Sunday, November 12, 2023
Blame game starts for Trump 2024
The future looks dire. More particularly, according to some polls, it now looks more likely than not that Donald Trump will become president of the USA in 2024. The Guardian, a left-wing UK newspaper, is blaming the press for being too balanced. Well, that is an original take, but I don't think the little balance remaining in mainstream news is the problem. The problem is how the Democrats are given an extremely easy task, looking more attractive to voters than the deeply flawed Republicans and their highly problematic candidate, and they are failing at that task.
The first problem, to quote slogans from previous elections, is "it's the economy, stupid!", or "are you better off than you were 4 years ago?". Inflation is always an opportunity for redistribution, and there have been inflationary periods in the past that ended with wages rising by more than the fortunes of the rich. But in an international comparison, the actions of the government in the USA to help low and middle income households against the cost of living crisis have been feeble, and is has been company profits that rose more than wages this year. There were right-wing governments in European countries that did more to ensure that inflation wasn't growing inequality. Key economic policies of the Biden administration like student loan forgiveness make the Democrats look more and more like the party of the educated elite and the Republicans the party of the blue collar workers.
The second problem is the candidate. There aren't many people who are unpopular enough to lose an election to Donald Trump, but Joe Biden certainly makes the cut. If there is a single decision by a single person that could guarantee the Democrats to win the 2024 election, it would be the decision by Joe Biden to not run for re-election. I am all against ageism, but an election in which the average age of the candidates is 80 is kind of ridiculous. Especially in a political system in which the vice-president is normally a non-entity, selected with not much care, the statistical probability of the next US president dying in office is far too high in the current situation.
The third problem is democracy. Donald Trump definitively is a danger to democracy. Which makes it absolutely necessary for any opponent to do better than that, and to concentrate on democratic means to win the next election. The left wing media narrative of preventing Donald Trump from running by use of the legal system, especially the totally spurious 14th amendment path, is counterproductive. Eliminating Donald Trump by anything other than the ballot box would be undemocratic.
The last problem is international. Political parties are always tainted by the views of their extremists. And the global extreme left is currently clearly on the wrong side of history with their stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict frequently being both pro-terrorist and anti-semitic. In Paris this weekend there was a march against antisemitism. In attendance were the extreme right, like Marine Le Pen, while the extreme left called the marchers "unconditional supporters of the massacre of Gazans". Snatching the label of antisemitism away from the extreme right is *not* a win for the extreme left. Like in the Guardian article linked to at the top, the left is frequently railing against "bothsideism", the idea that one should look at issues from both sides. But the reality of things is that most issues in life are not simple enough to justify a clear, one-sided position on it. The conflict between the state of Israel and the Palestinians, which is ongoing for 75 years now, is one where the stated positions and goals of both sides are wrong. And as much as one might dislike the egregious human rights violations the state of Israel is committing in Gaza, the stated goal of Hamas is genocide of all jews, which is even worse. The position of most reasonable people isn't "bothsideism", but "neithersideism": At some point the world will be obliged to force the two sides into a compromise neither of them wants right now, some sort of two-state solution. And neither of these states will cover the whole area "from the river to the sea".
I believe that beating Donald Trump in 2024 should be totally possible for the Democrats. They will have only themselves to blame if they fuck this up. The abortion issue is a huge plus for them. But if they fail to connect to the average American voter, his values and economic problems, fail to leave their ivory tower, and rely only on their imagined moral superiority over the other side, the resulting harm to democracy will be as much on them as on the would-be tin-pot dictator. "Trump is bad", as much truth as there is to it, cannot be the only political platform the Democrats run on, they need to actually offer the American people a more attractive alternative to vote for. It is depressing to see at this point in time how bad they are at it.