohen, writer, RootsAction.org, FAIR founder

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Baptist preacher, moral activist

Joseph Gerson, writer, International Peace Bureau

Juliet Schor, sociology, Boston College

Karen Bernal, former chair Progressive Caucus of Calif. Dem. Party 

Kathy Kelly, activist, author, Voices for Creative Nonviolence

Kim Scipes, professor, USMC veteran

Leslie Cagan, social justice organizer and writer

Linda Gordon, historian, author, “The Second Coming of the KKK”

Liza Featherstone, feminist journalist, “Divining Desire,” Nation contributing editor

Lydia Sargent, author, Z Communications

Marina Sitrin, writer, activist, Binghamton

Marjorie Cohn, activist, scholar

Medea Benjamin, author, CodePink, Collective 20

Michael Albert, writer, Z Communications, RevolutionZ, Collective 20

Nanette Funk, writer, Brooklyn College

Noam Chomsky, writer, Collective 20

Norman Solomon, author, “War Made Easy,” RootsAction.org 

Oscar Chacon, Salvadoran immigrant, organizer, Collective 20

Paul Ortiz, historian, “Emancipation Betrayed,” Collective 20, University of Florida

Peter Bohmer, writer, activist, Evergreen, Economics for Everyone, Collective 20

Peter Kuznick, writer, historian, “Untold History of the United States,” American University

Robert McChesney, author on media and political economy

Robin Hahnel, author, activist, American University, Portland State University

Sandy Carter writer, activist

Savvina Chowdhury, political and feminist econ, Evergreen State College, Collective 20

Shane Claiborne, author, activist

Sherry Baron, DSA

Sonali Kolhatkar, writer, host of “Rising Up With Sonali” Radio/TV

Stephen Shalom, writer, activist, New Politics

Steve Early, writer, labor activist, NewsGuild/CWA

Suzanne Gordon, journalist, author, healthcare reform advocate

Ted Glick, climate activist, author “Burglar for Peace”

Victor Wallis, author, “Red-Green Revolution”

Vincent Emanuele, writer, activist, organizer, combat veteran, Collective 20

Winnie Wong, organizer, People for Bernie, former senior adviser Bernie 2020


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor (retired) at MIT. He is the author of many books and articles on international affairs and social-political issues, and a long-time participant in activist movements. His most recent books include:  "Who Rules the World?" (2017); "Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire" (2013 with interviewer David Barsamian); "Making the Future: Occupations, Interventions, Empire and Resistance" (2012); "Hopes and Prospects" (2012); and "Profit Over People: Neoliberalism & Global Order" (1998). Previous books include:  "Failed States" (2007), "What We Say Goes" (2007 with David Barsamian), "Hegemony or Survival" (2004), and the "Essential Chomsky" (2008).

Sonali Kolhatkar

Sonali Kolhatkar

Sonali Kolhatkar is currently the racial justice editor at YES! Media and a writing fellow with Independent Media Institute. She was previously a weekly columnist for Truthdig.com. She is also the host and creator of Rising Up with Sonali, a nationally syndicated television and radio program airing on Free Speech TV and dozens of independent and community radio stations. Sonali won First Place at the Los Angeles Press Club Annual Awards for Best Election Commentary in 2016. She also won numerous awards including Best TV Anchor from the LA Press Club and has also been nominated as Best Radio Anchor 4 years in a row. She is the author of Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence, and the co-Director of the non-profit group, Afghan Women’s Mission. She has a Master’s in Astronomy from the University of Hawaii, and two undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from The University of Texas at Austin. Watch her 2014 Tedx talk, My journey from astrophysicist to radio host. She can be reached at www.sonalikolhatkar.com
Juliet Schor

Juliet Schor

Juliet Schor is Professor of Sociology at Boston College. Before joining Boston College, she taught at Harvard University for 17 years, in the Department of Economics and the Committee on Degrees in Women’s Studies. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Schor received her Ph.D. in economics at the University of Massachusetts. Her books include: "True Wealth: How and Why Millions of Americans Are Creating a Time-Rich, Ecologically Light, Small-Scale, High-Satisfaction Economy" (2011). She is also author of the national best-seller, "The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure" (1993) and "The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need" (1999). Her other writings are available on her website, Plenitude - the Blog.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer Told 'Stop Playing the Blame Game' and Extend Eviction Moratorium

"Who are the adults in the room?" asked the Sunrise Movement's advocacy director. "Do whatever it takes to extend the eviction moratorium and end this eviction emergency."

Jessica Corbett ·


Report Outlines 'Crucial' Need for Biden Administration to Aid Climate Refugees

"Ready solutions are available to address root causes and displacement that are centered in human rights and humanitarian protection."

Brett Wilkins ·


Hundreds Arrested in DC Demanding Voting Rights, End to Poverty, and Death of Filibuster

Clergy and low-wage workers with the Poor People's Campaign are also calling on Congress to treat the nation's immigrants with respect.

Jessica Corbett ·


'He Should Resign': Women's Rights Group Denounces Violent Misogyny of Kevin McCarthy

"With Kevin McCarthy voting against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, it is clear that his comments are reflective of his deeply held beliefs about how women should be treated."

Brett Wilkins ·


Amid Allegations of Child Endangerment, HHS Inspector General to Probe Fort Bliss Detention Facility

Whistleblowers had sounded alarm about the detention center contractors betraying children’s health and wellbeing.

Andrea Germanos ·