The times are not good, and any political, social or economic agenda of a beginning President must be subject to the dictates of confronting the COVID-19 pandemic plus the vicissitudes of a very complicated Trumpian legacy
Posted: Saturday 02 January 2021 | 06:10:07 pm.
By Juana Carrasco Martin
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Allan Lichtman, professor of history at American University, was also not wrong in predicting the winner of the 2020 presidential election. His record of accurate predictions, which dates back to 1984, remained intact.
The clues worked, which he explained in an interview with The Morning Show on Wisconsin Public Radio, why they were giving Joe Biden the victory even though he was not charismatic, and which then made him state categorically in an opinion piece in The New York Times in early August that “The clues predict that Trump will lose the White House:
The terrible numbers of the coronavirus pandemic, the national movement of protest against police brutality and systematic racism, the social unrest and economic collapse that erased the economic gains Donald Trump was presenting until the
Covid-19 appeared on the scene.
To tell the truth, Trumpism and its mishandling of the unexpected situation of this fateful 2020 and its aftermath, defeated the tycoon who administered the United States for four years as if it were an enormous capitalist monopoly, and not the imperial representative of big business that must follow the rules of the game because it is a showcase of democracy.
Without a doubt, the pandemic is rising as the giant to be faced by the elected president, although he already has the weaponry of the vaccine. A population of more than 300 million inhabitants is not immunized -what remains to be seen effectively- in a flash, therefore the numbers of those infected and killed and their consequent involvement in the country’s economy will continue to grow.
Without a doubt, the first months of Joe Biden’s administration will be torturous, and he does not have a Congress in which the Democrats, while retaining a majority in the House, will have to fight tooth and nail in the Senate.
Now, the legacy that Donald Trump leaves behind is much more notorious and damaging, because he led the United States into a state of extreme polarization and manipulated a good part of the American people in such a way that his faithful followers and the 74 million Americans who voted for him have accepted impunity and the existence of the swamp of corruption at the highest levels of the nation and of the power elites, even though one of his campaign promises was to end the “Democratic” swamp.
The pardons of these final days of his presidency speak for the clarity of that quagmire, when a good part of the pardons and annulments of sentences are for people very close to their political or family environment, faithful to their actions, millionaires who have committed tax fraud and other economic crimes.
An “achievement” of Trump, completed this one in the year 2020 will probably give a substantial turn to the legality towards the right. He appointed three Supreme Court justices – a lifetime appointment – and 25 percent of the federal judiciary. In doing so, he has reversed or broken the balance of federal appellate courts and, in the case of the highest court, could result in an alteration of the government’s regulatory power, the right to abortion, and the immigration law, to name three that are under debate and in the face of which the positions of the outgoing president, who will be sworn in on January 20 as the nation’s 46th president, are diametrically opposed.
According to judicial experts, and Democrats in particular, this is a takeover by the more conservative wing of the Republicans.
How will Biden deal with the very serious problem of institutionalized racism and its most public and violent expression, police brutality? Not a few analysts believe that the extreme white right promoted by Trump will persist in asserting its “right” to supremacy.
While Trump could not build the physical wall with Mexico, nor make his southern neighbors pay for it, since the cost of the remodeled areas and the little that was new took it out of the pockets of U.S. taxpayers, the restrictions he imposed on immigration have more than made up for that fence and it will have to be seen how the coming administration undoes them or how the judiciary keeps them in check, but he owes it to the Latino population and to the dream of millions of undocumented people that Trumpism turned into a nightmare.
In any case, Biden, whose motto was to recover “the soul of the nation,” faces an enormous challenge because that nation is divided and not precisely by a line of the color of the parties, but one that puts liberal democracy in check, with the promotion of distrust towards government institutions, the press, science and the electoral process itself.
Biden, on the other hand, was forced to wink at American progressivism and within the Democratic Party and must also comply with them, or at least try to do so, and there are not a few matters to approve of, nor are they easy.
Among them are education – only with the insurmountable debt of the university students will he have a good headache -; public health, which the Covid-19 has called into question, should introduce universal public insurance; organized labor, when unemployment reaches millions of Americans, hit by the closing of businesses of all sizes and sectors of the economy, and where the demand for the minimum wage will return with force.
Taxes cannot be absent from that list – when the reductions executed by Trump served to make the richest people benefit highly from 60 percent – and now it could not fail to benefit those with the lowest incomes, workers, ethnic minorities, women, immigrants.
A 180-degree turnaround is now mandatory on key foreign policy issues and on relations with allies, friends, and even adversaries. A field in which Trump has sown tensions and economic wars.
In some cases it will be “easy” for him, such as returning to the Treaty of Paris, the World Health Organization, restoring civilized exchanges with his allies in the European Union and NATO, among others.
