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Biden Is the Perfect Figurehead for the Post-Trump National Security Establishment


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Source: The Intercept

There can be no doubt that in rejecting Donald Trump, voters in the United States removed one of the most cold-hearted, openly racist, and bigoted administrations to govern the U.S. in modern history. There are tangible Trump policies, including on immigration, that Joe Biden can, and almost certainly will, change that will have a direct, significant impact, particularly on some of the most vulnerable people in society. Biden has promised to swiftly roll back scores of Trump’s dangerous edicts. Extreme right-wing forces in the U.S. will lose their unprecedented kinship with a sitting president who has constantly used his office to embolden, encourage, and defend them. All of this is welcome news.

At the same time, the nomination and election of Joe Biden should not be construed as a major leap forward. The Democrats’ victory in the general election was made possible by the horrifying death toll of the Covid-19 pandemic and the criminal recklessness of the Trump administration, rather than an enthusiastic embrace of Biden’s policies, ideas, or his nearly half-centurylong record in public office. For millions of voters, this was not a choice between Biden and Trump — it was a referendum on Trump, and Biden’s name on the ballot was a stand-in for “No!”

For millions of voters, this was not a choice between Biden and Trump — it was a referendum on Trump, and Biden’s name on the ballot was a stand-in for “No!”

Trump was very good for the business of the Democratic Party power brokers. Biden’s win was not a decisive victory born of the politics of the party establishment, no matter how hard that establishment wants to claim it. If anything, it showed that millions of Americans, including large numbers of progressives and young voters, were willing to put their own political principles and preferences aside in an effort to ensure Trump would be defeated. That is hardly a conservative Democratic mandate delivered by the people.

Throughout the past two electoral cycles in particular, Democratic Party elites have openly embraced the principle that waging war against the left is crucial to maintaining their grip on power. They engaged in systematic red-baiting against Bernie Sanders in both 2016 and 2020. They railed against Medicare for All, supported massive corporate bailouts and giveaways, and backed bloated Pentagon budgets. While attacking the left, Democratic Party leaders have steadily embraced George W. Bush and other imperial Republicans as part of their imagined coalition of adults in the room. The past four years of Trump have brought remarkable public clarity to one of the most pernicious aspects of the two-party system: The traditional elites of the Democratic and Republican parties have more affection for each other than they do for the ordinary people whose fates they love to wield as rhetorical ornaments in their campaign speeches.

There have been a number of transparent realities clarified by the Trump era. We know that there are more than 73 million people who watched the open corruption, gross incompetence, spiteful and dangerous policymaking, and the constant encouragement of racist violence and hatred overseen by this administration and chose to endorse it with their votes for four more years of Trump. The whole world can see how the Republican Party morphed almost overnight into one gigantic campaign rally celebrating the most insane directives and lies of a notorious charlatan who boasts of his mastery of bankruptcies. But Trump did not alter the ideological core of the Republican Party, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has frequently lamented while nostalgically dreaming of the golden era of Bush’s murderous eight years. If anything, Trump’s reign has quite dramatically exposed the GOP for what it really is and has always been. Trump has forced the Republicans to cast aside any feigned principles Pelosi erroneously continues to portray as sincerely held.

1 comment

  1. avatar
    Michael December 7, 2020 1:15 pm 

    Four more years of Obama-Biden. No surprise there. Nothing has much changed. But history does not exactly repeat itself and the world is changing, for better or worse? Who knows? We only know that Trump is no longer in the White House, but the arc of history is massive and perhaps not what MLK Jr. said it was.

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