Some Bernie Sanders supporters aren’t keen on voting for Joe Biden. He represents the Democratic Party establishment and corporate interest ties their preferred candidate openly railed against. Still, the Vermont senator knows the importance of rallying his voters and other progressives behind Biden—and some of his most prominent supporters do too.
#VoteTrumpOut, a new initiative created by Roots Action, is a campaign targeting disaffected progressives uneager to vote for Biden. It underscores how brutally bad Trump has been for all the initiatives Sanders supporters (and most Democrats) believe in, from voter suppression to LGBTQ rights to climate change. The campaign released its first video Wednesday, complete with a message from Noam Chomsky about the existential threat another four years of Trump poses to America and the entire world.
The video begins with the words “A message to the swing states.” That’s because the campaign isn’t targeting all leftists—just the ones in states most likely to decide the election. It makes a careful distinction not to shame Sanders supporters and other leftists into voting for Biden, a tactic that usually leads to greater disaffection. The website’s FAQ section actually encourages voters in states where “one major party or the other will win by 20 percentage points” to vote their conscience or abstain altogether.
On its face, #VoteTrumpOut doesn’t seem like something angry leftists would endorse. For its part, though, the campaign does a decent job answering common questions about why on earth a Sanders supporter (or any progressive) should vote Democrat. It makes clear the need to keep pressure on Biden once he’s in office and acknowledges the concerns of those who believe a vote for Biden goes against their moral conscience.
Sanders supporters have been skeptical of Biden from the jump, and rightfully so; many were upset when Sanders immediately endorsed the former Vice President. But the campaign makes a point not to endorse Biden. “Advocating that swing state progressives vote for Biden is in no way an endorsement of his policies or history,” the website reads. “It is simply an acknowledgement that the alternative is re-electing an unabashed white supremacist and quasi-fascist who will be even more dangerous if given a second term.”
Biden is currently polling well in swing states, but as we learned in 2016, nothing (especially mid-summer polling) is a guarantee. Establishment liberal media types might be quick to cast off Sanders supporters and other frustrated leftists, but in key states, Biden will need every vote he can get. And instead of being shamed for their policy beliefs or moral positions, it’s refreshing to see a campaign speak plainly to progressives and acknowledge the reality of the election.