If Trump Wins, Don’t Blame Progressives. This Is on You, Centrists.

Biden denies he's 'hiding,' defends staying off campaign trail in ...

            The corporate conservatives who control the Democratic Party are suffering from cheaters’ remorse.

The DNC and their media allies (NPR, CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, Vox, etc.) subverted the will of primary voters, undermining initial frontrunner Bernie Sanders in order to install the worst candidate of the 20 centrists in the campaign.

Now the power brokers are worried that the befuddled Biden, whom they touted as the Most Electable Against Donald Trump, will lose to him. Rather than take responsibility for their idiocy and force Biden to pull out of a race for which he is obviously physically and mentally unprepared, the corporatist sellouts are preemptively blaming the progressives who warned them about this exact scenario.

Sorry, right wingers. Biden is on you. You made him the presumptive nominee. If Trump wins again, it’s your fault.

Just as it was last time.

Establishment panic over Biden is most palpable in the pages of the official party organ of the Democratic Party, the Times. “While [Biden] has held consistent leads in most national and swing-state polls, they have not been altogether comfortable ones,” the paper noted on May 15th.

If Biden is to squeak by Trump in November, he requires a comfortable lead now. “A CNN poll released on Wednesday found Mr. Biden leading the president by five percentage points nationwide, but trailing by seven points among voters in crucial battleground states…for some Democrats, the results of the CNN poll again raised the specter that Mr. Biden could win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College, as Hillary Clinton and Al Gore both did.”

            Historically, in May of a presidential election year Democrats need a lead of at least 10 points over their Republican rival in order to prevail in a general election. Republicans always close the gap during the last six months of a presidential race.

            The Times is pushing Biden’s candidacy via two lines of argument. First, lesser-evilism. As columnist Frank Bruni wrote May 17th, he’ll “take Biden’s confusion over Trump’s corruption.” (Of course Biden is corrupt too.) Second, they claim, Biden should be acceptable. He isn’t Hillary Clinton. Due to the coronavirus crisis, Bidenites say, their man is willing to pivot to the left. (Never mind that progressive programs need to be in place before a crisis, not ramping up a year after it begins.)

            The second argument is the easiest to shoot down. Biden has a decades-long track record of voting and governing to the right, including voting to invade Iraq for no good reason. Even now, as tens of millions of Americans lose their jobs and thus their health insurance, Biden refuses to join the rest of the industrialized world by endorsing single-payer healthcare. Progressives don’t trust Biden. They trust history. History proves Biden isn’t one of them.

            Bruni’s argument involves magical thinking too. “At the end of the day, Biden can be trusted to do what Trump didn’t and won’t: stock his administration with qualified professionals. He could compensate for any supposed cognitive deficit with a surplus of talent,” Bruni says. There is no evidence, none, zero, zip, that this is true. Biden could validate that argument by announcing his cabinet nominations now. But he’s not.

            Biden leaves progressive voters cold. That matters because the enthusiasm gap could decide the election. “Trump had a consistent edge over Hillary Clinton in enthusiasm [in 2016],” reported CNN’s Harry Enten. “His voters were 4 points more likely to say they were very enthusiastic in voting for him than Clinton’s were for her in the final ABC News/Washington Post poll, even as Clinton led overall. That enthusiasm advantage should have been one of the warning signals to the Clinton campaign. Trump’s current edge in enthusiasm over Biden is even larger. In a late March ABC News/Washington Post poll, 53% of Trump backers said they were very enthusiastic about voting for him. Just 24% of Biden backers said the same about their guy.”

            If anything, the enthusiasm gap might widen as billions of dollars of stimulus payment letters bearing Trump’s signature hit voters’ bank accounts and he wraps himself in the trappings of the presidency while Biden sits in his basement trying to figure out how to use his computer camera. If I were Trump, I’d be planning my second term.

            Let’s not forget how we got here.

            When Bernie Sanders announced he was running again, Democratic-aligned media outlets said he was too old. “Mr. Sanders would be 79 when he assumed office, and after an October heart attack, his health is a serious concern,” the Times said in its absurd editorial joint endorsement of Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren.