Not so with respect to Iran, China, Russia, even Latin America, where renewed airs of sovereignty are returning in some countries and with them of integration.
How much it will maintain from the policies of sanctions, from the commercial wars, established with high tariffs that not only confronted the US with the Asian Giant and other adversaries, but also political and strategic allies for that vision of fierce business competition that prevailed for four years in the White House.
Will Biden be able to respect the right of the Palestinian people by reversing Washington’s embrace of Netanyahu’s apartheid?
There’s plenty of room to cut through, and we’ll have to wait for the new president’s first steps. One thing is certain: 2021 will not provide an answer to all the uncertainties, since the Covid-19 will continue to implement rules.
However, the clouds of four years of trumpism will not be easy to clear. Economist and columnist Robert Reich has said that the most vile legacy that Trump will leave is the acceptance of its behavior, and practically half of the American population seems to be enrolled in that list.
By Dr. Salvador Capote
October 14, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Trump and Biden pursue the same goal: to liquidate the Cuban Revolution. Trump embodies the hard line that is expressed in economic, commercial and financial suffocation, without ruling out the military option. Biden is on “Track 2”, the track of cultural and media penetration, of corrupting USAID and NED money, of diversionism, consumerism, and siren calls. Cuba can face both challenges, since it is very possibly the most politically aware people in the world.
It is the people of Martí and Fidel, whose courage and capacity to resist have been proven a thousand times over. But to face the line of the hawks in Washington would cost a lot of blood, in fact it has already cost a lot in the suffering of the Cuban people because of the blockade.
Facing the Obama line, represented by Biden for now, is in the long run the most subtle and dangerous, but we Cubans are aware of the danger and we know how to face it.
With the Biden administration, we could breathe and, if they take their knee off our neck, in a very short time we will demonstrate that to achieve the well-being and happiness of human beings there is no other option than socialism.
By Jorge Gómez Barata
September 9, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
For stating that: “If I won the elections, I would take up Barack Obama’s policy towards Cuba…”, Joe Biden, candidate for the presidency of the United States, does not need any more to settle the doubts regarding the government and the Cuban people.
Giving continuity to Obama’s Cuban policy expresses the will for détente that would configure a platform to bring positions closer, define agendas and propitiate a climate from which it is possible to advance, not only towards what Cuba wanted, but also towards what Barack Obama preferred. He considered the policy followed by the previous administrations obsolete, including the blockade that, according to his creed, instead of isolating Cuba, isolated the United States”.
Obama was neither a friend nor an ally of Cuba, but rather a president of the United States who, saving the asymmetries and the historical disagreement initiated by the Platt Amendment, as well as the insurmountable ideological differences derived both from the anti-communism in force in US policy and the aggressiveness in the face of the Revolution, worked to replace the hostility between the United States and Cuba with neighborliness.
Nobody discovers anything new when they observe that, as the political head of the empire, Obama would like a change in the orientation of Cuban policy, for which he set up premises, different from the aggressive policies of his predecessors. Obama chose options that were closer to the battle of ideas preferred by Cuba. Obviously, there are also Cubans who would applaud a socialist United States, but that does not mean that they would make such a commitment a political objective.
Whatever may be said, Barack Obama was the only US president who, in the 118 years of Cuba’s republican history, spoke with the national authorities on bilateral issues on an equal footing. He did this without prior conditions, without demands and without meanness, which had been a hope of the Cubans and a brilliant conquest of the Revolution. Besides, he is the only one who visited the Island and fraternally talked to the people and the authorities.
Raúl Castro, who added political sagacity and diplomatic skill to his firmness in the defense of national sovereignty and socialist principles, saw the moment when an opportunity opened up and, with integrity and flexibility, took advantage of it. He took steps towards meeting the political coherence of Barack Obama, reaching a common ground on which it was possible to understand each other and move forward until diplomatic relations were re-established.
The flexibility and political stature allowed both to understand that: differences do not prevent civilized coexistence. From Biden, I expect nothing else… I hope he wins. See you there.
By Fernando M. García Bielsa
(Specialist in North American issues. He has published in Cubadebate and other Cuban and foreign websites.)
April 26, 2019
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Former Vice President Joseph Biden has just officially announced that he is running for the Democratic Party’s nomination for the November 2020 presidential election in the United States.
Covered in a cloak of false moderate or center positions, Biden is willing to come to the rescue of the corporate political establishment at a time when, between the electorate and the base of that party, demands and positions of support for a popular agenda have Abecome predominant.
Joe Biden is of course the best-known figure at the national level – among more than fifteen other politicians who are in the running for the Democratic nomination – perhaps with the exception of social democrat Bernie Sanders, who was much admired after his successful grassroots campaign in 2016.
