If Trump Leaned Left, Democrats Would Love Him Too

            If you don’t understand your enemy and their motivations, Sun Tzu counseled, victory will elude you. Part of the reason Biden’s polls are so awful is that Democrats and their supporters don’t have a clue about what is driving Trump and his MAGA movement.

            The answer would shock many of them. Republican voters want the same thing as Democrats: a warrior. Republicans don’t much care whether their president or senator or congressman is a decent or law-abiding individual. They just want him to vote for the bills they agree with, and to push like hell to turn them into law.

            Evangelical Christians, the bedrock of the GOP base, embodies this seeming paradox. “It is odd,” The New Statesman muses, “to see a man who embodies so many sins—including all seven deadly ones; is there anyone who better exemplifies a noxious combination of pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth?—be so widely embraced by the religious Right. This is a politician who has no home church and can’t name his favorite Bible verse.” White evangelicals went 84% for Trump in 2020, up from 77% in 2016 according to the Pew poll.

            And from their perspective, it paid off. Trump’s Supreme Court appointees, a trio of hard-core right-wingers, are why Roe v. Wade and the federal right to an abortion are no more.

            If they thought about it, Democrats would realize it’s not odd at all.

            Recently I noticed a photo I have of myself with the late Ted Kennedy, liberal lion of the U.S. Senate and perennial candidate for president. Kennedy’s personal life, particularly vis-à-vis women, was deplorable. I knew, everyone knew, about that when I went to work for his primary campaign against Jimmy Carter in 1980 and then when he tried again in 1984, and yet again when I met him at the ceremony where I received the RFK Journalism Award.

I didn’t care.

            I wouldn’t let my daughter catch a ride in Kennedy’s black Oldsmobile. So what? What mattered to me was not what he did as a private individual but how he voted and championed liberal values.

            Many women felt like that. “If you are sympathetic to Kennedy and his politics, Newsweek observed when Kennedy died in 2009, you were “willing to measure the benefits that Kennedy brought to countless people through his politics, and give them proper weight on the scales of the man’s record.”

            In 2004, when antiwar leftists and progressives disgusted by the then-popular Cult of George W. Bush and his lie-based invasion of Iraq were at their most desperate for a champion to walk tall, consequences be damned, Kennedy stood head and shoulders above his fellow Democrats. We thrilled as he dared to unleash his outrage against a GOP that hadn’t faced serious criticism since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

            “Iraq is George Bush’s Vietnam,” Kennedy said in one of his many famous speeches. “Truth is the first casualty of policy” when it came to Bush, he thundered. “This is the pattern and the record of the Bush administration [on] Iraq, jobs, Medicare, schools, issue after issue—mislead, deceive, make up the needed facts, smear the character of any critics. Again and again, we see this cynical, despicable strategy playing out.”

            Mitch McConnell (R-KY), then the Senate Majority Whip, blasted Kennedy as “vicious” and “outrageous.”

It is, however, no coincidence that Kennedy’s favorability polls peaked in 2004.

Liberals could sure use a warrior like Kennedy now.

If you can, try to imagine a Joe Biden with many of the same qualities and flaws of men like Ted Kennedy and Donald Trump. Let’s say that we knew for a fact that he repeatedly crept out on Jill with, among other people, a porn star. That he cheated people who worked for him. That he issued truly disgusting utterances, some of it racist. But that he was also indefatigably determined to push forward a far-left agenda whether or not the establishment was ready for it—socialized healthcare, free college, much higher minimum wage, legalized abortion at the federal level.

If you are tired of a Democratic Party that constantly seems to sell itself cheap to the Republicans, you might vote for that kind of Joe Biden.

Alternatively, what if Trump were the same exact person, but a warrior for the Left? Admit it—progressives would love him.

Of course, the real Joe Biden is not that different than the theoretical Joe “Mr. Hyde” Biden I just described—the bad part, anyway. A former Capitol Hill staffer accused Biden of sexual assault. So did other women. Like Trump, Biden credibly stands accused of corrupt business dealings. He launched his political career by defending segregated schools, engineered a racist crime bill that sent two generations of young Black men to prison for minor crimes and made numerous racist remarks.

Sadly, Biden isn’t enough of a warrior to justify turning a blind eye to his negatives. If he were, the extreme-right government of Israel would have to look somewhere else for the tens of billions of taxdollars Biden is sending them to help slaughter the Palestinians.

Even so, tens of millions of Democratic voters will do just that this November. Like the Trumpies, the Bidenites are overlooking their candidate’s flaws, not least of which is his alarming mental decline. Surely liberals should be able to see that, in this respect, they are exactly the same as the Republicans. But of course there is a difference. Unlike the Republicans who ignore Trump’s failings, Democrats who put their consciences on silent mode in order to vote for Biden are doing so without any indication that they will ever get anything back in return.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, co-hosts the left-vs-right DMZ America podcast with fellow cartoonist Scott Stantis. His latest book, brand-new right now, is the graphic novel 2024: Revisited.)

1 Comment. Leave new

  • alex_the_tired
    May 30, 2024 9:44 AM

    People prefer leadership qualities in a leader. Trump is often wrong but never uncertain. When Biden forcefully believes something? He reads it forcefully off a teleprompter. “Read my pause for effect laps … I mean lips.”

    The focus on Trump is paralogical. Sure, it’s correct, but it doesn’t affect the fundamentals that are dooming Biden. Back in 2020, Biden won by the skin of his teeth. 22,000 voters changing their minds from Biden to Trump would have handed the win to Trump. The left never admitted/still doesn’t admit that Biden was never a strong candidate.

    I’m waiting for a hung jury or for them to find Trump not guilty. But even if he’s found guilty, he’s already covered it: Mother Teresa couldn’t beat this crooked court. Kicking Trump isn’t going to keep Biden in the White House. He has NO actual accomplishments to trade on. And this student loan holder has no intention of voting for him. Why? His great environmentalism (cough, cough Willow project, cough, cough, we’re pumping more oil now than ever before)? His brilliant withdrawal from Afghanistan? How he stood there like a great big pudding while Roe v. Wade got two in the face and a closed casket?

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