I Have to Be Honest, These are Both Lousy Choices

Image by Natilyn Photography.

I’m writing this the day after the not-so-super Tuesday. Barring some kind of unlikely event, the presidential campaign is pretty much set. Unfortunately for most US residents, the ruling class has the candidates that represent its interests best. In one corner, leaning against the ropes his eyelids halfway shut, is the unabashed foe of diplomacy and unredeemed armchair warrior—Genocide Joe. In the other corner, sitting in a gold-plated recliner his massive belly oozing over the chair’s arms, is the candidate of the downtrodden billionaire and friend of the Klan—Donald Trump. Odds are more or less even as the opponents and their managers gear up for the fight. Neither man has anything new to add to their twentieth century campaign schtick, nor do their managers seem interested in adding anything new. After all, both men had their glory years thirty and more years ago. Trump was a crooked but unindicted businessman and Biden a loyal friend of the pentagon, the police and the leadership council of the Democratic Party. Jerry Garcia once said about the Grateful Dead when asked how they became “respectable”—“We’re like bad architecture or an old whore. If you stick around long enough, eventually you get respectable.” No one thinks about bad architecture when they look at Trump or Biden. However, the whore analogy always works when considering rich businessmen and politicians.

This is a white people’s election. Not only do neither of these candidates represent the non-white residents of the United States, they don’t have a clue what representing them even means. It’s only in the past few days that Biden’s non-white-skinned vice president has proven useful to the Biden White House; and then only as a tool justifying US collusion in Israel’s genocidal attacks against the Palestinians. The proof of Donald Trump’s inability to understand the issues of Black people extend to his recent series of clumsy jokes suggesting his criminal activities would be something Black people could relate to because they are always in trouble with the law. I wouldn’t be surprised if he convinced a Black Republican to run as his vice president. Nor would I be surprised if he chose the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. In the meantime, one can expect the canards about Trump and the Russian leader Putin, and Biden’s lapses in thought. Not that either one has a thing to do with politics, but then much of US election campaigns have nothing to do with politics.

Blaming Trump on the Russians is lazy. More importantly, it avoids the historical fact of the essential “Americanism” of his public persona and his politics. His racism, anti-immigrant positions, anti- unionism, and hatred of government regulations of business are classic and well-documented opinions of US politicians throughout US history.The Constitution embedded the ownership of human beings into its foundation. The killing of indigenous peoples and the denial of their humanity was a common occurrence for much of the nation’s existence. The hatred of immigrants and moves to deport them is part and parcel of the US mindset . This is especially true when discussing immigrants who’s skin isn’t “white enough.”.In other words, Donald Trump is as American as apple pie. His politics of division and hatred of the proscribed other were a part of US politics many many decades before Putin was born. Indeed, the politics of inclusion the US liberal left clamors for are actually the anomaly in US history. The fact that those inclusive politics were the dominant politics for a few years in the 1960s and 1970s is remarkable, given the essential racism of the US political and economic system.

 

I would like to think the outrage at the deep US collusion with Tel Aviv in its war on Palestine might make a difference at the polls. While it’s true that something could happen that would make that so between now and the Democratic Convention in August, the fact that Joe Biden has no serious opposition in the primaries seems to prove that Democratic voters are okay with the ongoing slaughter. It also suggests that their fear of Trumpism is greater than their concern for the dead and dying in Gaza. It’s easy to understand why. Besides the longstanding love of Israel among many US residents—a love fostered by US mainstream media—the possibility of another Trump presidency justifiably provokes concern. I have to admit I share that concern. Unfortunately, unless the Democrats take the White House and both houses of Congress, the likelihood of a further drift to the right in US politics is pretty much guaranteed. One is reminded of this every time the so-called Freedom Caucus rears its ugly head and imposes its outsized will on the rest of the House of Representatives. GOP regulars and mainstream Democrats shrink into their suits and skirts as they scramble to appease the loudmouth demands of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz. The only time these folks are right is when they oppose more military aid to Kyiv, albeit for their own reactionary and racist reasons.

Here’s the facts. If Joe Biden wins, the war in Ukraine will continue and possibly expand, depending on what happens on the ground there and if the Democrats can take both houses of Congress. The US support for the Israeli occupation will continue, with Washington playing imperial overlord in deciding the nature of the occupation. The ongoing US-contrived rivalry with Beijing will most certainly intensify, if for no other reason than to ensure the increased profits of the US war industry. Domestically, things might improve for some working people, but housing will remain overpriced. As will health care, food, and fuel. Immigrants will continue to languish at the border and in detention camps and racist fools in state governments will use the immigrants’ plight for their own political gain.

If one magnifies everything in the previous paragraph by God knows how much and tosses in some straightforward racism, that’s a Trump presidency in a nutshell. Israel will be encouraged in its slaughter, China will remain an unnecessary enemy and immigrants will be abused. The one difference might be a negotiated settlement in Ukraine. However, if his administration convinced other NATO governments to cough up some more cash for the US war industry, he could go in the opposite direction.

The only certainty is we must be ready to fight fascism. Whether it’s the fascism already in existence; the fascism experienced by prisoners and parolees, especially those with dark skin or the fascism experienced by immigrants abused at the border by police and (occasionally) military and locked up in detention camps. Once again, it is those with darker skin who bear the brunt of this authoritarian brutality. As I write this, the New York Times is reporting that the Democratic governor of New York is mobilizing the National Guard to join the already massive New York City Police Force in policing the subways. This sounds like a tactic straight out of the trumpist playbook – a playbook already considered fascist by many.

Will we be fighting this fascism that, as Black panther George Jackson wrote fifty years ago, “tolerates the existence of no valid revolutionary activity…. (and) is concealed behind the illusion of a mass participatory society.”. Or will it be a drastically more radical fascism that extends its ruthlessness beyond the prisons, slums and radical left, taking its revenge on everyone who dare oppose the great leader, Democrats included? Will this nation’s liberal class fight at all, even as their world becomes unrecognizable? Or will their acquiescence continue?

 

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. He has a new book, titled Nowhere Land: Journeys Through a Broken Nation coming out in Spring 2024.   He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com