Biden and Harris’ America is still Trump’s America

Jeongin Kim, Editor-in-Chief

In the wake of the 2020 election, mainstream (corporate) media pushed voting as an inherent American duty. Many in liberal circles believed that Trump’s potential re-election jeopardized the country’s future, making voter abstention a sign of privilege–a disregard for the vulnerable working class. However, while I do feel a slight relief at Biden’s victory, I find the embrace of him and Kamala Harris to be disappointing—not only because they are establishment neoliberals, but because it’s revealed the insincerity of our unity this past summer.

The Black Lives Matter movement exposed the ubiquitous presentations of systemic racism that we long overlooked. And in response, we observed an unprecedented wave of support, with any silence correctly condemned as complicity. But as Biden-Harris have now been elected, the political landscape has become placated, proving all the Canva infographics and GoFundMe links to be nothing more than virtue-signaling.


The most common sentiments I’ve seen among (neo)liberals are:

1) Kamala Harris as Vice President is a historic win for women and people of color, and 

2) we’ve only settled for Biden, so the “fight’s not over!”—more on this later. 


First, to maintain her “progressive prosecutor” image, Harris has repeatedly aligned herself with the left, only to later backtrack due to liberal disapproval. In a Democratic debate, Harris lambasted Biden for his history of anti-Black legislation, most notably, his opposition to bussing—which aimed to desegregate schools—but then she reversed her stance after already having sold $30 “that little girl was me” t-shirts, exploiting left support. Also, she once raised her hand in favor of government-run healthcare, but now believes in preserving private insurance with a “public option,” similar to Biden’s campaign, maintaining the Obama-era Affordable Care Act. Her allegiances are fickle, though never adverse to profit.

It’s a mistake to believe that Harris has working-class or leftist interests in mind; her record betrays the communities she supposedly represents. She has risen to success on the bodies of Black and brown Americans—even displaying behavior akin to Trump, defying the Supreme Court orders to reduce overcrowding in California’s federal prisons. As a defense lawyer and attorney general, she denied prisoners their constitutional rights, keeping even non-violent offenders incarcerated for profit. She has repeatedly fought the exoneration of wrongfully convicted; appealed a ruling against the death penalty; threatened jail time to parents of absent students; pushed FOFSTA/SESTA, an anti-sex-trafficking bill that actually only endangered the lives of queer and Black sex workers by removing websites to find safe work; and denied a trans woman, Michelle Norsworthy, gender-affirming surgery necessary to treat her gender dysphoria.

The Biden-Harris campaign epitomizes the Democratic Party: corporate politics (profit) disguised as progressivism. Modern politics are no longer about collective social structures but individual identity. The focus on Harris as a Black Asian woman exemplifies neoliberalism’s cultural domination.

As Marxist economic geographer David Harvey put it, “neoliberalism is a theory of political economic practices proposing that human well-being can best be advanced by the maximization of entrepreneurial freedoms within an institutional framework characterized by private property rights, individual liberty, unencumbered markets, and free trade.” While that may sound desirable, Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine explains the issues of a neoliberal system: the privatization of education, transportation, and healthcare raises prices and makes them inaccessible to poorer individuals; deregulation allows corruption to fester and corporations to exploit the environment and labor for profit; welfare and benefits are cut, further incapacitating the poor. 

Rarely are these consequences supported, though. Instead, liberals argue that neoliberalism and identity politics are separate entities—that identity politics will exist no matter the system. In reality, identity politics is the politics of neoliberalism. Opposing identity politics is not the negation of identity; it’s resistance to the weaponization of identity that allows marginalized people to be abstracted from their socioeconomic class and perceived as the result of individual failure over systemic entrapment. To center politics on identity is to deny hierarchies present even within individual racial and gender groups and reduce them to a monolith. 

Biden-Harris’ America is not vastly different from Trump’s America. Though Republicans and Democrats are advertised in conflict, they are two sides of one neoliberal paradigm. Identity politics are inherently incapable of shifting the political landscape because they don’t address the systemic mechanisms that produce inequity. They may point out issues like underrepresentation, but never ask why politics and power are limited to certain (bourgeoise) circles or explain how to resolve these issues; they lack clarity. It is not enough to understand that there are shortages in representation, nor is it enough to recognize the effect of class alone. Rather we must analyze race, gender, and class as social relations created by material conditions of white supremacy, patriarchy, heteronormativity, capitalism—all facets of neoliberalism.

Unsurprisingly, the liberal “keep fighting” rhetoric that rules internet social justice is entirely vague. Ok, “settle for Biden”, then what? The issue is liberalism’s prevalence isn’t rooted in any comprehension of literature or theory, nor does it present any substantiated steps to combat inequity. These individuals aren’t momentarily ceasing their revolutionary activities to go vote—they aren’t doing anything to begin with, besides repeating hollow platitudes of progress. 

It’s absurd to think that voting is integral to achieving any kind of equity. Elections don’t change the composition of politics to encompass those below bourgeois backgrounds, for they have never included nor intended to include those of the working class. They only employ the liberal language of identity politics, feigning progressivism while ignoring the nuanced intersectionality of identity, and perpetuate the notion that a new President every four years is the agent of systemic change–but Marxism will not be legislated into existence.