Third Party Blues

Photograph Source: RosiePOPz – CC BY 2.0

If you cringe in horror at the prospect, two years hence, of a Trump versus Biden presidential race, you are not alone. But it looms as a real possibility: two very aged men who should have the decency to retire from public life, having contributed so much to making it an absolute mess.

There’s Trump, a disgrace with his hideous January 6 insurrection, his Big Lie that he’s the real winner of the 2020 election and then all his many, many little lies about almost everything else. In the other corner of the ring lurks Biden, who on the last campaign trail promised everything from a medical public option to the minimum wage to student debt cancellation to the kitchen sink. He broke all those promises, estranging his relationship from the truth almost as badly as Trump’s.

So neither man is to be trusted. That’s not to say they’re bad in the same way – Trump’s racism, sexism, hot crush on fascism and all-around bullying of anyone he dislikes sicken anyone with a moral compass, but opposite him, there’s Biden, who may well yet bungle us into a nuclear holocaust with Russia. According to Russian observers May 16, in the Russian/Ukrainian battle for Rubizhnoye seven U.S. citizens were killed during the fighting, while the city’s defense was led by American and Polish military advisors. The day before came the rumor that a British lieutenant colonel, a U.S. general and four NATO military instructors had surrendered to Russian troops in Mariupol. This is all very bad. If true, it means Biden has failed to keep the U.S. out of the fighting. Even if only some of it is true, he already has the distinction of bringing the extermination of human civilization closer than any president since the U.S. first split the atom.

Biden also ordered the theft of Afghanistan’s $7 billion in U.S. banks, thus condemning tens of millions of Afghans to possible starvation. Trump was no slouch in the sanctions racket either, as I’m sure gravediggers throughout Venezuela can tell you. Sanctions kill. Both men used them to murder lots of innocent, ordinary people. A president who foreswore their use would be a breath of fresh air, a breath of life, something so wonderful, it’s virtually unimaginable.

So what to do? At the risk of noting the painfully obvious, I’ll say it: we need a third party. Received wisdom dooms third parties, but rarely would one be taking on two such vulnerable mainstream politicos. And they are vulnerable. Biden’s poll numbers are in the toilet, and Trump alienated lots of people in his own party. And both are so elderly that any average person’s thought on seeing this matchup is that they should do the world a favor and break the back of the gerontocracy by stepping aside for younger candidates. And did I say that third party hopeful should be younger? He or she should. A lot younger.

Trump recently backed the awful J.D. “Thiel’s Hillbilly Fake” Vance in the Ohio senatorial primary. Vance duly won. But “69 percent of Ohio Republicans voted for somebody else, despite Trump…flying in to stump for Vance in the final days,” wrote James Hohmann in the May 4 Washington Post. Hohmann also observes that Trump’s guy to unseat governor Mike DeWine got pegged as a loser, so Trump backed off supporting him. DeWine, featured on Trump’s enemies list for the routine courtesy of congratulating Biden on his 2020 win, “won his primary by 19 points.”

Meanwhile most Americans blame Biden for the economy. That means for inflation. And that means they didn’t buy Biden’s patently, transparently false attempt to hang inflation around Putin’s neck. Biden quite horribly chose sanctions over negotiations in Ukraine, and that means that in addition to Ukrainian corpses, he chose higher prices for Americans, as everyone darn well knows. Oh, and to repeat, not so incidentally, it also means he chose lots of dead Ukrainians; but that’s probably not what could lose him the election, though it should be.

Overall, the problem for both politicos is the seamless policy continuity between their respective reigns. Aside from differences of style, both are profoundly untruthful and both furiously and militarily advanced the interests of the American imperium across the globe. Just recently, on May 16, Biden sent troops to Somalia. What are U.S. soldiers doing in Somalia? Besides racking up defense contractor profits, that’s quite a puzzle. I guess they’re proving that the president who wasn’t satisfied with his sane though unpopular withdrawal from Afghanistan is still tough on terror. Or maybe he’s lured to Somalia by recently completed seismic studies indicating lots of oil and gas in that luckless nation. Whatever, the U.S. just invaded another country and the media is, ho, hum, what’s that got to do with Ukraine? Speaking of which, Biden wants $40 billion to arm Ukraine, U.S. weapons stockpiles are depleted, and they will have to be refilled. This means billions for arms corporations, whose profits exploded with Russia’s dreadful invasion and haven’t stopped. As far as those companies are concerned, keep this brawl going forever, and Biden is their guy to do just that.

Those nutcases on the left who say, “Well, at least Trump wouldn’t flirt with nuclear war over Ukraine,” are doubtless wrong. My guess is, if Trump still resided in the white house, he would have nuked somebody by now, given his remarks, early in the war, that the U.S. should bomb Russia with planes camouflaged as Chinese. If that so-called plan wouldn’t result in an exchange of nuclear missiles, I don’t know what would.

Only a fool would trust Trump for a minute to put Ukrainian lives ahead of his own political survival. In this entirely preventable catastrophe, Trump would doubtless do as Biden has: play it for propaganda purposes with the base back home while tossing Ukrainian and Russian corpses into U.S. defense contractors’ insatiable maw. Would Trump respond less icily than Biden to Moscow’s evident wish for diplomacy and negotiations? Would he have nixed Boris Johnson’s diktat to Zelensky, reported in Ukrayinska Pravda, to keep the war going, even though Zelensky and Putin inclined toward talks? That, as one high-ranking war criminal once put it, is an unknown unknown. Any leftist willing to support a candidate like Trump who advocated bombing Russia, pronto, and at least once wondered out loud why we have nuclear weapons if we can’t use them, is, not to put too fine a point on it, psycho.

So each candidate is a menace to the human race. The party hacks who would replace them should they decide to bow out will doubtless be no better. That’s why a left third party is needed – perhaps a union of the Green Party with Democratic Socialists of America? Or something like that – one whose first order of business will be anti-war, namely, to broker a peace between Russia and Ukraine, at once, and with China and Taiwan next, despite the idiotic U.S. “pivot to Asia,” dating back to slick, superficial Obama. Oh and by the way, leftist French politician Jean Luc Melenchon got it right: we don’t need NATO either.

So peace heads the list: it must be made with both Russia and China, tout de suite, before the radioactively unthinkable happens. But we surely won’t get a president with that kind of backbone from our suicidal bipartisan war party, busy, as it is, showering one trillion dollars on the pentagon for a nuclear upgrade and another trillion just for operating expenses. Even the supposedly leftwing squad voted for $40 billion in weapons for Ukraine. That’s not any leftwing I’m familiar with. If you said it was far, far to the right of Eisenhower, you’d be more on the mark. So ditch both parties. They stink.

Eve Ottenberg is a novelist and journalist. Her latest book is Busybody. She can be reached at her website.