Op-Ed: The Election of Joe Biden

Joe Biden’s mostly confirmed, bizarrely drawn out election “win” (still disputed, at time of writing, by giant toddler- sorry, incumbent President Donald Trump) was rightly greeted with relief virtually everywhere – and understandably so.

The re-election of Trump could literally have spelled the end of the human race. His rejection of the Paris Climate Accord and short-term interest in revitalising coal and other fossil fuel use, regardless of the long-term costs, could have proved utterly disastrous if extended into another term.

Centrists, who backed Biden as the “safe choice” to beat Trump have recovered from a few sleepless nights (when Joe didn’t seem so safe) and are indulging in their favourite hobby of pretending that victory is all that matters.

“Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man” is the title of a Guardian op-ed on Biden, which hails him as a man with a “healing touch” – an unfortunate phrase, given the accusations several women have made regarding Biden’s willingness to touch.

“The president-elect seems ready to offer compassion and help to those whose suffering…” the Guardian continue. “Mr Biden wants Americans to feel empowered by believing in something larger than themselves. He would like elected leaders to take, rather than abdicate, responsibility for public duties.”

A glowing review, but let’s keep some perspective. Does anyone, including the Guardian, truly believe that Biden was an inspiring candidate?

American voters certainly didn’t. After four years of Trump’s lies, bombast and daily self-contradiction – not to forget the hundreds of thousands of Americans dead from a pandemic worsened by shocking failures of leadership (bleach, anyone?) – the fact that “The Donald” even ran Biden close is terrifying.

And should be pause for thought.

So let’s think. Who is Joe Biden?

Destruction of Libya inflicted by US bombs. Image courtesy of covertactionmagazine, whose excellent article explores Biden’s likely foreign policy outlook

A man of compassion?

We’ll soon find out. Will Biden stop the farcical and cruel proceedings to extradite Julian Assange for revealing US war crimes? Or will he, as he did while Vice-President in the Obama regime that began the persecution of Assange (also starring Hilary “can’t we just drone this guy” Clinton), continue to label him a “hi-tech terrorist” and seek his incarceration?

Speaking of compassion…wasn’t Biden VP during the years when Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama dropped over 25,000 bombs in a single year? Before anyone counters that these were aimed at terrorists…view some images of the destruction wreaked by the US campaign in Libya and try to relate to Biden’s description of it as “a prescription for how to deal with the world as we go forward.”

Perhaps Biden will step up to the BLM plate and begin to address long-standing racial grievances in the US?

It’s probably not a great sign that his running partner, Kamala Harris, highlighted in a debate that Biden worked “to oppose bussing” programmes in the 1970s that sought to end segregated schools and that he speaks fondly of former Senator James O. Eastland, whose career highlights include saying that “the white race is the superior race and the Negro race an inferior race and the races must be kept separate by law.”

Still, Biden surely has more respect for women than Trump…

Oh dear, this is getting a bit awkward. Business Insider document that “Eight women have alleged that Biden either touched them inappropriately or violated their personal space in ways that made them uncomfortable. One of those women, Tara Reade, alleges that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993.”

At least Biden may do something about astonishing inequality which means that the wealth gap between America’s richest and poorer families more than doubled from 1989 to 2016

Em…the Democrats were in charge for quite a lot of years in that period, including Biden and Obama for eight of them.

Who will Biden prioritise when in power? Those who voted for him or those who funded his campaign?

“In 1979, after receiving donations from Coca-Cola, Biden co-sponsored legislation that helped the soft-drink industry skirt antitrust laws,” The Independent report. “In the 1990s he voted against regulation of credit card companies, one of which just happened to be his largest single donor.”

There is a reason stock markets have enjoyed a “Biden bounce” in the past few days – and it’s not because Uncle Joe is about to redistribute wealth.

“I don’t think 500 billionaires are the reason we’re in trouble,” Biden has said. “The folks at the top aren’t bad guys.”

Like every other US President in history Biden knows which side of the bread is buttered – and it isn’t the side the American public get a look at.

Our Point – yes, we have one!

Joe Biden and Donald Trump – as different as the corporate media would have you believe?

Centrists will not enjoy this article. We will be accused of being negative. Perhaps we are, but aren’t we also being realistic?

Realism is the domain of centrists – and home of the great contradiction in centrist thinking. By continually arguing that winning is all that matters and that the left should “unite behind”  candidates like Biden, who are – unlike Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn – acceptable to the corporate media, they simply kick the can down the road.

After all, why did Trump come to power? Why did he win over 71 million votes in 2020 (more than in 2016!!) after four years of lunacy?

Trump, like all populists, seizes on genuine grievances. Despite being the richest country in the world (by far) America has “the highest poverty rate in the developed world”. “For most U.S. workers,” Pew Research report, “real wages have barely budged in decades.”  

The Republicans can’t tell people “vote for us, we’ll continue to siphon all the economic growth into our pockets and leave you with nothing” so they play the blame game: it’s immigrants and welfare cheats who’re robbing you. And oh, by the way, look at those liberals with their PC-speak looking down at you…we’ll speak to you in your language.

Trump came to power because the public understand, implicitly, that the Democrats don’t do anything for them either – and they’re mostly right.

So let’s be realistic. Biden is a terrible candidate for President. A palpably senescent, anachronistic white male in the age of #MeToo and BLM who has a dubious track record in almost every area.

Unless pushed to the left by continuing activism Biden will continue with the corporate America programme, depriving masses of universal healthcare, social safety nets and decently paid jobs while funnelling profits into the already bursting pockets of billionaires.

He will, in short, perpetuate the conditions for another Trump to rise.

So keep up the activism, spread the word and remind centrists to be realistic. The way to cure an ill isn’t by selecting the “least worst” medicine all the time. Invest the time and energy in addressing the cause of the disease.

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