The Devil You Know
When I went to sleep on Nov. 8, 2016, I still naively believed in Washington’s ability to cast out openly bigoted and corrupt politicians aiming to halt progressive reforms.
The next morning at 6 a.m., the headline on my phone told me that hope was absolutely gone.
President-Elect Donald Trump.
Two weeks before, I watched that same man defend his right to grab women by their pussies on national television. The man who led a campaign lauded by white supremacists now had a White-House-sized microphone. Nevermind my fear as a privileged white woman, what would happen to the families separated at the border? The sexual assault survivors? The constantly demonized Black community?
“He’s so unpredictable,” everyone said. “Just wait and see.”
I have waited, I have seen and I have cried many, many times. And there’s one thing I’m sure of: Trump is not unpredictable.
Through all the chaos, panic and division; through all the lies, randomized cabinet members and Twitter storms; through all the sexual assault allegations, warmongering and dismantling of respected institutions –– Donald Trump will always take the most self-serving action.
As we barrel into another election, not a single person is excited about casting a ballot –– again. Unless, of course, you own a MAGA hat.
Attention everyone! I Want You To Vote! You must now choose between these two tempting options: our current president, a reported sexual assaulter, and our former vice president, a reported sexual assaulter. Step right up to the voting booth, and please don’t forget your mask!
I am now of age to vote in my first presidential election. After pondering, I have come to a conclusion: the Electoral College system sucks.
First established in an attempt to uphold slavery, the Electoral College discourages thinking outside of our two-party system. Its winner-take-all process doesn’t represent the 40% of independents, forcing people to dismiss their ideologies and conform to a broken institution.
Maybe you want to vote for Jo Jorgensen this election, but with our current system, straying from the binary isn’t working. If you vote third-party, you’re not wasting your vote (unless it’s for Kanye), but you are helping elect the candidate you like less, even if it's a really hard decision right now.
For me, that means that although I am a sexual assault survivor, progressive and self-identified person of morals, I have to grit my teeth, put on my mask and vote for Joe Biden.
The way I see it, Trump is the Devil We Know and Biden is the Devil We Don’t. You can always count on Trump to do whatever gets him more power. But I disagree with that age-old aphorism about which Devil is more dangerous.
The thing about the Devil You Know is that you know he’s evil. If you dared to pick up a rattlesnake, would you be surprised when it bites you?
Biden has hurt BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities countless times throughout his career. He is certainly not the most progressive candidate in the race, but he does have the most progressive platform in Democratic history –– and the presidency is much more than just him.
Who is more likely to choose competent cabinet members? Who is more likely to select judicial appointees that protect human rights? Who is more likely to be pushed more left through grassroots progressive efforts, which we must sustain post-election? Who is more likely to restore our country’s credibility on the world stage?
Hint: it’s not Trump.
Effective protest requires democracy. And to Trump, if democracy doesn’t serve him, which it often doesn’t, he throws it out the window of Trump Tower, after making it sign an NDA.
As the new generation of activists, Gen-Z holds 10% of the electorate, but stats show that we don’t use our power. Although my morals are telling me to vote for Biden, I can’t tell you to if it goes against your own.
If you can’t consciously vote for the president at all, vote for progressive local and state candidates. For the BIPOC who can’t because of voter suppression. For the undocumented people whose families are being separated at the border. For the millions convicted of felonies in Florida and across the country. For the values that might not be here, come four years time.
Ava Loomar is Rowdy's Editorial Director. This piece originally appeared in Rowdy Magazine Volume IV: The Event Horizon. Get your copy now at rowdymagazine.com/shop while supplies last. For more information on how and where you can vote in Florida, go to https://dos.myflorida.com/elections/for-voters/voting/.