Why are the Democrats so blind to the cliff they’re stumbling over?
The answer, of course, is that they’ve become a kind of church. A faith system where honest self-criticism is sacrificed on the altar of positivity to keep anyone from asking pointed questions.
It’s another American pyramid scheme run by people with a lot of money and a vested interest in pretending that they care about the rest of us.
A recent book looking closely at the first two years of the Biden Administration reveals what I’ve been afraid was true about him from day one: he’s an empty vessel at heart, a cipher for the party whose political strategy amounts to letting everyone he comes into contact with project whatever they want to believe onto him.
That in turn has let Bidenworld act as if he’s the second coming of FDR, a disastrous conceit that is primarily meant to keep the media from criticizing him too much — or asking too many questions about his health and family business. The American people were rather famously lied to about FDR’s need to use a wheelchair: one has to wonder what other inconvenient aspects of the administration are being hidden.
But speaking strictly in scientific, adaptive cycle terms, Biden is the ideal kind of manager for the Summer phase of a system: a time when efficiency matters and maintaining good relationships keep everything humming along. But the rise of Trump proved, as I’ve been arguing for about a decade now, that the USA has entered the Autumn phase: a time of collapse and loss, when the ideal strategy is to ride the waves of chaos while offering a clear vision of what life looks like on the other side.
That’s why Ukraine’s President, Zelensky, is such a better leader than Biden. Want to know why American’s can’t unite? Blame the messenger. People don’t trust Biden because he promised bipartisan normalcy yet here we are, looking at a 2020 rematch in 2024 where he’s oh-so-conveniently presenting himself as the only hope for democracy — again.
Since 2016 the Democrats have made a hard commitment to the idea that Trump was an aberration, Clinton lost because of her gender, and that a centrist white guy with lots of experience and no unruly ideas was the best solution. Heading into 2020 the polls indicated a landslide — but as I expected would prove the case, they were once again biased just enough to ensure the race was desperately close in the swing states that barely put Biden over 270 Electoral College Votes.
Fewer than 1% of Biden’s voters staying home in 2020 would have translated to a loss and a second Trump term. Contrary to the predictions of a massive American rebuke of Trump, the man turned out more voters than any Republican or Democrat had before.
Despite millions more Americans turning out in 2020, the outcome was almost identical to 2016. And this, recall, was a year when Trump was still in office thrashing about, screwing up the pandemic response and sending federal police into places like Portland to crack down on people protesting against police brutality.
In 2024 the USA appears doomed to a re-do: it is absolute insanity to believe that Biden will come out on top. Especially when poll after poll shows the same thing: a dead heat with Trump when in 2020 Biden had never been less than 4–5 points ahead.
The default scenario heading into 2024 is an outright Trump victory, if narrow, powered by the Democrats losing Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. Polls are still scarce on the ground in individual states right now, but what ones have been done point to the same trend: a 3–5 point erosion in Biden’s performance against Trump.
That’s absolutely fatal. Anyone who sees Biden as a strong incumbent is delusional. And there’s a lot that will go wrong between now and November of 2024 around the world — count on it.
Worse, Trump’s polls are getting better even as the economy seems like it might put off falling into a formal recession. Why? Because the Democrats are running around telling people to feel grateful for all they’ve done when the average voter is looking at prices sitting 10% higher than they were three years ago. Even if inflation stays at 3%, prices aren’t going down again anytime soon.
Democrats aren’t feeling this as much as most Americans because the only people doing really well compared to 2020 are those of us with college degrees. And it is becoming starkly apparent that the long-term effort by Democrats to associate themselves with education has more or less become pathological. Though people with degrees have more money to donate to political causes and so attract lots of attention from politicians, they still represent a minority of the electorate, especially in key swing states.
Since 2020, Democrats have been slowly but surely sorting themselves into a clique that defines itself as the sole legitimate decision maker in what counts as democracy. A technocratic ethos now permeates the entire left-leaning political sphere, spilling over into media outlets giving college-educated people echo chambers where they are encouraged to see their discourse as superior.
