Famed Marxist intellectual and activist Angela Davis trended Monday on social media after throwing her support behind Joe Biden for president, calling it crucial to back the candidate “who can be most effectively pressured” by the left.
“I don’t see this election as being about choosing a candidate who will be able to lead us in the right direction,” said Ms. Davis, University of California Santa Cruz professor emeritus, in a video clip. “It will be about choosing a candidate who can be most effectively pressured into allowing more space for the evolving anti-racist movement.”
Her statement came in a June 15 interview with RT, or Russia Today, an outlet funded by the Russian government. Her comments trended on Twitter as an apparent vehicle for drumming up leftist support for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, the putative Democratic presidential nominee.
“Biden is very problematic in many ways, not only in terms of his past and the role that he played in pushing toward mass incarceration, but he has indicated that he is opposed to disbanding the police, and this is definitely what we need,” said Ms. Davis.
She then added: “But, I say but, Biden is far more likely to take mass demands seriously,” more so than President Trump.
“Far more likely than the current occupant of the White House, so that this coming November, the election will ask us not so much to vote for the best candidate, but to vote for or against ourselves,” continued Ms. Davis. “And to vote for ourselves I think means that we will have to campaign for and vote for Biden.”
Mr. Biden was viewed as the most moderate of the top 2020 Democratic presidential primary contenders, leading to concerns in Democratic circles that he might struggle to motivate the party’s rising leftist wing.
The video clip prompted a back-and-forth over whether Ms. Davis’s support was enough to convince leftists to support the Biden candidacy.
“Angela Davis explained all sides of why we are voting Biden in November so well,” said an account called Beyonce of Marketing with 12,800 followers. “The best choice isn’t always your favorite,& that’s life. The stakes are high.”
British journalist Mehdi Hasan noted that a slew of prominent left-wingers are supporting Mr. Biden, including author Noam Chomsky, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and asked, “Are they all ‘liberal sellouts?’ Are they Establishment Stooges? Seriously?”
Meanwhile, critics on the right asked why a far-left figure’s support for Mr. Biden on RT should be viewed as an electoral plus.
“It looks like Angela Davis, a known Marxist, is on Russian propaganda news channel RT telling Americans to vote for Joe Biden even if they think he is a bad choice because he can be manipulated,” tweeted media critic Stephen L. Miller. “This seems pretty damn suspicious to me. Who agrees?”
Ms. Davis said in 2016 that she would vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, calling it a vote against Mr. Trump.