A Progressive Endorsement of Biden

By Chris Tharp

With the golden star of Bernie Sanders’ recent endorsement, it’s clear that Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee, and I will be voting for him. While he may not be your first choice, he’s now our only bet to stop this slow motion bus plunge of the Trump era. And, anyone with a lick of sense can see that, when contrasted with our current Babbler-in-Chief, he is clearly the better choice. This, to me, is a self-evident truth.

I’ve been witnessing a lot of nasty attacks on Biden from Bernie supporters and various folks on the left of late, causing me to raise eyebrows and scratch my head. If only some of these people exerted the same amount of energy going after the real enemy, Donald Trump, we may be getting somewhere. But we wouldn’t be on the left if we weren’t in love with internecine warfare, now would we?

“Just the court issue alone warrants a vote for Joe, but he also represents a return to normalcy, and an end to the crazy.”

I’m not going to sputter and rant and slam my head against a virtual wall in an attempt to convince my Biden-despising friends to vote for him. I’ve said it once before and I’ll say it again — If you can’t vote for the man, then don’t. But, most Bernie supporters will come around, just as they did before, and even if some don’t, Biden will more than make up for lost ground among working class moderates. After all, most of those who spend time online ravaging Uncle Joe don’t vote anyway. His most vociferous opponents (on “our” side) tend to be youngish – the least committed sector of the electorate come voting day. And they wonder why the Democratic establishment largely ignores them.

I do however, have zero time for the “Biden and Trump are just the same” load of horseshit that is lamentably being repeated by too many in the echo-y halls of social media. Anyone who’s not high on glue or hasn’t been kicked in the head by a draft horse knows what a lazy, childish, bad faith argument this is. A Biden administration would be better than this hyper-corrupt, miasma of a regime by almost any metric. Yes, it will be another centrist government, but one run with competence. Biden’s not a narcissist, nor a pathological liar. He brings decades of experience, judgment, and knowledge. He will surround himself with experts, and defer to them on issues beyond his ken. He’ll repair the landmine wound that is the US’s relationship with our allies and invest in vital infrastructure. He’ll take steps forward to improve our health care and education systems, and most importantly, safeguard the Supreme Court. Do you really want a 7-2 arch-conservative supermajority for decades to come?

Just the court issue alone warrants a vote for Joe, but he also represents a return to normalcy, and an end to the crazy. Whatever your personal take may be, many people look back to the Obama years with nostalgia and admiration, and Biden will offer a continuation of this. A third term, really. Even Noam Chomsky recognizes this.

While unseating an incumbent president is always a challenge (hasn’t happened since ’92 and that was with a big third party spoiler), I really believe Biden can win this thing. The electoral map will likely break as it has for the past twenty years or so. Clinton lost in 2016 by taking the upper Midwest and Pennsylvania for granted, which narrowly went red as a result; Biden polls very well in this part of the country. He grew up in Pennsylvania and tends to connect with those working class voters who helped tip the scales in Trump’s direction last time around. Win back Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and that’s probably enough to hand him an EC victory. Trump can have Florida and Ohio.

“With a Biden presidency, there would be, if not a strongly sympathetic administration, at least one that can be reached, can be pressured. And that’s very important.”

— Noam Chomsky, Democracy Now, April 10, 2020

I think Joe Biden is greatly underestimated as a political powerhouse. Look no further than Super Tuesday to see what kind of resonance he holds with so many voters. Yes, there were other factors (party politics, fear of Sanders), but the bush league pundits were claiming to watch rigor mortis set into his campaign just days before.

The fact is Joe Biden carries very little or none of the baggage that followed around Hillary Clinton like an airborne toxic event. Rightly or wrongly, she was widely reviled, and still managed to win the popular vote by over three million votes. People tend to like Uncle Joe, and even if he doesn’t light a bonfire in the feels, he exudes a sense of empathy and a baseline of decency that resonates with much of the electorate. This is his secret weapon.

And look who he’s up against: an ignorant narcissist who lacks even trace elements of empathy or decency. This will offer up a stark choice, one that, after a four year hellmouth of lies and obscenity, could tilt Joe’s way.

The goal is to stop Trump. That’s it. Everything else is subservient to that simple directive: Stop Trump. The way we do this is by electing Joseph Biden as president come November.

