Abandon Biden: We owe it to humanity to stop voting for evil

Azmia Ricchuito

It was almost eight years ago that I penned an op-ed about why I wouldn’t be voting for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election. I had grave concerns over her enthusiastic warmongering and wanton disregard for Palestinian sovereignty.

I certainly wasn’t going to vote for Donald Trump and his promised “Muslim ban”, either. Rejecting the “lesser of two evils” fallacy, I instead voted for a third-party candidate. Unsurprisingly, there was backlash and accusations that my vote helped secure a Trump victory.

Four years later, it was with tremendous reluctance that I voted for Joe Biden simply because he was not Trump.

Now, as primary elections are underway across the country and with the presidential election fast approaching, America is once again faced with a no-win situation: elect the cartoonishly villainous bad guy or the insidiously malfeasant bad guy.

But Trump isn’t the one brazenly orchestrating the merciless slaughter and starvation of over two million Palestinians in Gaza.

It can no longer be said that Biden is merely “complicit” in the Gaza genocide. He is an active participant and must face the consequences. Biden has bypassed Congress multiple times to send weapons to Israel. His administration has shamelessly vetoed ceasefire resolutions at the UN three times now. And may we never forget the disgustingly dystopian image of Biden casually licking an ice cream cone while Gaza starves as he dismissively told reporters that “maybe” there would be a ceasefire that has yet to come.

With the Abandon Biden and “uncommitted voter” campaigns gaining traction nationwide, there’s a lot of talk about how to change our political system so that it actually works for us. With chants of “Free Palestine” reverberating worldwide, more voters are demanding that this country also free itself from the chokehold of the failed two-party system.

‘No good guys’


Undoubtedly, the Trump presidency was a disaster. Trump’s bombastic foray into fascism included flagrant abuses of power, obstruction of justice, election denial, inciting an insurrection, and, of course, the infamous “Muslim ban”. But the foundation for many of these insidious policies was laid by former President Barack Obama (nicknamed the “deporter-in-chief”) and his then-Vice President Biden.

A critical mass of Americans now see that while Biden and the Democrats aren’t Trump, they aren’t the good guys, either

Trump’s policies on Palestine were similarly abysmal – moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, supporting illegal settlements in occupied Palestine and crimes against Palestinian protesters, and attempting to silence pro-Palestinian voices in America.

Yet many of these policies were embraced by Obama, whose presidency similarly saw settlements grow in the West Bank and an unprecedented military aid package to Israel. With Obama and Biden in office, Israel was able to carry out genocidal wars on Gaza, including in July 2014 when Obama lectured his Muslim guests during a White House Iftar on Israel’s “right to defend itself” as it slaughtered thousands in Gaza.

Unlike his predecessor, however, Trump was transparent about who and what he was. American liberals criticised many of his worst policies rather than make excuses for his criminality the way they have done with Biden and Obama. We are now on the verge of another election. But this time, we have “lesser evilled” ourselves into witnessing a live-streamed genocide in Gaza, paid for with our tax dollars and using American munitions.

Biden’s use of “I’m not the other guy” as a political platform likely won’t work out for him this year. A critical mass of Americans now see that while Biden and the Democrats aren’t Trump, they aren’t the good guys, either. Good guys don’t keep sending money and bombs for use in what will likely be regarded as the most well-documented genocide in history.

A threshold has been crossed, and scores of voters, including Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim Americans and other people of conscience, are renouncing their support for Biden. Horrified by the images of more than 150 days of carnage – dead children hanging from walls, disembowelled children, children with the top of their skulls missing, the screams of mothers and fathers holding broken babies, let alone the Palestinians in Gaza picking brain matter out of water and scouring the blood-drenched ground for flour – we’ve reached a point of no return.

Americans on both sides of the political aisle have found commonality in wanting to put America first and stop sending billions of dollars to foreign governments. They’re also increasingly recognising that our elected officials aren’t representing the will of the people but rather lobbyists. This has become apparent with the majority of US politicians ignoring calls for a ceasefire supported by 77 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of Independents, and 56 percent of Republicans.

Liberal attacks


In response to Michigan Democrats who voted “uncommitted” during the recent primary, actress and talk show host Whoopi Goldberg complained that we shouldn’t be “single-issue voters”. Yet she was able to broadcast her condemnations from the comfort and safety of a television studio without the threat of bombs raining over her head, in sharp juxtaposition to Palestinian journalists like Bisan Owda.

Critics of third-party voting insist that we have to vote for Biden because this election will determine if we ever get to hold another election again. On social media platforms like X, liberals regularly engage in fear-mongering about the consequences of another Trump presidency, warning of Trump triggering Armageddon along with threats of more Muslim bans and deportations.

But what they fail to realise is that the fall of empire is already happening. Biden is doing a fine job of turning the US into a pariah state – an accusation previously levelled at Trump from across the globe – over its unyielding support for Israel.

