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Trump's Scariest Legacy--Joe Biden

Message Bob Kosuth

The die is cast. The Wall Street Democrats (the 99% that is), the New York Times, the Washington Post and NPR all agree. Biden is the man. Now even Bernie has seen the light. The only thing left is to pick a right-wing female for VP. No problem. There are lots of options.

Of the many frightening legacies of the Trump era, among the worst will be the legitimization of right-wing and establishment Democrats, people who know how to keep the capitalist soup profitably boiling and know just when to turn it down before it boils over. Smooth-talking Barack Obama was the master. He was able to make everyone feel good while he was busy bailing out the banks in 2008, just as local health departments started losing almost 50,000 employees between 2008 and 2013. But the liberal class loved him and long to have him or a suitable surrogate back now.

With Sanders out of the way, it's back to status quo ante for the Democrats. But how do they get away with it? How do they make themselves look like a genuine alternative to Trump based on such scant evidence?

First, in domestic politics, Democrats are masters of talking in passionate, self-righteous "progressive" terms about obvious chronic US domestic problems that they themselves have created, long ignored, contributed to, or opportunistically react to when created by Republicans. The Democratic way is to promote band-aid solutions that do not go beyond the conventional. Thus, the one-percent have nothing to fear. Obamacare in place of single payer is the classic example, but there are many others: focusing on "our wounded warriors" versus questioning militarism, identity politics versus MLK's linking of racism to imperialism and capitalism, beating the drums about Russian meddling in elections versus dealing with the well-documented, long-standing lack of democracy in US elections. In short, any differences--and there are some--are quantitative not qualitative. Viewed from the perspective of current Trump right radicalism, even centrist Democrats seems attractive, but this is just the latest iteration of their usual strategy.

Second, in international politics, Democrats consciously and carefully avoid head-on collisions with US-empire issues since they are not politically useful for capturing power and since Democrats are in agreement with Republicans anyway. To be sure there are some exceptions--well, one, Ilhan Omar--but the others shade off to complicity with empire, even AOC and Bernie Sanders, particularly when it comes to Venezuela. Granted, some of them publicly turned down the opportunity to genuflect at the latest AIPAC conference, but the major players like Biden, Klobuchar, Schumer, and Bloomberg sent their heartfelt pledges of loyalty on video. A few come out against anti-BDS legislation, but only in the context of their long-standing loyalty to the state of Israel. Elizabeth Warren's unquestioned public support for Israel, for example, has evolved to include opposition to anti-BDS legislation--a far cry from supporting BDS--and criticism of the killing of non-violent unarmed protestors at the Gaza border, but such actions are clearly designed to do no more than thread the needle between AIPAC and her constituents back home. Minnesota's Rep. Betty McCullum has bravely authored a bill to intervene into Israel's imprisoning children and has justifiably received praise for calling out Israel as an apartheid state, yet she chides her colleague Ilhan Omar for "dividing Democrats" and cautions her "to prevent it from happening again in the future." Former liberal Democrat Minnesota governor Mark Dayton went many extra miles to highhandedly put a stop to activists' efforts to divest Israel bonds from the State Board of Investment holdings. Democrats are all about Trump's obvious evildoing at the US southern border but say nothing about Obama's and Hillary's adding to the source of this misery in Central America.

Third, establishment Democrats and their servile policies enjoy the full support of the mainstream US media, including NPR and PBS, for whom Trump is a godsend because he's the perfect foil for their right/centrist orientation. These mainstream media people can, maybe for the first time in their comfortable careers, feel like real journalists actively investigating and pursuing Trump while sticking to the script that American politics consists of no more than the endless Democrat vs. Republican soap opera as they vie for the right to serve the interests of the 1%.

Last, and most painfully obvious, the Democrats do not practice democracy. The 2016 nomination of Hillary, the machinations of the DNC, superdelegates and the hatchet job on Sanders before Super Tuesday all exemplify their usual practices. They exhibit censorship and party discipline that a doctrinaire Leninist would envy.

So the choice we will have in 2020 is the choice that the Democrat party establishment has given us, just as it did in 2016. Four years of Trumps' arrogance, racism, sexism and buffoonery topped off with incompetence at handling the coronavirus may give them the opportunity to get back in power.

The stakes are high and the benefits of serving the establishment are lucrative and the Democrats did not want to lose their chance by letting Sanders mess it up for them. Once again the Democrats deluded Bernie or more likely he deluded himself (Laurie Dobson), but in any case ironically Trump will live on in the legitimization of right-wing Democrats whether he gets reelected or not.

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Retired from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Former director of international programs office and Superior English as a Second Language Institute. Ph.D., University of Minnesota. M.A. degrees in linguistics and East Asian Studies from the (more...)
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