For Democrats, the 2020 Election is a Win-Win
For the Democratic Party in its current formulation, the election in November is a true “win-win scenario”: whether Biden wins or Trump wins, the party establishment and its cadre of elites will still be in the perfect position to consolidate and grow their power and wealth.
First, let us be clear about what the Democratic Party is today: The party has been hijacked by the so-called “NeverTrump” Republicans who have finally succeeded in transforming the party of FDR into the party of Reagan. Today’s Democratic establishment — the party leaders — have much more in common with “traditional” suburban Republicans than they do with the working class, multi-racial base that informed Democratic policy since the 1930’s. This strategy was on display in the 2018 midterms and it has been exalted to supreme primacy in their selection of Joe Biden as their nominee to lead the party.
It should also be mentioned that the brutal and swift destruction of the Bernie Sanders campaign further confirms the party’s determination to stay the pro-corporate course it has followed since Bill Clinton first introduced the strategy of “triangulation” back in the 1990’s.
If you doubt this to be true, I would simply ask you to review all the many times that prominent Democrats as well as Democratic surrogates in the media have grown nostalgic, even wishing for the “good old days” of George W. Bush and openly emulating Ronald Reagan (as Obama does often).
The election of Donald Trump provided the catalyst for this “horseshoe” alliance of Republicans and Democrats, and it set the stage for a “more perfect union” of the imperial corporatists in both parties.
Indeed, so-called “Trump Derangement Syndrome” is currently the primary force uniting the neoliberal Clintonian Democrats, who have been running the Party since the 1990’s, and the new vanguard of high-profile neoconservative “NeverTrumpers” like David Frum, Bill Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, Max Boot, Steve Schmidt, Nicole Wallace and many others who are spotlighted on “liberal” media networks like CNN and MSNBC and write important op-eds in liberal press outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Unfortunately for progressive Democrats, however, what may have started out as a marriage of convenience has now cemented into what looks like a permanent fusion. As ex-Republican Jennifer Rubin describes in a recent Washington Post column, “Nevertrump has become NeverRepublican”:
I am a Pat Moynihan Democrat, a Scoop Jackson Democrat, an Andrew Cuomo Democrat. I’m not a Bernie Sanders Democrat. So where does that leave me? Where I have been for just about four years: a center-right member of the “Resistance,” an advocate for good governance and internationalism (including free trade and robust legal immigration) and a passionate believer in the American creed.
Rubin would definitely include Joe Biden in her pantheon of conservative Democratic heroes. With his stern opposition to deficit spending and his single-minded pursuit of a Balanced Budget Amendment (the GOP’s Holy Grail), coupled with his repeated attempts to do “entitlement reform” by cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (another Republican priority), Biden certainly fits the bill as the perfect Democrat to appeal to NeverTrump Republicans.
What Rubin calls Biden’s “internationalism” is code-speak for a devotion to American Empire and endless war. And in this spirit she has nothing but praise for Joe Biden, whom she recognizes as a fellow war hawk:
Biden is fortunately an internationalist at heart who supports an active U.S. presence in the world and still believes U.S. leadership is essential. Most NeverTrumpers have enthusiastically embraced that mind-set for decades, but we must now do some serious thinking about how the United States leads, which international institutions need to be reformed and how we meet the challenge of autocratic states and their undermining of democracy.
This amalgamation of warmongering neoconservatives and free-trade neoliberals is an insidious combination that completes the migration towards one-party rule that has been going on in the US for the past several decades. This nefarious alliance represents the perfect embodiment of what Ralph Nader and Ann Coulter both refer to as the “Uniparty” — i.e., a corporate political duopoly that operates in concert on issues of substance, such as war and the economy, whilst filling the entire public debate space with social issues and identity politics in order to galvanize the most culturally partisan elements of their respective bases.
Thanks to the NeverTrump Republicans, however, the Democratic Party is definitely coming out ahead these days, to the point where they literally cannot lose in November.
The Win-Win Scenario: What a Biden victory means
Assuming the presidential campaign becomes a contest between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, then the Democratic Party is perfectly positioned to emerge as the clear winner — regardless of what the Electoral College decides.
