How Biden Is Paving The Way For Trump’s Return
For a brief moment on the night of January 6th, 2021, American democracy stood on the brink of revival.
After the mob was cleared from the Capitol by the National Guard, America’s elected representatives in the House and Senate completed the job of certifying the victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the 2020 Presidential election.
Immediately after, they undid this achievement by diving straight back into politics as usual.
I know no one wants to hear this, especially not in left-adjacent circles, but the Democrats’ behavior starting the day after January 6th all but guaranteed the Republicans would circle the wagons and defend themselves. The obsession with the violence. The quest to cast it as an organized coup with true chance of succeeding.
Because the Democrats are run by old timers using outdated theories of American politics they refuse to update because doing that would make them change how they play the game. And these insiders saw nothing but opportunity in the wake of the Capitol Attack.
A year on, Joe Biden has chosen to try and resurrect his flailing administration by making it all about Trump. And the way he’s going about it is certain to provoke even more unity among Trump’s supporters.
Think of the irony of this —2021 was a year of mostly pretending the former guy didn’t exist. A year where not one but two Covid variants blindsided the administration by its own admission, Kabul fell to the Taliban after Biden explicitly said this couldn’t happen, and Democrats failed after months of internal infighting to pass Biden’s signature policy proposal, Build Back Better.
Inflation is back to 1970s levels despite the administration insisting it was transitory. Jobs are plentiful, sure, but millions of people have left the workforce — overall labor participation rates matter much more than the unemployment rate right now.
After a year of failing and flailing, the administration’s approval numbers mirroring Trump’s and with only Democrats expressing strong support, all Biden still has going for him is the fact that he’s not Trump.
Never mind that there is about zero chance of passing laws that will protect democracy because the filibuster is never going away. Forget that more Americans will soon have died under a year of Biden than under Trump after vaccines were widely available largely because the partisan administration can’t figure out how to communicate with people without college degree.
All Team Biden can do is fight to evade responsibility. Blame everyone they can — the unvaccinated, rural people, and of course, Trump — and attack anyone who questions their self-serving narrative as insufficiently concerned about democracy.
It’s the same basic strategy Biden’s team used in 2020, managing to push record Republican turnout while still failing to reach a third of eligible voters. The media, still angry at Trump for being mean to them for so long, is full of Biden boosters who have come to believe that tolerating media partisanship is okay because they’re defending democracy and Truth.
Probably true, but if these are seen as partisan by enough people, they effectively are. No amount of telling them they’re wrong will change that.
The media is celebrating Biden for making a big fiery speech — but they adamantly refuse to consider the natural consequences of continuing to try to score political points off January 6th. The more the Democrats and the media make the case that most Republicans are Trump supporters who oppose democracy, the stronger Trump’s support becomes.
And the more his cult of personality is amplified, the worse 2024 is going to be for the world.
Politics will always be a nasty, dismal game that brings out the worst in people. It’s supposed to be played by professionals who are ignored until they screw up, at which point the voters go to the polls and have an opportunity to punish them by voting for a different party.
Representative democracy is problematic because it invests so much power in individual politicians. This plus the American-style two party death match refereed by partisan pundits equates to deep long-term instability, which is why America dies and is reborn every 80 years or so.
And when you have one party insisting the other is trying to dismantle democracy, the situation is a recipe for total disaster. High-quality surveys in fact show that virtually all Americans are against violence, even if many will say they sometimes support it thanks to the fact America was literally born through a violent rebellion against its colonial overlord.
Each party’s leaders are now training their voters to believe democracy is at stake and they’re its defenders. Both have chosen to embrace enemy narratives about their opponent, leaving no room for compromise.
The fundamental stupidity of the Democrats and Team Biden playing this game is that the Republicans are in a much better position to win it. Pundits like to believe they can shame people into voting correctly, but in reality it’s the material conditions people see around them that controls how most vote.
Only college-educated Americans who went through the stilted intro-level civics courses that most ever take believe that people vote after having rational debates about policy. If you’re in power and people feel like the country sucks, you lose.
If this weren’t true, Trump would have been re-elected in 2020.
