Barack Obama has not yet endorsed a Democratic candidate for president in this primary election cycle. It is assumed that the former president is trying to remain publicly neutral so he will be more effective as a party unifier once the Democrats have a nominee. While we are not so foolish as to presume that we have stature comparable in any way to that of Obama, we would still like to borrow this page from his playbook.
Missouri goes to the polls on Tuesday, March 10 to choose a Democratic nominee for president. Democrats will face a ballot with 22 candidates; many of them will be unfamiliar, and even more have dropped out of the race. Only three of the remaining candidates are competitive by any reasonable expectation: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. They are listed here in the order they are ranked in the most recent Missouri poll posted by FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver’s site.
To be sadly candid, we could list many reasons not to vote for all of these candidates. There is no reason for us to repeat any of those attacks – you all are spending plenty of time doing that without our help. However, to paraphrase an ideologue from a past disastrous Republican administration (Donald Rumsfeld), you go into the general election with the candidate that you have, not the candidate you might want or wish to have. Barack Obama is not going to be on the ballot in November. But we are absolutely certain of one thing (that is, absent an act of God): Donald J. Trump is going to be on the ballot.
We make a special appeal, here, to progressive white Democrats. Black Democrats across the spectrum are wearily accustomed to making do in November with a candidate we never would have chosen in the primary. We – who have the most to lose by the white nationalism that is rampant in the Trump White House – do not have the luxury or privilege of hurling rocks at the Democratic establishment if our favored, more progressive candidate does not advance to the general election. We, who have endured the most longtime hostility in America, realize that choosing the lesser of two evils is choosing less evil, which is a wise and strategic choice in the absence of another alternative.
To be more specific, black voters are responsible for Joe Biden’s surge in the polls, at the expense of Bernie Sanders. If you are a progressive white Democrat, you may deride this support of a centrist candidate as propping up a moribund two-party system that continues to give us choices of candidates who are far from our ideals. However, dismantling the two-party system would mean, in 2020, destroying the Democratic Party, the only viable counterpoint to a Republican Party that has aligned itself behind a white nationalist who flouts the rule of law and endangers us all. However much Democrats may be fighting amongst themselves today, Black America has an appeal for all Democrats. Our very survival depends on ending Trump’s destructive behavior. Come November, please, love thy neighbor’s Democratic candidate as thine own.