Thing is, the Democratic Party’s leaders are also quite old: their vaunted experience and wisdom are now liabilities as much as assets because the American political system is undergoing another realignment. These happens very generation or so, and involve the various regional and ideological wings of each party shifting, altering the character of each.
That’s why Lincoln, a Republican, is more often cited as a great American president by Democrats. Joe Biden’s party right up until the 1960s was full of white Southerner descendants of slaver plantation owners who weren’t too keen on the idea of equal rights. Delaware, the state he represents, might have been in the Union — but it was also a slave state for longer than the Confederacy existed.
Democrats have been captivated by a mythology of progress that sees their ultimate victory as inevitable: sadly for them, evidence is mounting that a massive reaction against education, science, and government itself is growing around the world. Why else are left parties in the UK, India, and so many other places moribund? Still dominated by Northeast Yankee values, as the Nationhood Lab defines this regional culture, the Democratic Party has transformed itself into a social pyramid scheme with promotion controlled by the same party elders that have been running the show since the 1990s.
There is now a massive disconnect between the Democratic intellectual ecosystem and ordinary Americans. The pressure to conform when you’re around college educated folks these days is palpable: it is also unsustainable. I’m not blaming “woke” culture or anything like that: the issue of the day is always changing among the Democratic cultural leaders. Just like Sunday School sermons, it all goes in cycles yet hits on similar themes: the importance of unity and refusal to question dogma are naturally emphasized.
The end result is a sham of democracy no less doomed than the hard-right counterpart it claims to oppose. Hegelian dialectics is wrong: thesis and antithesis don’t create some new synthesis; instead the people who cling to each theory battle it out until a new generation inherits their war and adopts what it sees as the most effective aspect of the other side.
So Liberalism and Conservatism begat Neoliberalism and Neoconservatism, the dream of perfecting humanity colliding with the belief that people never change to create mutant strains, one arguing that people are only economic units while the other demands perfecting all of humanity under the auspices of Western Civilization. The long war between these two has led to nothing but another mutation, a rising confrontation between elite technocracy and market-driven populism.
This is a very old story: it ends in mutual destruction for both, Ragnarok style, and the emergence of something new — maybe better, possibly a whole lot worse. Like the ancient war Moscow has waged against Kyiv, its elder and superior representative of Eastern Europe’s heritage and potential, the conflict will ultimately escalate until neither side can share the same space.
Which is the secret to why both partisan teams are so desperate for a showdown with China: believing in America’s inherent superiority and holding that classic paradoxical view of the Orient as simultaneously too weak to resist attack but strong enough to pose a mortal threat, both sides need to fight Beijing. Another war that no one can win, but where one side — the USA — stands lose a lot more.
The fact that Joe Biden is trying to extend that “bridge to the future” he insisted he was in 2020 for another four years is indicative of how deep the rot runs in elite American circles on both sides of the partisan divide. Not only did he fail to win a truly competitive primary — remember that when Covid began the Dems truncated theirs by having everyone not named Warren drop out to block Sanders once he won the California primary and its massive delegate haul — but now the Democrats openly insist that holding one now would be bad for democracy!
If you needed a clear sign that the party has hit a dead end, look no further. It is essentially taboo to insist that Biden have to defend his record against a challenger: an open competition would harm the party, it is said, and waste money that’s needed to run ads that demonize Trump. This pathetic stance renders every single Democrat who insists that the party is defending democracy a craven liar and enemy of the very thing they claim to protect.
For too many, this is all about power, not safeguarding the Constitution. There is an universe world of innovative policy options out there that remain totally unexamined because neither side wants to risk losing donors and doesn’t want people to realize just how broken the federal government of the USA now is.
It’s not getting better, either: history shows that conservative arguments usually win out in times like these. Progressives and liberals have utterly failed to accept that their education does not render them superior in any way to anyone else: in fact, the American education system itself is one of the greatest myth factories on the planet.
