An Open Letter to Biden Supporters who compare me to a Trump Supporter

by Jason Frerichs

I’ve never unfriended someone because they supported a different primary candidate than I did. There were people on the same side as me in 2016 that weren’t in 2020. We’re still friends. Some people weren’t on the same side as me in 2016 but were in 2020. We’re still friends. Some people were on different sides in both 2016 and 2020. We’re still friends. Lately, I’ve seen some extremely toxic posts by “good Democrats” sharing a New York Times article (which I refuse to link) that says people who support Bernie Sanders are just like people who support Donald Trump.

I’m not going to lie and say that aren’t toxic people who support Bernie Sanders. There are. I’ve experienced it. I’m critical of all candidates, even those I admire and support. I’ve been unfriended and blocked for being critical of Sanders. I’ve been disappointed by the horrific behavior of former staffer Ben Mora and the legion of 20-something twitter bros who feel the need to harass anyone who dares say anything negative about Sanders. The inability of the campaign to reign that in was part of the reason I caucused for Elizabeth Warren. She is an amazing woman and was an incredible candidate. She would have been an amazing president. I see Warren and Sanders as my political parents. I love Bernie Sanders too. His 2016 campaign was transformative for me. It inspired me to found Iowa’s Progressive Caucus and to be elected as the first Chair. I’ve been blessed to see that due to the hard work of a lot of people it’s grown into a wonderful organization. I’ve met some of the most incredible people I’ve ever had the honor of knowing. It was on that campaign that I truly found my people. The overwhelming majority of Sanders supporters are kind and compassionate people who truly care about building a better nation for all of us. Not Me. Us.

What I won’t accept is toxic people comparing me to a Trump supporter. I’m a queer man in a same-sex relationship and we are absolutely terrified of what the future might bring. We’ve had numerous conversations about which countries we could immigrate to and what we could do for work if the shit really hits the fan. Trump has appointed numerous anti-LGBTQ judges and you think it’s cool to disrespect me like that? Do you realize how toxic and gross it is that you would do that? You’re comparing LGBTQ folks and those who aren’t white to supporters who would like to see us dead. You’re comparing us to supporters who see us as subhuman and to people who support a man who would gladly throw the LGBTQ community under the bus just to appease the religious right. Do you honestly think you’re going to win me over by acting toxic?

In end, I’ll vote for Joe Biden should he win the nomination. I understand what’s at stake. I understand that the balance of the Supreme Court is a huge concern. I understand that the Obama/Biden status quo is better than what we have now even though it leaves out the marginalized and the least fortunate. I understand that Joe Biden gives me a better chance of pushing for progressive policies than Donald Trump does. I’ll close by saying to Biden supporters who accuse me of being just like a Trump supporter, you’re being just as toxic as those you claim are “just like Trump supporters.” I will not work side by side with you.

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