Thursday, October 03, 2019


Much to my dismay, Joe Biden is the leading Democratic candidate in the polls. I do not think he could win an election, although I am aware that in polls showing match-ups with Trump, it is Biden that wins by the largest margin. I do not think this is true, although I do generally think that anyone could win against Trump, as he is historically unpopular. I know people imagine that Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren would take a large amount of damage once the full operational power of the Fox News propaganda machine is targeting them. I do not worry about that. However, I do worry about the damage having Joe Biden and Donald Trump compete against each other would have on the morale of the American voter, especially among those young enough to not yet be experiencing cognitive decline. The sort of dementia-off normally confined to retirement homes where children never visit would play out on national television for hours on end. There’s a reason Michael Haneke’s Amour is not shown on network television.

People talk about about how climate change is an existential threat, or how Donald Trump is an existential threat. Both of these things are true. However, having Joe Biden go up against Donald Trump would signal that we live in a world that is completely absurd and meaningless, and in a way that is not fun, but crushingly tedious. The distinctions between them are strictly partisan, and they have far more in common than they do distinguishing features. Both are old racists who do not respect the boundaries of women. They would surely be friends if Biden weren’t such a loser. The idea of voting for either one of them should make any sensible person want to kill themselves, but here’s the thing: You don’t need to actually commit suicide, and go through the rigamarole of bumming out your loved ones, if Donald Trump gets a second term. He will surely kill us all in time.

Unless they work specifically as therapists, older people are likely unaware how widespread nihilism and suicidal ideation is among my generational cohort. If faced with the choice between Biden’s do-nothing incrementalism or Trump’s fuck-it-all accelerationism towards extinction, why wouldn’t we just sit it out, and wait for the end? We all want to die. I’ve previously said “If you want to vote for Joe Biden, move to Delaware,” but for most of us that’s a fate worse than death. Just because it’s the greatest tax haven this side of the Philippines doesn’t mean it has anything else to offer.

Some of us need reasons to live. Despite its crises, the twenty-first century offers plenty. The modern world, for all its air of impending doom, is exciting. We are living in the future! In 2016, Bernie Sanders was the candidate that seemed to understand, and be excited about, the fact that it wasn’t the 1990s anymore. Since then, I have continued to feel he would be a good president for this era, where there are mainstream public debates happening about reparations, decriminalization of sex work, and ending mass incarceration. It’s insane that in Donald Trump we have a president who is in every way a throwback to the twentieth century, with the pro-Klan politics of D.W. Griffifth’s 1915 The Birth of The Nation but who fast-forwards through Steven Seagal’s 1988 Bloodsport. Still, I am sure this is what accounts for his popularity among the elderly. This also explains why so many old people support Joe Biden, who, probably literally, does not know what year it is.

While I would gladly use ableist slurs to describe both Biden, Trump, and their supporters, I do not wish to be unduly ageist. Bernie Sanders’ sharpness is admirable, and I firmly believe that in 2020, he should be the first presidential candidate that is also a spokesman for Fish Oil gummies. The youth of a candidate like Pete Buttigieg is not a point in his favor, because I fully recognize that it is too young. Technically, I will be 35 by the time of the 2021 inauguration, however even though I know I’m smarter than Donald Trump, I also had to deal with a recession right after I graduated college and am nowhere near what could be called a career path. That dude is already planning a plum retirement of of giving speeches to investment banks while the rest of the class of 2008 is one accidental pregnancy away from moving back in with whichever divorced parent has the most room at their place.

I am an “elder millennial” who was once excited to vote for John Kerry, a feeling that is now incomprehensible to imagine. The only reason I can imagine why “Is this candidate better than John Kerry” is not a question asked about every Democrat running for the presidency is that after realizing he’s a complete nonentity, we forgot he ever existed. He’s still alive and married to the ketchup lady, I think. I’m afraid to google it and find out some sort of Mandela effect thing has happened where in the timeline we now live in, he married a syrup heiress who has since murdered him. There are plenty of voters younger than me, who I know older people love to label as optimistic. It’s true, there are a great deal of inspiring youthful activists for climate and gun control. There is no reason to believe any of them would vote for Joe Biden, as it’s only the more progressive candidates who are sincerely engaging with them and their goals. “Vote blue, no matter who” is the rallying cry for people whose identity is defined by being Democrats, which is a distinctly over-forty thing to do. Younger people would prefer an identity that’s marginally cooler, like being otherkin, or asexual.

Maybe people could rally behind the other centrists in the race. Of everyone running, Biden seems uniquely repulsive. (I’m writing this assuming that by the time it’s published, Amy Klobuchar will have dropped out of the race.) Even the joke candidates are at least somewhat relatable — Andrew Yang is a rich guy who wants to buy friends! Marianne Williamson reminds me a lot of my two friends in a Fleetwood Mac cover band. But there is no one I would describe as “doddering,” unless there is an 18-year-old with Benjamin-Button disease I’ve yet to hear about. I’m sure the dark-money forces united behind the Biden campaign already have an array of VP candidates ready to assuage my fears  and remember the names of foreign leaders for him, but I hope I never learn who they are. I certainly don’t want to deal with their nonsense when they mount a campaign for president in 2032 when “blue state” refers to places literally underwater and our only saving grace will be the electorate’s brains will be too fried to conjure up the name recognition Biden is currently coasting on.

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