Look, the whole vote to save democracy thing did not work out so well in 2020. The Democrats nearly lost the House and drew even in the Senate when everyone had been predicting a landslide. About 120,000 votes across three states kept Trump from an electoral college tie.
Touting a seven million vote popular vote victory as a landslide when it’s the electoral college that counts and it was devastatingly close is the worst kind of spin. It’s part of the constant effort to bully and shame people into trusting and voting for Democrats without holding them to account for being almost as bad as their mortal foes when it comes to effective governing.
Progressives are far from the worst when it comes to this. The wealthy, smug white liberals and the white dudes who fight to claim the mantle of moderate or centrist will lie to your face then tell you it wasn’t technically a lie at all so you have no reason to complain. Progressives, at least, want to achieve something even if they never will so long as they’re part of the Democratic Party.
The fact of the matter is constantly attacking Trump in 2020 was a bad bet that nearly damned America. Yes, Joe Biden turned out 15.5 million more voters than Hillary Clinton.
But Trump, against all odds, turned out a hair more than 11 million new voters for himself. In an election where the media proclaimed again and again that democracy was on the ballot.
Overall turnout increased from 55%… to 66%.
The Democrats’ message failed to reach a third of eligible voters. A third.
And yet they’re doubling down in an obvious bid to gin up partisan support ahead of the upcoming Midterms. After which Biden will be defending democracy while also fighting a partisan impeachment in the House.
I wouldn’t criticize the Democrats so much if they didn’t all act like hardcore fans of their local sports team who believe the more they shout the better the players on the field do. Leaders in the party do this to avoid being held responsible for screwing up like they pretty much always manage to.
Pivoting to fighting for democracy against Trump isn’t going to work when the champions of democracy appear utterly incapable of fighting for Americans on every other front. Democracy is only attractive to people if it works reasonably well and maintains stability.
Shrugging off Covid as a pandemic of the unvaccinated while hospitals are being overwhelmed — again — contact tracing is failing — again — and Covid tests are hard to come by — again is not the behavior of a party that truly cares about democracy. At least, not if you consider the essential role of democracy to be electing accountable and effective government.
Throw in supply chain issues, labor turmoil, and inflation caused by the Fed giving out free money to banks that are buying up assets like crazy and juicing the stock market, and… well, Americans aren’t going to magically feel better about life anytime soon. After proclaiming Covid basically over then shrugging when Delta then Omicron slammed the country, people will remain scared of new variants well into 2023 if not longer.
That means there is no returning to normal. That’s done. Life will never be the same. Many will pretend otherwise, but they won’t be the ones mourning dead family members or fighting off Long Covid.
But one trait that Biden has proven over and over this past year is his refusal to take responsibility for anything that goes wrong. Lacking credibility with the public, his sudden embrace of being the champion of democracy and his return to, in effect, campaigning against Trump, is doomed to ring hollow.
Democracy itself will become even more of a partisan issue. Both sides will insist they’re defending it, even as their expanding struggle destroys America completely.
On the flip side, America’s fall isn’t the end of all worlds, or even anything we really ought to mourn. Just the passing of the United States of America, a noble experiment long since polluted by its inheritors, twisted to become another iteration of the feudal oppression that enslaved Europe and, ultimately, most of the planet.
Maybe this is the will of the gods. Perhaps the Ghost Dance worked, and the indigenous gods of these lands are taking their just revenge on a nation founded upon genocide and slavery.
Americans can pretend all they like — patriotism and faith in the flag of the American nation binds a person inexorably to the heritage of those atrocities. If it is America’s fate to divide and fade, then so be it.
The Democrats will continue to aid and abet Trump’s lust for power. 2024 will be the nightmare we all fear. The day Trump returns to the White House, America will fracture.
I’m good with it. Because on that day the West Coast will effectively cease to be part of America.
And then, everyone here will be free to build something better. A real democracy built on partnership and respect, not preservation of a wealth-worshiping east coast elite culture bent on imitating ancient Rome.
Cool chill folk will be welcome to join. And given that the West Coast is set to be a relative climate refuge compared to the South or Midwest, lots more people will be coming here, particularly to the Pacific Northwest, one way or another.