A few days ago, the NY Times reported that Democrats who are part of the “Stop Sanders” effort are distressed by the momentum of the effort. A headline in the Washington Post said, “Center Democrats fear that far-left positions will lead to defeat in 2020. So they are pushing for alternatives.
In addition to having a name that part of the public identifies, Biden adds other advantages such as the favor of the country’s political and financial elite. With it comes access to the coffers needed to wage a successful and costly electoral campaign, as well as the favor of the national machinery of the Democratic Party. Also, it is supposed, he would also be assured of favorable coverage by the big media and television networks.
However, this politician also has his disadvantages before a rather skeptical electorate with clear tendencies to reject the same elite of Washington and Wall Street and, in general, those who conduct politics in the U.S. capital, a trend that has become more marked in recent years.
Joe Biden is 76 years old; he has been a member of Congress for no less than 36 years and vice president of the country for another eight during the Obama Administration. He is undoubtedly the oldest and most skillful of those serving the country’s among those who have announced their presidential aspirations.
Although with an image of center positions, his alignment with corporate and financial interests is very broad. It has been part of the corresponding game with policies in favor of big business, banking, insurance companies and the unanimously-favored increase in military spending, financial deregulation, and so on.
Like almost all Democratic politicians and presidential hopefuls from the Clinton and Obama currents, which are the ones that have hegemony in the party, Biden has a good arrival and relations with established elites in the African-American sectors and the union world.This is not the same as saying that he has real acceptance or descent from the workers or the so-called black or Latino communities.
One should not underestimate the strong and already established attitude of rejection, mentioned above, which has shown a large part of the U.S. electorate has shown toward towards politicians and elites in general.
These are factors that conspire against Biden’s potential, even though he has the advantage of being close to the establishment, the holders of the money and the favor of the big media.
Another issue to consider is the apathy of voters, also a longstanding trend that particularly affects Democrats when counting votes. Part of the factors that led to the defeat of Hillary Clinton in 20l6 was that by forcing her nomination, favoring her with all kinds of manipulations, the structures and leadership of the Party, they frustrated the possibility of motivating and energizing its base, as independent Senator Bernie Sanders was doing.
It is considered that for this electoral cycle and in order to defeat the Republican candidate, who most likely is the current president Donald Trump, it will be necessary to mobilize and give new energy to the Democratic electorate and rescue part of the popular sectors that it took from them.
Although this is definitely a party of the system, it will have to moderate its neoliberal propensity to reconnect to some extent with its base, with the so-called middle classes, a good part of them workers, and with many people disappointed with politics, and with the neglect and deterioration of their living conditions.
That was part of what gave Trump in 2016 the opportunity to manipulate anger and deep dissatisfaction among Americans with the country’s dysfunctional political system. Particularly the games symbolized on Wall Street and in the federal capital, and by the disconnection of the political spheres from the common people.
Although with a less unpleasant figure than Hillary Clinton, the Democrats, with Joe Biden (who resembles her in many substantive respects), could run the risk of repeating her discouraging and failed campaign in the last election cycle.
Biden has a history of openly defending capitalism and an underhand evasion of class inequalities. A long record and sequel to his positions that could make him vulnerable to his opponents during the coming months of the campaign, and in the home stretch if he were nominated, a record that includes expressions of racist type, of marked support for war, of favoring the deregulation of the banks, etc.
Or the fact that he has shown himself to be harsh in the face of crime, even to the point of insensitivity, as when he said in a speech before the full Senate in 1993:
“It doesn’t matter whether or not they are people who have been in need or marginalized in their youth. It does not matter whether or not they had a past that allowed them to be part of the social fabric. It doesn’t matter whether or not they were victims of society. The end result is that they are about to beat my mother…, shoot my sister…”, etc.
He is pointed out as a firm acolyte of the Military Industrial Complex. From his powerful position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2003, Biden provided political cover for the massive military attack on Iraq authorized by Republican President George Bush. Some have said he did more than any other Democratic senator to get the green light for the invasion.
The forgetful citizenry may only have a nebulous image of this personality whose name is familiar to them, but much is the burden and complexity of his political record. For Biden to get the Democratic presidential nomination next year, it will depend largely on how many voters in the primaries would or would not have known about the background of this consummate politician; how much of his actual record will come to the fore in the coming months.
Although it’s too early to say, and even considering that money and the big media will pull the embers into their frying pan, I estimate that, in the long run, the Democratic Party structures, to some extent pushed by the rank and file, will favor a “new face” from among the dozen or more presidential hopefuls who have already thrown their had in the the ring for the Democratic nomination at the national convention to be held in July next year in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.