Centrist Democrats want to see the election of Trump as an anomaly, as some freak deviation from the norm. That might be a comforting thought, but it doesn’t hold up under much scrutiny. Sixty-three million Americans voted for him in 2016. This was not a freak accident – only a profoundly sick society could produce such a result. And unfortunately, that’s what America is: a profoundly sick society. As billionaires enjoy tax cuts and poison the air and waterways with lead and mercury, nearly forty million Americans struggle with hunger and languish in poverty. In the wealthiest nation in the history of all mankind, twenty per cent of all children live in destitution and squalor. Trump is simply an expression of this terror in its rawest form.
Centrist Democrats might think America’s problems can be solved by simply electing an old-fashioned “unifier” like Biden to the Presidency. Instead of committing themselves to the messy process of structural reform, to an attempt to address the conditions that allowed Trump to rise in the first place, they seem to think that we can all just place our hopes for a better society in a return to Presidential respectability, i.e. by electing a President who doesn’t call people dumb cunts on Twitter, etc.
They need to wake up. They must realize restoring “respectability” to the White House will not magically fix the sickness at the heart of American society and democracy that elevated a man like Trump to the highest office in the land in the first place. Biden talks about a “return to normalcy,” a return to the Obama years. If that means simply electing a President that makes nice speeches while trimming around the edges of a structurally violent, deranged and sick economic and political system, the U. S. is in deep trouble.
The best case scenario if Biden is ultimately handed the nomination would actually somehow be four more years of Trump’s evil, cruel and destructive Presidency. Because the worst case scenario is truly nightmarish. Let’s imagine a Biden victory in November. What would it mean? If we’re lucky, maybe a four year holding action against the rising tide of American fascism. The President is a bit nicer to people on Twitter, so we can all put our heads in the sand and collectively pretend that a status quo where American life expectancy declines three years in a row is normal. What would we get at the end of a Biden Presidency, following four more years of inaction in the face of a splintering, disintegrating society? What monsters would be unleashed upon the world by four more years of this unbearable dominant political order?
Trump is not an aberration. Instead, he’s the new baseline of American politics, a preview of what’s to come if Democrats commit themselves not to reform, but to defending the insane status quo. It can get so, so much worse – in fact, it will certainly get worse if Biden assumes the Presidency. Fail to acknowledge and address the system’s structural flaws now, and the next Trump will be one that marries all of the worst authoritarian, fascist instincts of Trumpism with the skills he mercifully lacks for now – competency, intelligence, discipline and an understanding of the levers of government. That would plunge America into a hell from which it would never recover. It would be the death of the republic, final and forever. How would that be for a ”return to normalcy”?