Liberal arguments in support of Biden often invoke alarmist threats regarding domestic issues, such as reproductive rights, immigration and mass deportations, and the Supreme Court. In reality, however, Democrats aren’t doing much to make things better. Why work on expanding the Supreme Court or limiting its jurisdiction when you can just farm outrage to win elections on empty promises?

It was Biden himself who invited Trump to team up to support a bipartisan border bill promising “more resources” for Border Patrol – that’s a long way from #AbolishICE. Politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the border under Trump “a concentration camp” but did nothing except tell us to “be adults about the situation” and vote for Biden as he starves and bombs another population living in a concentration camp.

Immigration authorities have actually increased enforcement and detention since Trump left office. The number of people in detention has more than doubled since Biden took office, with the American Civil Liberties Union stating that “the Biden administration is filling private prison beds emptied by its own executive order with detained immigrants”. There’s also been a marked increase in the use of solitary confinement, prompting activists to call out Biden’s “sheer failure…to stop egregious human rights abuses”.

The Biden campaign seems to be hinging its hopes for 2024 on abortion rights – “running on Roe” – despite criticism from activists that he hasn’t done enough. First Lady Jill Biden says Trump is “dangerous for women”, while women in Gaza have been forced to undergo cesarean sections without anaesthesia and sleep in their prayer clothes so they’re in a state of modesty if they’re slaughtered in their sleep. Ironically, at the first lady’s own campaign event, a woman in the audience calling for a ceasefire in Gaza was violently grabbed by other audience members. Meanwhile, the president himself scoffs at the idea of bodily autonomy, telling The New Yorker: “I’ve never been supportive of, you know, ‘It’s my body, I can do what I want with it.'”

It requires Olympic-level mental gymnastics to overlook the glaring hypocrisies and double standards at play. The lesser of two evils is still evil – and sometimes, it may even turn out more evil than its predecessor. At any rate, if the lesser of two evils amounts to tens of thousands of people broadcasting their slaughter in real-time, it’s past time that “we the people” hold our politicians responsible for their ghoulish choices.

A ‘moral responsibility’


Amna Alian, a 61-year-old Palestinian-American Muslim educator and co-chair of the Abandon Biden campaign in Florida, is a registered Democrat. She says the campaign is “a moral response by the many Americans aggrieved by this ongoing genocide and want it to stop”. She believes that Biden and other US elected officials are showing flagrant disregard for international law, stating: “Genocide is the crime of all crimes. It’s immoral, illegal, and intolerable.”

The two parties have gotten away with running atrocious candidates for so long because we kept voting for them. Is this not the definition of insanity – to keep doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results? At this point, the only way to tell the establishment and its politicians that we’re done with them is to vote for a third party.

Andrea, a 37-year-old Latina marketing manager and registered Democrat from Miami, told me that she only voted for Biden “because he wasn’t Trump”. She was unenthused about the prospect of Biden 2024, believing he “squandered the support he received from young voters and people of colour”. Now she won’t vote for Biden at all, calling Biden’s handling of Palestine her “final straw”.

Lena, a 43-year-old Palestinian-American Christian, who works as a therapist in Washington, DC, also stands by her decision to vote for a third party. A member of the Green Party, she asserts: “I voted third party last election and am even more motivated to vote third party this time. I cannot in good conscience vote for any candidate that does not see my humanity or the humanity of my people.”

For Lena, it’s not just about Palestine but human rights and accountability. “I cannot vote for someone who inflicts such suffering on human beings – any human being. I don’t care where they’re from. The time to change course and hold people accountable starts now.”

“A third party gives people the chance to change the status quo,” Andrea explains. “We can put people in office that actually hold our values.”

Alian urges people to organise and come together in a voting block as “a calculated attempt to use our voice and our vote”. It looks like that’s what may be happening – a recent poll from the Council for American-Islamic Relations found that 80 percent of Michigan’s Muslim voters would support a third-party candidate.

What good are elections in the first place if our elected officials ignore us?

Liberals were horrified when Trump bragged that he could shoot someone without losing voters in 2016. Biden, meanwhile, has directly enabled and facilitated the murder of more than 30,000 Palestinian people, including children – and people expect us to vote for him. How is any of this even a choice? It seems that America really isn’t sending us its best people.

“The blood of children is a red line for us. We will not vote for genocidal candidates”, says attorney Hassan Shibly, 38, a registered Democrat, who is also a part of the Abandon Biden campaign. “It is essential that we come out and vote for anti-genocide candidates at the local congressional level, too. Not voting is not the solution. Voting will drive the transformational and generational changes we need.”

Fascism in America won’t be stopped by voting for genocidaires. The violence we commit abroad and our fate at home are inextricably linked. We won’t save ourselves from the militarised state-sanctioned violence of fascism by casting votes enabling militarised state-sanctioned violence globally.

Voting third-party is the only way we can change course. Our calls to stop the slaughter have been ignored for five months and counting. What good are elections in the first place if our elected officials ignore us? We don’t owe Biden or anyone else our votes – but we do owe it to humanity (and ourselves) to stop voting for evil.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.