This has been a year of such astonishing and unforeseeable events that it seems to be taking some time for the full impact of what has tumbled onto the daily and political life of the United States to be assimilated. The year has been building steadily towards its November 3 climax like a Wagnerian opera, through the worst medical pandemic in 100 years, which is playing a role in the fierce combat zone of American politics.
As the primary season unfolded, the Democrats were faced with the selection of an outright Marxist, though a sincere Democrat, and the powers that be in that party intervened to assure the nomination of a presidential candidate who is unique for other reasons.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, a venerable wheel-horse of 50 years of elective service who has never demonstrated any vote-winning ability outside his little state of Delaware (400,000 voters), bombed badly in the early primaries—placing fourth in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire, behind the Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders, the only slightly less socialistic pseudo-Native American Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a fluent gay young mayor of a city of about 100,000 people, Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, and the un-frightening but somewhat plodding and Mondalean Senator from Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar.
Democratic Party elders were so disconcerted at the prospect of Sanders as the nominee, they performed the Lazarene feat of resurrecting Biden, who in his long career has generally been thought a centrist. But his political precepts had never been tested outside Delaware, and he went with the party leadership in the Senate through six terms.
In these circumstances—that is, in order to reconcile with the Sandersites, who had been questionably deprived of the nomination for the second time in four years—Biden has effectively signed on to the Sanders program. He rightly proclaims himself the most leftist candidate in the party’s history (“progressive” in the current jargon, but that misconceives progress).
Sanders and Biden sully the great name of Franklin D. Roosevelt as a statesman role model; FDR was a well-educated man who believed that without contented working and agrarian classes, which were, in any case, an equitable ambition in a rich country, the system would be unstable and possibly even unsafe for those who lived in 40-room houses in thousand-acre estates as he did.
The Democratic Party is now committed to a far more radical socialist platform than has ever been remotely hinted at by a serious American national party. This includes open borders, and effectively the full right of undocumented residents to the benefits of the American welfare and education systems as well as the right to vote. They are also intent on the seizure of firearms in private hands. All those without comprehensive health insurance will be offered a “platinum” federal government health plan covering all contingencies which will soon be “free” healthcare for up to 150 million people. Minimum wages and taxes on anyone earning above the average income will be sharply increased. Most of the liberalizations of business and corporate regulations enacted by the Trump regime will be reversed, and unionization of the workforce heavily favored. The Democratic socialist caucus’ Green New Deal will be enacted, banning as quickly as possible (or even more swiftly than that) fossil fuel production and use, the internal combustion engine on land and in the air, and discouraging the consumption of beef to spare the environment the challenge of bovine flatulence with which it has coexisted for all of known history.
More than $1 trillion of student loans gradually will be forgiven over 20 years, university education will be guaranteed to be available and free to all families with incomes below $150,000 a year, and private, chartered, separate, and home schooling will all be discouraged to promote the monopoly of the underperforming, heavily unionized state school systems.
Abortion, including the disposal of newly born children, will be available without cost to everyone. The military will be substantially downsized; the agreement assuring Iran its right to deploy nuclear weapons in five years will be reaffirmed, and there is no indication that this administration’s activities to protect American jobs and industry from unreasonable competition and trade arrangements will be continued.
The Democrats are also pledged to look seriously and positively at a program of trillions of dollars of reparations to descendants of emancipated American slaves and to native people.
This is a blueprint for a pacifist, socialist republic presented by a party that, as Attorney General William Barr remarked at the House Judiciary Committee on July 28, does not condemn mob violence, approves the reduction of police forces in the country’s cities, accepts that those who attempt to burn down federal buildings, churches, and police precincts, and to destroy monuments of traditional American heroes including Christopher Columbus, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Frederick Douglass are “peaceful protesters” whose rights to do so are apparently protected by the First Amendment.
This absurd political program is now widely supposed by the 90 percent anti-Trump media to be on the verge of electoral approval.
When confronted with the obvious total unacceptability of this fact, the standard response is that Biden is a reliable moderate and has generally avoided comment on the more controversial measures, which in the normal course will simply not be enacted. Biden does appear at the moment to be a narrow favorite in the polls, largely because the Biden-Sanders program has not really been examined and because of the success of the anti-Trump media in panning Trump’s anti-COVID-19 performance as inadequate. That is a harsh judgment. He acted early to close off direct travel from China and Europe (to a chorus of criticism from the Democrats), and showed great executive ability in swiftly producing ventilators, hospital beds, and other medical requirements, but the public relations could have been better handled at times.
Crime—especially violent crime—is rising sharply in most cities and the mainly Democratic city governments are hopeless and inert (e.g. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, Portland, and Seattle). The president outmaneuvered the Democrats by reverting to executive order to continue assistance to the economically afflicted, but at levels that incentivize their return to work.
Trump faces the challenge of selling a two-track recovery: epidemiological and economic, concurrently. It is the only way to avoid either a terrible depression or hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths, and in the meantime, it should sink in on the country that a vote for Biden is a vote for hardcore authoritarian socialism, strengthened by mailed-out ballot-harvesting, unrestricted voting by illegal immigrants, and an assault on the Electoral College with spreading state legislation delivering all electoral votes to the leading overall vote-winning candidate regardless of the vote-breakout in each state.
The pell-mell descent of events has made it possible for the Democrats to represent Trump as President Chaos, but if COVID-19 fatalities continue to decline alongside receding unemployment, it will be impossible for the American public to elect the Sanders proletarian revolution with the amiable stumblebum from Delaware as its Judas Goat.