Rather than get into an argument about the term “neo—liberal” I will just remark that I was alluding to a statement made by Joe Biden to a group of wealthy donors on June 19, 2019: “The truth of the matter is, you all, you all know, you all know in your gut what has to be done. We can disagree in the margins but the truth of the matter is it’s all within our wheelhouse and nobody has to be punished. No one’s standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change.”
Instead, I would like to spend a little time today talking about what I imagine will happen if, as I hope and pray, the Democrats win the White House and the Senate and hold the House in November. Until that time, all of us must do everything we can in our own way to bring that victory about but if Biden is elected president, what is he likely to do?
I think it is very probable that he will declare that in order to meet the challenge of the virus and of the economic devastation it has caused and in order at the same time to restore the norms of American democracy, he proposes to create a Government of National Unity. He will then appoint prominent anti-Trump Republicans to important positions in his cabinet and seek to mollify the left wing of the Democratic Party with a number of high profile proposals that do not in any serious way challenge the interests of Wall Street.
I would not view this as a betrayal. Quite to the contrary. It is exactly what everybody thought they would get when they supported him for the nomination and, what is more, it is the politically rational thing for him to do. Let me explain how I think things are likely to play out in the event of a Democratic sweep.
Trump will not go quietly, as I think everyone recognizes. I am not talking about whether he will get out of the White House – that is a red herring. He will go because he has no backing in the military to undo the results of the election and establish him as dictator. But after he goes, he will continue to be a major presence in American politics, mobilizing and weaponizing the 25 or 30% of the population that are his diehard supporters. His primary target will not be the Democrats but rather the Republicans. He will accuse the so-called never – Trumpers of betrayal, and he will focus his most virulent attacks on Republicans like Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, and Nikki Haley who did not break with him during the campaign but, as soon as he has lost, start to claim that they can’t remember who he is and never supported him. This is going to create enormous strategic problems for the Republicans, problems that it will be in Joe Biden’s political interest to exacerbate by trying to stake out a position that welcomes into the Democratic Party a sizable portion of natural Republican voters.
The day after the election, an election in which we have done everything we possibly can to secure Biden’s victory, we will have to turn on a dime and start working as hard as we can to elect House members and Senators as far to the left as we can manage, and to elect as well governors and state legislators who are genuinely progressive. If we have any hope of translating our hopes and desires into legislation, we are somehow going to have to rebuild the multiracial coalition of workers and middle-class professionals that gave Roosevelt and the New Deal such power in the 30s and that continued to be the backbone of the Democratic Party until the 70s or 80s.
Because I am a natural optimist, ever alert to the sight of a dove with a twig in its mouth, I will confess that I take great hope from the actions in the past few days of the professional basketball players and those following their lead in baseball and hockey.
Now I will check into this website, as I do every day, and see what the latest polls have brought us.