In the first case, a Biden victory will be a vindication of the corporatist, centrist Democrat theory of the case. They will have won without the support of the Bernie Sanders wing, having specifically and expressly rejected all calls to accede in even a small way to the Sanders campaign. The offer to form “task forces” to discuss various issues is at best a meaningless gesture and at worst a cruel inside joke.
Whereas most of the top-tier Democratic Primary candidates had felt it necessary to at least pay lip service to such issues as Medicare For All, Joe Biden was the one candidate who steadfastly refused to bend, who campaigned relentlessly by flatly rejecting the progressive policy platform and insisting that he was going to party like it’s 1999. Indeed, he famously told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell that if Medicare For All managed to pass both houses of Congress and land on his desk as President, he would VETO the bill.
So Biden heads into November unbowed and unrelenting, with his middle finger still squarely thrusting upwards at the progressive Left.
A win under these circumstances would leave the Biden camp owing nothing to progressives and younger voters, and would only embolden Biden to pursue his deficit-hawk, balanced-budget austerity (with the enthusiastic support of Nancy Pelosi), Likewise, he would feel free to pursue military adventurism abroad, and his war hawk agenda would be a boon for the military industrial complex and a disaster for people around the world.
In the case of a Biden victory, the NeverTrump shock troops would be immediately deployed to snuff out the last remnants of progressivism and purge the party of any hint of the Sanders agenda; Sanders will be portrayed as a dangerous narcissist, a “Trump of the Left” and so the next existential threat to be vanquished; his supporters will be continue to be castigated and condemned as cruel, nihilistic “Trumpian” Bernie Bros and a “digital brownshirt brigade” of extremism.
They would use their media megaphones not only to praise Biden and the cause of centrism, but to provide critical support to what Rubin calls the “active US presence” and the “American creed” — in other words: MORE WAR.
The Win-Win Scenario: What a Trump victory means
But there is another even more disgusting reason why the Democrats will not change, even if Trump is re-elected: having Trump in office is good for business.
The #Resistance movement has been a financial boon to the Democratic Party. They broke all fundraising records in the run up to the 2018 midterm elections, and Democratic -leaning think tanks, super PACs and other non-profits all received a financial “Trump Bump” in funding:
The League of Conservation Voters, GLAAD, Planned Parenthood, MoveOn: People-Powered Progress, MoveOn.Org, Democracy In Action, Common Cause and others — progressive political and social-issue organizations helping lead the so-called “resistance” to Trump’s conservative agenda — all have reported big boosts in contributions and public engagement, some at record levels.
So for the centrist peddlers of cultural tokenism and identity politics in the Democratic base, their #Resistance will continue to be lavishly funded, and the cottage industry that was built by Trump Derangement Syndrome will kick into high gear as the fearmongering of an even more dangerous Trump unhampered by a pending re-election strikes fear into the woke and well-heeled around the globe.
And the NeverTrump vanguard will be there, reveling in their place in the Democratic Party firmament, charging forth to savage and excoriate the Sanders progressives, painting them as the REASON that Biden was defeated. Progressives will be cast as traitors, as Judases, as secret Trumpists and saboteurs. The purges will be swift and merciless. If you think Bernie and his “Bros” were blamed unfairly for 2016, get ready for a blast furnace of white-hot hate from the radical center as they literally blame us for the end of the world.
Whether it is Trump or Biden who will be sworn in next January, the fact is that in either scenario, the NeverTrumpers and the Obama/Biden/Clinton centrist Establishment will lead a newly invigorated, lavishly funded Democratic Party into its next incarnation, creating a militaristic, warmongering empire abroad and a free market, neoliberal, austerity-driven dystopia at home.
I would hope, however, that progressives and those on the Left would take heed to what is happening with the Democratic Party and realize at long last that what Kshama Sawant said is true: “As long as we tie ourselves to a party that is tied to Wall Street, our movements will reach a graveyard in the Democratic Party.”
Third party. People’s Party. Yellow Vests. These are the things to which every red blooded progressive should be devoting their time, energy and resources now. The Democratic Party is a cancer.