If the two genocidal geriatrics leading the polls this primary season do not excite you, then you’re in good company. Most Americans do not like the top choices in 2024, since they’re the exact same choices we had in 2020, except now they’re that much older. 

Feels bad. 

Now, don’t get us wrong. Though we here on the Stranger Election Control Board do consume enormous amounts of extremely high-potency cannabis products, we draw no equivalence between the openly fascistic Republican party and the corporate-friendly but socially progressive Democratic party. 

We’re just kinda wondering: In a country of more than 330 million people, is the Democratic party’s answer to American fascism really a guy who bent over backwards to help Israel displace and annihilate Palestinians, flout International Court of Justice orders to prevent genocide, and continue apace with an illegal occupation? A guy who lurched hard to the right on immigration, using Trump-era rules to limit asylum-seekers and promising executive action to limit access to asylum even further? A guy who failed to fully cancel student debt, who rejected court reform even after Dobbs and multiple corruption scandals, who let US Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema take his job for the first two years? A guy who’s older than Pop Tarts and credit cards?

A quick glance at the sane side of the ballot reveals that, yes, in fact, that guy, President Joseph R. Biden Jr, is the best that Democrats think they can do against former President Donald Trump this year. 

The other options just suck. Democratic Congressman Dean Phillips is a corporate “gelato tycoon” who’s basically self-funding a campaign to increase his name recognition. Self-help author Marianne Williamson seems fun at parties, but she’s already suspended her campaign. Writing in “Ceasefire” or “Mickey Mouse” simply amounts to throwing away your vote–according to state law, officials only have to tally write-in votes from candidates who filed “timely declarations” of a write-in candidacy and who also exceed the number of votes earned by the second-place candidate. In other words, no one is going to see your write-in vote. 

But the Washington State Democratic party did provide an option on our ballots that allows voters to express our disapproval of war crimes without throwing the country out with the bathwater: “Uncommitted Delegates.”

What are “uncommitted delegates?” Um, give us two short paragraphs to explain.

To win the Democratic party’s presidential nomination, a candidate must rack up 1,968 delegates at the Democratic National Convention in August. Washington State will contribute 92 delegates to that national tally, and the state party will award a certain share of those delegates to any candidate that wins more than 15% of the primary election vote. 

Uncommitted delegates simply do not have to cast a vote at the convention for a specific presidential candidate during the first round of balloting the way delegates who pledge to vote for a certain candidate do, so they can make noise in a very public way if the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians hasn’t stopped by then. 

And Washington’s uncommitted delegates likely wouldn't be alone. In Michigan, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib launched an informal campaign asking people to select uncommitted delegates to support the call for a ceasefire. With about 200,000 registered voters who identify as Muslim in a state that Biden only won by a little more than 150,000 votes in 2020, he will be paying attention. 

Campaigns to vote uncommitted in other states, including right here in Washington, are revving up as we speak.

But let’s be real. If Biden lives to see the convention, he’ll likely win the nomination, and Washington’s uncommitted delegates will serve only as a measure of our primary electorate’s disapproval. But unlike a protest vote for Phillips or a throwaway write-in vote, voting for “uncommitted delegates” delivers a message to Biden in a language he can hear and understand. 

Sure, even we screaming socialists must admit that Biden has chalked up some impressive wins while working with a functionally divided government. He signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which included a historically large investment in combating climate change. He signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, which included the “largest investment in public transportation in history.” He helped execute a soft landing after inflation shot up. After Uvalde, he signed a gun safety law that the NRA hated. We can buy birth control over the counter now. And, though he could be doing much more, he’s the most pro-union president we’ve had in recent memory.

But the potential benefits of pressuring Biden to do the right thing on the global stage outweigh the potential benefits of backing him outright in the primary. 

First of all, though presidents hold the most direct power over foreign policy decisions, they almost never have to heed public opinion on those issues because of the structure of the national security apparatus and the fact that voters tend to focus on domestic concerns at the ballot box. Joining a movement to vote for uncommitted delegates to support a ceasefire gives us the rare opportunity to speak directly to the president on this issue, and the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Gaza is simply far too dire not to take advantage of that opportunity. 

That said, we’re aware of the potential folly here. Looking at the polls, 82% of Democrats approve of Biden’s performance in office. That means there’s a real chance that voting for uncommitted delegates will quantify the exact size of the “ceasefire left” as part of the Democratic base, which will show Biden exactly how little he may need to care about us. And will winning Washington 80% to 20% instead of 90% to 10% scare him into doing the right thing on foreign policy and immigration? Probably not. 

But, again, Trump and Biden are basically tied in the polls right now. In a race with margins that tight, Biden needs everyone to knock doors, to make phone calls, to email family members who live in swing states. And if he wants that level of support–especially from the youth and from other members of the winning Obama coalition–then he’s going to have to respond to our demands in real, material ways. And he should want that level of support, since that work will do a hell of a lot more to help his electoral prospects than touting a Washington primary endorsement months ahead of the general. 

Look, we know Biden is the answer to the general election question because Trump would be worse in every conceivable way. He’s worse on Israel, he’s literally “planning militarized mass deportations, and detention camps” at the border, and on social media he repeatedly promises to destroy the “radical left.” With Republicans favored to take the Senate and maintain control of the House, he’ll have all the power he needs to do whatever he wants for who knows how long.

But let’s make one thing clear: The reason we will eventually have to make that easy but somewhat depressing choice is because white men designed our institutions to preserve white power, which Trump so totally embodies. The electoral college that elects the President continues to dilute the Black vote, as the “framers” designed it to. The President and the Senate, a minoritarian body that inflates the power of white voters, seat the members of the Supreme Court. Using judicial review, the Supreme Court–perhaps the most minoritarian institution in government–holds an ultimate veto over the legislative and executive branches. Though the House of Representatives most directly represents the people, they face reelection every two years, which means they’re not incentivized to solve problems. Until we abolish the electoral college, abolish the Senate or at least the filibuster, and reform the Supreme Court, then none of this governance shit is going to get any better. 

A Trump victory would set back those goals indefinitely, and a Biden victory keeps them in reach. But right now, it’s the primary. And if we can’t push the likely Democratic nominee to do what we want now, then when can we push him? 

Vote uncommitted delegates. 

The Stranger Election Control Board is Hannah Kreig, Vivian McCall, Charles Mudede, Ashley Nerbovig, Megan Seling, a tipsy go-go dancer in a jock strap, and Rich Smith.