Monday, 22 June 2020

Our Most Important Election

There are lots of things we don’t know yet about November’s presidential election.

Still, I have little doubt this will be the most brutal confrontation since the 1828 battle between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.

In that sordid rematch accusations of murder, adultery, bribery, and prostitution were tossed around like confetti.

Like many New Yorkers I’ve often found it hard to take President Trump seriously. 

How bad could his reign of chaos be - he inherited a dynamic economy, unemployment was down, the stock market up, and despite his bellicosity, veiled racism and xenophobia he had no plans to invade Canada, or marry Madonna. 

There was always the niggling fear that eventually he would face a major crisis. Unfortunately, that’s what has happened. His luck - and ours - ran out.

His reliance on his own “instincts” and refusal to takeCovid-19 seriously has cost a multitude of lives and our economic health. Time and history will show that he was just not up to the job. Whose fault is it?  Ours – we elected him!

However, with a burgeoning deficit and trillions more needed to salvage the economy, the time for amateurs is over. President Trump has neither the skills nor the temperament to lead us in 2021.

By then we’ll be in debt up to our eyebrows. Any kind of meaningful jump in interest rates could wreck our economic system once and for all.

The one thing we can be certain of when we do emerge from this crisis – income inequality will have increased - the rich will be much richer and the poor infinitely poorer.

How did we get into this situation? Well, who could have foretold that Hillary Clinton would make such a spectacularly bad candidate?

Not I! And yet I voted for her even after I swore I’d never vote for anyone who voted for the War in Iraq.

And now I’m about to vote for another candidate who made a similar deal with the devil, Vice President Joseph Biden. But I’ll do it gladly because I don’t want to give President Trump the opportunity to use his considerable expertise in bankruptcy laws on behalf of our great nation.

Joe Biden is a decent man but I tremble at the thought of him going mano a mano with Donald Trump in a presidential debate.  Not that the president is such a good debater but he is deft communicator and reality star who knows that elections often swing on a glib phrase. 

Remember, “Where’s the beef.” Walter Mondale never forgot it. Let’s not even talk about, “Lock her up!”

Mr. Biden needs your vote if you want this country to in any way still resemble that shining city upon a hill that the Pilgrims rhapsodized and so many of us admired.

He also needs an African-American running mate who can really turn out her people – the backbone of the Democratic Party - to vote despite their ongoing oppression and the disproportionate pain they have suffered from Covid-19.

Mr. Biden also needs to fully employ his Democratic primary opponents in the coming brutal campaign.  
Bernie, Buttigieg, Warren, Klobuchar, et al are all people of talent and drive – each with their own particular constituencies.

There’s not one of them who couldn’t excel in a cabinet position in the manner of President Lincoln‘s “team of rivals.”

But most of all he needs a platform that will strengthen our economic system so that we’re not subject to economic upheaval every decade. At the very least access to a Medicare-like Public Option, and an end to corporate stock buybacks allied with some form of worker representation on corporate boards.

President Trump will not go gently into that good night. He will not be above contesting November’s results in the courts, while on the streets he has those “very fine” people who paraded through Charlottesville to raise hell.

This cannot be a close election. Mr. Trump needs a substantial electoral defeat that will send him home to Mar-a-Lago where he can write his memoirs in pithy Twitter installments.

Vice President Biden is far from a dream candidate but we need his steady hand to guide us through the greatest challenge the country has faced since the Civil War.

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