Joe Biden is the Democratic nominee for the presidency of the United States. We are in the general election and Democrats will concentrate in making a case before the American people. Democrats nominated Kamala Harris as their Vice-President who has the training and instincts of a prosecutor. She already started making this case, that President Donald Trump has failed the leadership test, and allowed people to die.
We also know Republicans will accuse Democrats of being far-left radicals, which sounds good given the party is currently a center-right party with a few progressive policies. Let’s be clear here, if Democrats nominated Attila the Hun, he would be a far-left commie lefty in the minds of many Republicans. This used to be a joke in political circles but is currently Republican reality.
This thinking started with the John Birch Society and with Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy. It has matured into a full invective against Democrats with some added sweetens. They include the deep state and pedophilia rings. This means that the true believers in the Republican base will never listen to the Democratic cause since Democrats are a clear and present danger to the United States, which needs saving from their fiendish designs. In more than a few cases this includes George Soros with a dollop of antisemitism and racism.
While racism has existed in Republican politics for a long time, since at least 1968 and the Dixiecrats leaving the Democrats for Republicans, this is as bad as it’s been in the modern period. Both racism and antisemitism were tolerated on the edges but now have become party orthodoxy. This is the case in the party of Donald Trump. So if you think things are going to be better in a second Trump term, you have not been paying attention. This is one point Democrats are also going to make. When conspiracies become government policies, we end divided. They should also tell us what forces are taking advantage of this. The long arc of American paranoia has reached maturity.
The Central Case Against Trump
The heart of the case is incompetence. To use the president’s words, by the time this sees print, over 170,000 Americans will be dead from COVID-19. This is not because the administration did all it could to prevent these deaths. We should be clear, not all could have been, but we could have done what other nations did, and flatten the curve. We did not, and some of this is on the shoulders of the president. The president first called this a Democratic hoax. Then we went into how it was not deadly, or affected
children. He told us that it would be gone in a few days. Then he said that it will disappear in the Summer, it will not be as serious as this actually is. Let’s be clear, Republicans collectively reject science as a matter of principle. This is why they also dismiss the climate emergency or any expert that tells them that it is also serious.
This comes from a deep distrust of liberal elites and education. Republicans perceive college as a liberal pursuit, devoid of any use in the economy. Never mind we need engineers, doctors, and scientists. For Democrats, education is the key to the American dream. While this is no guarantee, a good education can make it easier to live a better life. Statistics bear this out. Granted, due to growing income inequality, this is a fifty-fifty bet, especially for the lowest two quintiles of income. This distrust of education and opportunity includes blaming the victims of the current economic system. There is also an element of racism in Republican orthodoxy.
Republicans also see science and experts as something that gets in the way of profit for the private sector. This is why Republicans were against seat belts, the science around tobacco, and why they continue to believe climate change is not real. Or if this is happening, it is not a product of human activity. They have also seen increasing distrust in global institutions, why they welcomed leaving the Paris accords, or the World Health Organization in the midst of a global pandemic.
The pandemic is at the core of the case made against the administration. It is obvious at this point that the administration failed the American people. More Americans will die, all in the name of profits than they should have. Speaking of racism, they have no problem that the people most affected by COVID are the same exact minorities that are the base of the Democratic Party. They are also essential workers, but if you go to certain sites, it is because they are not white. The inequalities in the system could never have a thing to do with this. That is just luck and lazy people. This will be brought up by Democrats, who remind all of us that they are also trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of a pandemic.
Then there is the economy, which is in the worst shape than it’s ever been, or at least in living memory. The last time it collapsed this badly it was under another Republican: Herbert Hoover. Like Hoover, Trump has tried to game the system and tell us good times are around the corner. Granted, he has signed some of the stimulus bills because that was a lesson of both the Great Depression and the Great Recession. Yet, he did not quite believe in them. It was more the politics of it.
This case is not just necessary for the Democratic base. For the most part, Democrats get it. There is another group that Democrats are trying to attract and this year I suspect they will. These are Biden Republicans.
Let us be clear, the Republican Party is split between those who support the president and those who do not. This started early in Trump’s political path to the White House in 2015. For some Republicans, Never-Trumpers, this presidency is a nightmare. They vowed to do all they could to make sure Trump would not win the nomination, and later the presidency. Now they are swearing they will stop a second term. They know that Trump is bad for the conservative movement in more ways than one.
At this point, these people run the gamut from elder statesmen in the Republican Party all the way to former White House staffers. Perhaps there are some within the administration who secretly fear a second term. These include the Lincoln Project that has produced some of the smartest political adds in a long time. If you have not seen them, go search for them on Twitter.
I heard a few progressives grousing that the DNC is giving these people the virtual stage of the Democratic convention. Yesterday, for example, there was an homage to John McCain who in normal times would have had that at the RNC convention next week. Democrats need these voters in November to win in states such as Michigan, Florida, Texas, and Arizona. The electoral map has expanded, but these are the voters that will do that.
This is also why Democrats gave the microphone to General Collin Powell, Governor John Kasich, and Carly Fiorina. Democrats know that moderate Republicans are looking for a new home because Trump’s party is too radical for them. They may like the tax cuts, but not the rest of the package. When it comes to COVID these people understand that the administration has no plan. This means a lot more people will die because of this.
The Ratchet Effect
Ironically this will start to ratchet American politics back from the far right. This will not make sense with many progressives who are angry that these Republicans got the microphone. These are people looking for a new political home, or plotting to recapture their party. And with the latter, good luck. It will take a major defeat for the present iteration of the Republican Party.
The Republican Party is a far-right white nationalist party, which is not concerned with global alliances, or the last seventy years of American foreign policy. Powell made his career in that old world order. Fiorina needs international connections to continue to grow her business, and Kasich is moderate when compared to the Tea Party, let alone Trump Republicans. They are symbolic as to where many other Republicans find themselves. They all have the potential of becoming Democrats, and Democrats are currently a big tent party concerned with growing the base. If the Democratic Party succeeds in capturing the White House, the House and the Senate, this will start to moderate politics from the horrors of the last four years. Full disclosure is in order. I wish we could move faster, but in American politics, nothing is ever fast.
There is more since Ronald Reagan captured a lot of Democrats who became lifetime Republicans, we have had a pull to the right, meaning, the center of American politics is to the right of international politics. We are now at the beginning of the process the other way. Why? American politics have moved too far right, so the pendulum has but one direction to go or a full-fledged dictatorship.
We are in the midst of a crisis that could force the process, and if enough pressure is applied on a new national leadership, this move to the center will accelerate. But first things first, Biden needs to win the White House and the Senate needs to shift hands. If either of these two fails to occur, Republicans will succeed in blocking anything attempted. And if Trump should get a second term, all the guard rails that still exist will be gone. What we will see is unlike anything seen since the American Civil War and our institutions may be damaged beyond repair.