By Cahal Sweeney
Most Democrats, liberals and progressives in the United States in early 2021 are more likely than not scratching their head trying to mentally comprehend why they are seeing President Trump being sworn-in for the second time on Capitol Hill. The grim answer is that they only have themselves and in particular the DNC to blame. The difficult start to the Trump Presidency in its first term should have been ripe for any savvy Democrat to wipe the floor with President Trump. And yet it didn’t happen. Nobody stepped up to capitalise on what should have been the end of the GOP.
There was no promised replacement for the Affordable Care Act, no wall materialised on the Mexican border for obvious lack of reimbursement for the project, and the threat of terror and poverty hadn’t changed at all. By August of 2017 the White House was being led by a President whose entire campaign platform had become fiction. Yet no Democrat called him out on it, no Article(s) of Impeachment was drafted, and the House democrats hid comfortably behind their constant excuse of being the minority.
Employment steadily increased and GDP rose by three percent in the first year. Never mind that most of the jobs were low-paid service positions requiring little to no skills or qualifications. Never mind that the federal minimum wage decreased to just over $5 in 2018. Never mind that unions were tacitly banned in most workplaces, and that they lacked any significant lobbying power anyway. Never mind that the President had essentially bribed multi-billion dollar corporations with breaks on his 15% corporation tax rate to create the employment, while simultaneously putting small to medium sized enterprises out of business. Despite the standard of living dropping to a low akin to the Great Depression, jobs were coming back and Trump was quick to claim credit for every single one of them.
The midterms in 2018 proved to be the beginning of the DNC collapse. President Trump’s “Twitter Politics” took over as they had in 2016 election. Democrats were reduced to “Communists” and “Anti-American” simply for being blue and not red. Even Republicans faced the wrath of their own monster, as then-Speaker Paul Ryan realised belatedly when Trump endorsed his rival Republican in the primary. Opposition to the new GOP would see the rest of the old Republicans soon replaced by more radical, Tea Party right-wingers who in Trump saw the President that would truly “Make America Great Again”.
The United States in 2020 was a dystopian reminder of the evils of Capitalism and far right-wing government. The Muslim-Ban was extended to forced removals and repatriations from the United States brought on by a terrorist attack on O’Hare Airport in Chicago, and followed by an almost unanimous vote in the House. The standard of living dropped so drastically that 1 in ever 3 children would be born into poverty in 2020. The glimmer of hope for American’s was Elizabeth Warren announcing her bid for the Presidency in early 2019 The Progressive wing of the Democrats, initiated in 2016 by Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the Democratic nomination, vigorously applauded Warren.
However, the more conservative side of the Democrats, mostly driven by Wall Street donors, were alienated and demanded a more traditional alternative to face Trump. Larry Page, co-founder of Google announced his intention to seek the nomination a mere two weeks before the Iowa Caucuses. Similar to what happened in 2016, the Democrats began their infighting, with states in the Democratic primary splitting equally between Warren and Page. By the time of the Democratic Convention, 76% of Trump’s tweets were mocking the sinking ship that was the Democratic Party. And in the election campaign that followed the unopposed GOP candidate Trump made easy pickings of the Democratic Nominee Page. The Democratic Convention was the filthiest in over half a century, with a vast number of super-delegates flipping to Page on the convention floor.
Page feebly attempted to latch on to Trump’s business style of reality show campaigning but was no match for the hardened veteran. “If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em” had failed for the Democrats. The only presidential debate of the campaign is still remembered for Page attempting to point out his hiring policies as being as successful at Google as they would be in his cabinet. Attempting to appeal to the liberal base he highlighted Google’s diversity which was quickly shut down by Trump’s hiring policy of actively discriminated against ‘stupid people, or people who aren’t going to work hard.’ With 50% of Democratic Warranites abstaining, the remaining 50% could do little once again cede the election to the silent majority between the coasts whowontheir second term, this time both in the Electoral College and the popular vote. As had happened many times before, the consolidated right triumphed over the petty left.
The Democratic Party is set to remain in turmoil with little chance of a comeback in 2022’s midterm elections, not least because the GOP will redraw the Congressional districts later this year. President Trump frequently holds rallies in state capitals attended by tens of thousands, with a strong grassroots movement in place calling for the repeal of Twenty-Second Amendment. The First Amendment is still in place of course, Americans are as free to speak their minds as ever— if they can stomach seeing their social media pages fill up with obscene and hateful abuse from the pro-Trump armies which police the internet. CNN and the Washington Post were bought out by foreign investors and are currently based in Eastern Europe. Structural criticism of the president is becoming a controversial concept. This change may be totalitarian and fascistic, or it may be a great example of national unity and pride; the latter interpretation offered (and strongly praised) by President Vladimir Putin on a state visit in January 2020.
Very few seem to have an appetite for discovering where everything went wrong. Young people have become increasingly indifferent and dispassionate about politics. Popular histories discussing the rise of nationalist politics abound, but they are always slanted in favour of the likes of Trump. The historical community usually places the watershed moment in late 2016 or early 2017. The consensus is that huge amounts of research on populism, on dictatorship, on political violence, on liberalism or lack thereof still remain to be done, but where is the incentive? After all, in a brave new world of previously failed countries which have become great again, why would anyone be the only conservative?
Originally published 1.12.17 in Vol. 1 No. 1.