DISCLAIMER: This is an article written for POI UK. Due to it’s relevance to American politics, it was re-uploaded to POI US. Therefore, the perspectives are British and from British parties, not American like other POI US articles.
Democrats! You must stand FOR something, not just against Trump! – Labour Article
Before I get accused – by someone with #Drumpf or #NoMalarkey in their Twitter bio – of being some Kremlin Agent conniving to install Trump for life; No. I think Trump is a fascistic pile of garbage, and yes, I think people should vote for Biden. Had I the misfortune of having Trump as my President, I would certainly cast my vote against him.
My question, and worry, is will other Americans, particularly left-leaning Democrats, non-affiliated progressives, and other independents do the same? Is it actually possible to shame people into voting for Biden, and are his policies desirable enough for people to get out to vote, or in the case of this election, go to the postbox?
Recently, the Republicans put out an incredible document, professing that they really have no independent platform. Their goal is the re-election of Trump, and then to basically do whatever he commands. And those commands are a tad vague: more jobs, less China, stock market numbers go up. One esteemed policy is the teaching of “American Exceptionalism” in schools. It is at least nice to see someone codify what both sides have been acting upon for years. Basic Trump stuff. Saying the quiet bit out loud.
With this gaping hole of meaningful policy, I thought that the Democrats would have it easy. There’s a whole host of simple and popular slam dunks they can attach to the relatively conservative Biden-Harris ticket. Medicare for All, supported by 88% of Democrats and 69% of Americans; federal legalisation of marijuana, changes to policing, and actual climate action/ job creation with the Green New Deal.
Instead, Biden says he would veto Medicare for All, continue fracking, and his stance on the “anarchists” supposedly causing havoc in the BLM protests are reminiscent of Jim Crow Era accusations of “outside agitators”. Now he’s parroting a similar false equivalence narrative to what Trump used after Charlottesville. I have to say, I do feel sorry for the political philosophy umbrella that is Anarchism, they get a hard rap.
Back to policy; don’t expect any large publicly funded projects any time soon. Austerity is coming! All thanks to the deficit Trump has created. I don’t know why the Democrats are doing the Republican’s job for them; normally they get in office, then Republicans suddenly start to care about the deficit again. This time, the Dems are pushing ahead and folding their cards before they’ve even been dealt!
What the Biden campaign, and DNC in general, don’t seem to realise is that if Trump is a zero – and their entire platform is “We’re not Trump” – then they haven’t really gone anywhere. Negative zero is still zero. (Maths nerds, if I am wrong about this and negative zero is actually i or the inverse of something or another, please forgive me).
Obama recently said, in a pitch to get progressives aboard the Biden train, that “if you look at Joe Biden’s goals and Bernie Sanders goals, they’re not that different from a 40’000ft level.” My worry is that if you look from just 20 feet, Biden and Trump goals may not look different enough. When both sides are accusing each other of trying to defund the police, things may get a little hazy for someone not too interested in politics – a not-insignificant portion of Americans.
If the Democrats want to win, they need to stand up and deliver some good policy to differentiate themselves from Trump. Politics cannot just be policy, but nor can it be just personality. Try to think back and remember any of Hillary Clinton’s policies. If you can’t, be worried, because whilst this source is not verified, Biden’s team seems to be going for the same ‘values-based’ approach rather than amplifying some of the policy already in their platform.
Of course, polling tells me that I am completely wrong. At the current time, Biden is well ahead of Trump in all the necessary states. I would be comforted, but alas, my memory spans beyond the last three years. I’m sure that “[f]or every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.” Thanks, Chuck, I’ll keep that in mind.
Written by Guest Labour Writer, Daniel Orchard
Point of Information
A Two-Party system, what else did you expect? – a Conservative Response
Daniel writes a strong and compelling article about the lack of policy from both the Democrats and the Republicans in the run-up to the election. He is right, policies should be just as important as personality… but in a two-party system, what does he expect. I have written before about the problems of two-party politics in the UK, and in the US these same issues exist – if not worse.
Trump or Biden? Realistically the only two options to be President, I am not surprised to see their campaigns run the way they are; all one must do is convince voters that they are the better alternative. Therefore more may be required from Biden this time round.
Unfortunately, I fear that Biden may be relying too heavily on convincing voters he is better than Trump. But convincing voters that he is better than Trump is not enough, they must be motivated enough to turn up to the ballot box to vote… Otherwise, Trump will walk back into the White House for another 4 years.
I don’t blame the Democrats for their strategy, I just wish that policy remained a key part in elections for both parties.
Only time will tell if Biden’s campaign will have done enough by being Anti-Trump. I can only hope that they will. For the social change that must take place in America to happen, it must start from the top. The stakes have never been so high, another 4 years of Trump could push back the fight for equality once more.
Written by Chief Conservative Writer, Fletcher Kipps
Stalemate caused by divided Democrats – a Liberal Response
Daniel writes a fantastic article as always and hits the nail on the head: Biden doesn’t stand for anything! Other than standing against Trump, his policies are somewhat lacklustre. I share Daniel’s empathy and frustration. However, I am almost disappointed that he doesn’t connect the dots as to why this is the case!
Winning this election is everything for the Democrats. Yet the Democratic presidential primaries showed growing divisions in the party. A new ideology is coming through and creating significant friction. Sanders, Warren, and especially Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are not exactly cut from the same cloth as Pelosi, Harris, and Biden. There are some very real divisions between these old and new Democrats.
Perhaps this was best shown by the experienced Ed Markey being challenged by the fresh-faced Kennedy, during the Democratic senate primary, on Tuesday evening. Markey was supported by Warren and AOC while Kennedy was supported by Pelosi. It was, in places, a nasty and unnecessary fight. But what it laid bare were divisions within the Democrats, before Massachusetts sided with their old-time warhorse Markey.
As the Washington Post puts it; ‘do voters want an old dog with new tricks? Or new blood with old money?‘
That is why the Democrats lack any solid plan. If they tried to figure one out, in-fighting would start, and they cannot afford that. This wouldn’t be just limited to party leaders; division would spread to voters – which the Democrats cannot afford to lose. One thing they all agree on is beating Trump. That is why I think Biden is being broad; to stop fighting within the party and take Trump head-on.
But I wonder, does this broad program make it easier to fight Trump? Democrats only need to sit and point out Trump’s flaws. With no outrageous policies, it takes away the right’s best power: attack. Unable to attack any policies, they are forced to play defence, which usually doesn’t end well.
However, like Daniel, I do not think this is exactly a calming tactic.
Written by Senior Liberal Writer, Max Anderson