It’s that time again. Even though it feels as if the 2020 Presidential election has already been going on forever, we’re a few months away from the Democratic Party primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire. Young, left-wing activists are solidly behind Bernie Sanders, who appears to have taken the lead in New Hampshire. Affluent, middle-aged liberals are shopping around for a standard bearer to replace Hillary Clinton. With the implosion of Kamala Harris, and the rapidly fading campaign of Elizabeth Warren, they’ve settle on Pete Buttigieg, the young, polylingual mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Not only is he surging in Iowa, but he is also polling as a strong fourth place contender in New Hampshire.
All of this, of course, ignores the elephant in the room, namely Vice President Joseph Biden, who arrived in Washington in 1972 as a 29-year-old Senator elect, and who has a commanding lead in the South Carolina primary and among older, black voters in the south. While Sanders, along with Andrew Yang, has shown a formidable ability to raise funds over the Internet, the odds of his being able to secure the Democratic nomination seem daunting. Not only will rich Boomers easily shift their loyalty over to Joe Biden after Pete Buttigieg’s campaign inevitably flickers out, the institutional constraints the Democratic Party elite set up after the disastrous Democratic Party Convention in 1968 and George McGovern’s crushing loss in 1972 remain in place. There’s a reason small, conservative states like Iowa and South Carolina, where the Democratic nominee has little chance of winning the general election, so outweigh states like Massachusetts and California, to prevent another George McGovern, another leftist, from getting the nomination.
While leftists correctly point out that both the Democratic and Republican parties are designed to protect, not the American people, but the ruling class and the big corporations, they miss one important difference. The Democratic Party is schizophrenic. The Republican Party is not. The Republican Party primaries are also far more democratic than the Democratic Party primaries. If Donald Trump was able to defeat the ruling class Jeb Bush and the mainstream media darling Marco Rubio in 2016, it was largely because the Republican Party elite doesn’t fear their own rank and file.
Republican Party voters are uniformly pro-business, socially conservative, and pro-military. The Republican Party is basically one big happy Klan meeting. The guy wearing the cheapest set of sheets from Walmart believes pretty much the same things as the guy who buys his white robes from Lord and Taylor. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, looks a bit more like the British Raj. It’s a tiny right-wing elite ruling over a much larger, and much more left-wing rank and file. The Republican billionaire on Wall Street doesn’t sit up at night worrying that the yokel in the trailer park with his “freedom isn’t free” sticker on his 20-year-old Ford F-150 is suddenly going to decide that we should spend more money helping single mother in Flint Michigan than killing people in the Middle East. Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, on the other hand, have to walk a fine line between their wealthy donors and those young Bernie Sanders supporters stocking up on pitchforks and torches and sharpening the guillotines. It’s part of the reason elite liberals put so much emphasis on identity politics. Declaring your pronouns, calling for more diversity in Marvel comic book and Disney movies, or voting for the first black President are things that will appeal to millionaires as well as people working a double shift in an Amazon warehouse. Demanding a higher minimum wage, on the other hand, or Medicare for All threatens to take money and power away from people like the man who owns both that Amazon warehouse and the Washington Post, Jeff Bezos.
Joe Biden, therefore, is already starting to look Presidential. It doesn’t matter if he’s a long time supporter of white supremacists like Strom Thurmond, if he humiliated Anita Hill — see anything about that on MSNBC lately — or if he opposed busing in the 1970s, if he wins the Democratic nomination and winds up beating Donald Trump, he will keep the Democratic Party rank and file in line. He will stop Medicare for All. He will continue to fund the military industrial complex, and more likely than not violently ratchet up tensions with Russia and China. Vote Blue no Matter Who, even if he’s an obviously senile old reactionary. Plan on hearing that a lot in the coming year. What’s more, the Republican Party elites are unlikely to object to the coming “grand bargain” between Biden, Pelosi, and Mitch McConnell designed to cut social security and other “entitlements.” Hell, it’s what they want anyway. Why not let the Democrats take the blame for it?
Will I be voting blue no matter who? Will I vote for Biden over Trump? Ah, who knows. But since I live in a deeply blue state where the Republicans haven’t won since 1988, my vote doesn’t count anyway so I’ll probably just do what I did in 2016. I’ll vote for the Workers World Party. The first vote I ever cast was in 1984 for Mondale and Ferraro. I still regret not having voted for Gus Hall and Angela Davis.