No one is working harder to get Donald Trump back into the White House than the leadership of the Democratic Party.
Preventing Trump from winning the 2024 elections would seem to be a top priority for progressives, trade unionists and others in the US. And yet at the moment, the ‘moderates’ in the Democratic Party, the ones who opposed Bernie Sanders in 2016 and 2020, are working overtime to come up with crazy ideas that would guarantee Trump’s re-election.
Two news stories from last week illustrate this.
First, veteran New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who often writes about the Middle East, drew comparisons between Israeli politics and American politics. Friedman is convinced that only an alliance of the far Right and pretty much everyone else could have brought an end to the Netanyahu era. Anyone familiar with Israeli politics will understand how completely wrong this analysis is. But far worse was Friedman’s suggestion of how to prevent a return of Trump.
In his view, Joe Biden should run for re-election with Liz Cheney as his vice-president. That’s the same Liz Cheney who is, and always has been, a right-wing Republican. The same Liz Cheney who showed up with her father, the vile Dick Cheney, architect of the Iraq war, at a recent event in Congress. The Democrats are fawning over the Cheneys because unlike pretty much every other Republican politician, they don’t get along with Trump. But their brand of Republican politics has almost no support in America these days.
Second, shortly after Friedman’s column appeared, the news media in the US was buzzing with reports that the Clintons were showing an interest in returning to national politics. Their supporters, including pollster Mark Penn, appeared on Fox News and elsewhere arguing that a “rematch” in 2024 between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would be the best thing ever.
Apparently no one has informed these folks that Mrs. Clinton lost to Trump, just as she lost eight years earlier in the Democratic primary battle with Barak Obama.
The proponents of a “rematch” involving Hillary Clinton and those advocating the creation of a “Biden/Cheney” ticket are both responding to a dismal political landscape in the US today.
There is every reason to believe that the Democrats will lose control of both houses of Congress in the mid-term elections later this year. Trump will almost certainly be the Republican nominee and is likely to defeat Biden in 2024. The one part of the federal government still in Trumpian hands — the Supreme Court — is doing what it can to undermine Biden’s policies.
The “moderate” Joe Biden was supposed to be the great conciliator, the man who’d bridge the partisan divide in Washington and get things done. Things didn’t work out that way.
Meanwhile, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party seems to be rudder-less. Bernie Sanders will be 83 years old on Election Day in 2024 and is unlikely to want to run again. The other democratic socialist with a national profile, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, will turn 35 just before the election, making her eligible under the Constitution — but she’s still seen as too young and inexperienced by many.
The unions, with a few notable exceptions, did not rally behind the Sanders campaigns. In some cases, usually without consulting their members, unions supported Clinton and other candidates of the Democratic right. Despite Biden’s failure to enact the one bit of legislation that unions desperately need — the PRO Act, which would make it much easier to organise workers — unions remain loyal to Biden, just as they were to Obama and Bill Clinton, though neither of them bothered with workers’ rights issues either.
Despite an increase in the number of strikes, and some interesting organising wins at Starbucks and elsewhere, the kind of spectacular growth unions saw under Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930’s is not being repeated under Biden. Unions continue to decline in members and influence, including influence inside the Democratic Party.
Everyone knows that running Biden and Kamala Harris is a guarantee of defeat. The Democratic “moderates” are coming up with crazy ideas instead. The progressives and trade unionists seem to have little to say.
At the moment, it feels as if a second Trump term is increasingly inevitable.
This article appeared today in Solidarity.