You have to spend a lot of time steeped in the literature and science coming out of anywhere else on the planet — save Putin’s malignant nightmare, of course — to understand just how weak sauce American education is. Coming from California I was lucky: I went to UC San Diego then UC Berkeley for free.
Heading to Oregon in adulthood and ultimately teaching at a state university— one of the ones that lurves it’s perpetually crappy football team — I learned the hard way that not every state’s education is up to California standard. But as pathetic as Oregon’s sports-obsessed flagship universities are (regional public colleges are far superior here) in academics, they’re still an order of magnitude better than most places in the South and Midwest.
Why? Because every state sets its own standards. American’s don’t share a history, language, or even basic set of facts — nor could they, because the country is huge. What federal education standards exist are mostly focused on making it easy to rank state systems and pretend that test scores and grades translate to quality education.
Teaching real critical thinking is not valued in the USA. It’s why an American PhD is effectively equivalent to a Masters in Europe or the rest of the Anglosphere, a Masters is basically a Bachelors, and a Bachelors more or less a high school diploma in turn.
In terms of curriculum American educators are mostly agents of a unique political economy: to survive, departments have to make sure that their classes are required of as many students as possible. This means that most American students go through two years of a grab bag of courses with little connectivity, unless they’re focused on science or engineering, which too few are.
The ones focused on history, politics, and economics are little more than ideological training grounds designed to give American students the impression that there are two options in life: conservative or liberal. The latter is hinted as better simply because of how the US partisan system has evolved: professors are mostly on the left because much of the right has made public education a target.
In reality politics is far more complex: but there is no shortage of American political scientists who will adamantly insist that the status quo will persist forever. The USA’s entire society is now bound to this strange and utterly unscientific claim: it’s why both partisan teams are talking in apocalyptic terms.
The whole thing is a delusion — but try convincing the true believers of that! A full 20% of academic “experts” on democracy view any third party as a threat to it, indicating how far they’ve fallen.
Once both political parties in a binary system decide that its only democracy if they win, watch out. Democracy in that case is already dead, because it can only ever survive if the majority of players agree to follow certain rules of the game.
To successfully prosecute Trump, Biden needed to have resigned before any indictments came down. It was inevitable that, under present conditions, even those willing to move on from Trump would rally to him as soon as they felt like their side was being attacked on political grounds. The truth in this situation is irrelevant: perception is enough.
Similarly, Trump is able to walk through his own party’s primarily without having to compete because no one wants to go against their team leader in a straight-up rematch. Biden and Trump need each other: so many Americans want both to go away that the fact neither will is as perfect an indictment of this country’s democratic system as any you could imagine.
The Democrats are rigging their own party machinery to allow Biden a glide path to the nomination in 2024 without having ever won a truly competitive primary. This utter abdication of democracy will destroy them in the end, because Joe Biden is probably the only person who could lose to Trump.
Were he as honorable and concerned about American democracy as he claims, Biden would step aside. Let Harris, Newsom, Whitmer, and Warren take some of the attention away from the Republicans, who are right now setting themselves up to follow four years of Trump with eight of someone like Nikki Haley, who would be the first woman and child of immigrants to hold the office, annihilating the Democrats’ argument of being the only party able to cater to the emerging diverse majority.
Normally polls a year before an election are not reliable. This time, however, they are: most people know Biden and Trump and will not change their vote. And a little over a year out, here’s how Biden loses, with Pennsylvania — his home state for propaganda purposes — delivering the death blow.
Many will stay home or choose another option — which is certain to exist, another reason Biden is likely doomed. A correctly structured third party bid could split the Republicans worse than the Democrats and leave Trump in control of a doomed remnant, but Democrats are too fearful of anything that upsets their cozy narrative about being the only defenders of democracy to go down that road.
So much for being the home of the brave, America. If leading Democratic Party members can’t do better than Biden, they’re done.
Yet that is pretty much what they’re selling to voters. Meanwhile, come November 2024, Trump’s backers will be motivated and determined.
You don’t have to be right to win. Democrats do not understand war nor care to: and so have they doomed themselves.