Some Georgia Progressives Remain Unhappy With Biden-Harris Ticket
As Joe Biden and Kamala Harris move on from last week's historic, albeit socially distanced Democratic National Convention, the focus has begun to shift toward November.
Georgia is now considered a swing state with its electorate comprised of shifting demographics and a restless, younger voting bloc.
Some of those progressives said they feel disconnected from the political process and under-represented in the current Democratic platform. Picking a vice presidential candidate who once served as a prosecutor, they said, seems tone deaf after a summer of social justice protests.
"I am even more worried about the police state infrastructure now that he is putting a rather ruthless DA as his VP," said Shaun Krisher. "She is not going to be good about protesters or the border or any of it."
If elected, Harris would be the first woman of color and the first woman vice president in the nation's history. She joins Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin as major party women nominees for the office.
The Advocate now frequently ranks Atlanta as one of the most LGBTQ-friendly cities in the country. For some younger queer voters in the state, there is an ongoing difficulty in reconciling Harris' complicated history with queer and transgender rights with the progressive platform.
While serving as the district attorney of San Francisco, Harris staunchly opposed efforts to decriminalize sex workers, calling the push "ridiculous." According to a 2015 National Center for Transgender Equality study, nearly one in five transgender adults has engaged in sex work at some point in their lives.
Proponents of the proposition said it prevented abuse of transgender people by police. In addition, Harris supported the Stop Enabling Child Traffickers Act/Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA/FOSTA), which critics argued prevents sex workers from finding safe sources of work on the internet.
Harris also has been criticized for having a murky record on transgender people being able to seek gender-affirming care in prison, as well as their right to be placed in a prison of their gender. According to Out, Harris later apologized for her role in denying full care to transgender inmates and said that she was acting in accordance with her duties as attorney general of California.
Biden's campaign has a portion of their website dedicated to LGBTQ+ issues.
Rebecca Perkins of Atlanta is one voter who has found it hard to reconcile Harris' place on the ticket.
"I think it was a very bad move. The entire country is begging for police reform and he chose basically a cop for his VP, which seems really counterproductive to me," they said. "I may end up voting for them in the long run, but it would take a lot."
For other progressive voters, Biden's nomination represents a systematic oppression of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, represented in part by former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.
"The idea of casting a vote for Biden after everything I saw during the primaries makes me kind of sick," said Atlanta resident Blair Ray. "Especially how everything since then has been a tacit admission on the part of the Biden campaign that the progressive wing of the party doesn't deserve any concessions."
Neither Perkins nor Ray currently plan to vote for a third-party candidate on the ballot. Perkins said they may plan to just abstain from selecting a candidate and Ray has considered writing in Sanders' name.
In the 2016 election, Donald Trump won the state with 50.4% of the vote compared to Hillary Clinton's 45.3%.
For Biden and Harris to flip Georgia, political analysts say, they will need to win over as many progressives as possible to take the state's valuable 16 electoral votes.
For Krisher, Biden's nomination reflects a Democratic platform too fixated on the past instead of the ideas of younger progressive voices. For him, any efforts to sway his decision are coming too little, too late.
"Biden is from a different time, and the experiences he has to draw upon bear absolutely no resemblance to the future," he said. "The ways he's learned to do things are already out of date."