            Then, when Bernie emerged as frontrunner for the nomination, corporate media presented him as an existential threat. Head-to-head polls showed he was at least as electable as his rivals, yet “journalistic” organizations stated, without evidence, that a left-wing Democrat couldn’t beat Trump. Headlines proliferated:

Can Bernie Be Stopped?”

Bernie Sanders Can Still Be Stopped.

The Stop Sanders Movement Has Gone Public.”

CNN even compared Sanders to the coronavirus.

Remember all those “Can Obama Be Stopped?” headlines from the 2008 primaries. Me neither. When it came to Bernie, pseudo-liberal media didn’t pretend to be objective.

The DNC went after him like crazy.

Bernie Sanders won the key Iowa caucus but Democratic vote-counting chicanery cheated him out of the PR for his win. Party insiders believe that Barack Obama personally arranged for Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg to endorse Joe Biden the day before Super Tuesday. Speaking of which, Sanders won California, the biggest state—but the vote count mysteriously took days, denying him a big headline and an accurately optimistic delegate count in media coverage.

They’re still at it. At this writing party leaders are trying to prevent an embarrassing protest vote against Joe Biden in New York by fighting in court for the right to delete Bernie Sanders from the state’s mail-in primary ballots.

A Times headline from February 20th proved prescient: “Democratic Leaders Willing to Risk Party Damage to Stop Bernie Sanders.”

They got what they wanted.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of the biography “Bernie,” updated and expanded for 2020. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

8 thoughts on “If Trump Wins, Don’t Blame Progressives. This Is on You, Centrists.

  1. Ditto everything you said, Ted.
    More simplistically: Look at where Biden is, relative to Trump. And then realize that we are in the middle of a two-month-long lockdown, with the economy in freefall heading toward a god-please-let-it-happen soft landing of only 30% or so unemployed.
    But wait! There’s more! Not only that, but it’s Donald Trump, who is even more loathsome to the left than War Criminal Hillary Clinton is to the right that Joe Biden is running against.
    Has everyone got that?! Biden is up against an utterly reviled buffoon who is in charge of the country in the middle of, literally, the worst economic downturn in American history.
    And it’s a frickin’ coin-toss as to whom whill whin.
    Absolutely, Ted. Biden’s gonna lose. And it’s all on the dnc and the dems.

  2. Democratic Leaders Willing to Risk Party Damage to Stop Bernie Sanders

    You – and the New York Times nailed it, Ted – but don’t get too puffed up – given that Mr Sanders represented a far greater threat to the interests of those who control the Democratic Party than Mr Trump ever did, what their choice would be if push come to shove was obvious from the beginning. We’ll see how it all pays out on 3 November….

    Henri

  3. I figure Biden is sure to get a plurality of the vote, but the College is 50/50. Incumbents almost always lose if there’s a recession on when the election takes place, and right now we’re in a Depression. Trump is doing all he can to get the economy re-started, but he’s not having much luck. And the establishment media blame Trump for every single reported CoViD-19 death, and for the Depression.
    And I figure that, while Trump is terrible, Biden is, at best, just as bad, and probably worse.

    • I did the math. Right now, if I had the spare money to do it, I’d bet that Trump wins with under 10 Electoral College votes. Those 30% of the workforce who just got tossed? The dems are gonna lose a huge chunk of them to indifference/anger/despair. The Independents? I can’t see them showing up either. We may all end up drinking bleach. Not to cure anything, but to kill ourselves.

    • «And I figure that, while Trump is terrible, Biden is, at best, just as bad, and probably worse.» But you see, Michael, both the depression and the pandemic are all the fault of the nefarious Chinese, who no doubt will be defeated roundly on 3 November…. 😉

      Henir

  4. We have to come to terms with the situation of our political system. 3rd party insurgencies don’t go anywhere. Both parties have a lock on how they are run. Back in 1912 Teddy Roosevelt launched the Progressive Party which split up the Republican vote, which ended up giving presidency to Wilson.
    Perhaps we have Ross Perot to thank for Bill Clinton being elected president…I say we have to organize politically through local channels. The only way to change the electorate is slowly at the local level, we can’t expect leftists to claim the presidency in lieu of local organizing…which changes peoples’ minds when they see leftists get shit done.

  5. Listening to interview with historian Jon Meacham. He said Trump wants to take us back to 1955, while Biden wants to take us back to 1965. He prefers 1965, but really, this is not much progress is it?

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