Trump's Message on Public Health an Empty Sales Pitch

By Greg Dolezal

It’s too soon to know if the 38% or so Trump supporting Americans have any cognitive dissonance right now when it comes to trusting government, relying on experts, and adhering to draconian mandates restricting their behavior. More interesting will be observing how the Right wing media reacts after socialist solutions like sending cheques to everyone or increased unemployment insurance take effect – it’s more FDR than Reagan.

Americans, and indeed the world, are tuned into the news for information about COVID-19, the global pandemic that has already disrupted everything from the presidential primaries, large sporting and entertainment events, festivals, and holidays to school closings and working from home. This puts the spotlight on what constitutes a trusted source, which drives today’s culture war.

Apart from a few religious groups still holding worship services and those spring breakers in Florida, most people are adapting to the new reality reluctantly. If media reports are correct, social distancing and staying home are fast becoming the new normal.

Before the novel coronavirus came along it had been more than 300 days since the Trump administration held a press conference. Since large rallies are now out of the question, Trump needs more than just Twitter to do his campaign messaging. We see him daily, using his signature tone, selling the ‘winning and succeeding’ message, which is only slightly more popular than his ‘blame Obama for everything’ riff.

This kind of bluster and bombast on a campaign stop earns him laughs, likes, and votes. But, in a once in a lifetime public health emergency the only winners are the survivors.

That doesn’t stop DJT from doing it of course – especially when it comes to talking about remedies like vaccines, treatments, and much needed medical supplies and equipment. Although his own Surgeon General and the CDC both say a vaccine is a year or more away and that research into drug treatments is not verifiable, Trump overstates the positive and downplays the negative.

It’s desirable for a president to calm the populace and provide a hopeful vision, but upselling a false narrative has already had dire consequences.

Throughout January and February when other nations were already coping with the problem, the American president along with reliably Right wing Fox News, the highest rated news source in the US, were calling the virus a hoax to harm Trump’s chances at re-election. It was all about him and his brand, not about the public.

That never mattered to Trump devotees before when he was disgracing Gold Star parents, making perfect phone calls with Ukraine, or taking credit for Obama’s economic recovery, but does it now? Do they see his profane lack of curiosity and seriousness of purpose as a liability now that civilians – their own families – are in peril?

The only real measure of how MAGA survives this ‘wartime crisis’ will be in November, if that’s not postponed. Until then we can look at the polls which show a lopsided view of how the president is handling the crisis with highly concerned Democrats aligned with experts from government agencies and less concerned Republicans following the president’s assessment that everything is rosy, which are frequently at odds with health professionals and reality.

If Trump does keep his base in November it might be that enough people are buying his pitch. “No one could have predicted this” (his own agencies did back in October), “nothing like this has ever happened” (the 1919 Flu pandemic), “No one is doing a better job” (Korea, China, Vietnam), “We will have enough supplies and help is on the way” (there aren’t and it isn’t).

Information vital to our society about how to behave during a global pandemic is not something that can be spun. There are no competitors and the public are not consumers wandering around the car lot.

The way to inspire confidence is not using every PR and marketing gimmick in the book to make everything seem amazing. If Trump can’t stick to the facts this time there will be consequences whether he’s re-elected or not.

To the Sullen Sanders Supporters

By Greg Dolezal
Columnist & Publisher

For political Lefties of all stripes – liberals, progressives, and democratic socialists who are dismayed by the certainty of Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee, there is hope and a plan.

Elect like-minded candidates to Congress, state houses, local government, and even governorships.The Sanders campaign activated millions of supporters to policies like medicare for all, corporate accountability, and other civil society causes. It remains a grassroots success story even if it did not produce an electoral win for the candidate himself.

By not accepting PAC money or large corporate donors and relying on small dollar donations of everyday people, Sanders showed that however rare, a politician can be a representative of the people.

However, running for president every four to eight years and parachuting in from the top is deeply at odds with the long term viability of a grassroots movement.

To affect real change, a democratic socialist president would need allies at every level of government – local, state, and federal – in order to get an agenda passed.

There is plenty of disappointment to go around for those who ardently supported the likes of Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders this time around, but the path forward is clear – keeping running… for everything.

In the meanwhile, a Biden presidency would ensure that the courts would not move further to the extreme Right. Take solace in that. And keep fighting.