The last election I watched with a Russian friend at the London School of Economics student room in 2016. The cope and seethe amongst those rootless cosmopolitans was out of this world, as the only Trump supporters in the room it was like being the physical embodiment of trollface.jpg.
I don’t expect to see a repeat of such scenes this time round. If Trump manages to clinch the south (FL-NC, probably AZ), as I expect him to, then the interest will shift over to the slow counting Rust Belt swing states. So, we probably can’t expect to see scenes of “literally shaking” SJWs or seething MAGA chuds tonight. But I suppose we’ll see soon enough.
I am obviously much less personally invested in American political outcomes than when I lived in the US from the late 2000s to 2016. I don’t really get the people who are super enthusiastic about either candidate (well, apart from the TDS/PDS/Russiagate people, but I find them to be an alien species in general). Biden and Harris are neolib Establishment, more regressive than HRC in 2012, whose concessions to the “Chapo” wing of the coalition are going to be predominantly symbolic. Trump’s sovereigntist rhetoric was stymied not just by the machinations of the Deep State, but by his own personal laziness and ineffectiveness. I believe that either candidate as President will face massive governance challenges, as polarization grows even deeper. Should Biden triumph, the neolib center that he represents, which has no genuine political passion in its support – apart from TDS, which will become a non-factor once the Bad Orange Man is put out to pasture – will be assaulted by populists from the Right and Left.
That said, Trumperino is certainly much more entertaining, and even intermittently manages to put up a roadblock to SJWism, so I would certainly support him as an American if without the enthusiasm of 2016*.
Why Trump needs to win: Do you really want the trolling to stop?
Princeton: "We are so sorry for our systematic racism that continues to hold down POC."
DoE: "Really?" *launches civil rights investigation*
Princeton: *surprised pikachu face*https://t.co/lCt4zpHeV8
— 🇷🇺 ANATꙮLY 🤔 KARLIN (@akarlin88) November 1, 2020
However, as a Russian now living in Russia and planning to remain in Russia for the foreseeable future, I am obviously much less concerned about US domestic policy and more interested in the knock on effects on the international scene.
And the thing is, relative to the halcyon days of late 2016, the gap between Trump and the Democratic candidate is now much less wide.
Although Trump is personally well-disposed to Russia, and this has even been echoed by some of the smarter neocons who have become cognizant of the fact that China is the real long-term threat to US hegemony, in practice the fake Russiagate scandal jointly orchestrated by the Deep State and British intelligence has blocked any reset in US-Russian relations. Sanctions against Russia have been deepened, though they remain manageable. The US has provided lethal arms to Ukraine (if in quantities too low to make any material differences). Sanctions against Nord Stream have delayed but not blocked its construction, functionally diverting a few billion dollars from the Russian to the Ukrainian treasury. Consulates have been closed, people to people ties have been reduced. As I pointed out, for all the Russia hysteria, Trump has in practice done much more for the Israelis, Gulf Arabs, and Turks, in that order; the peoples of those countries have consequently “awarded” him with sharply increased approval ratings, a phenomenon that has not been observed in Russia, where Trump is vastly preferred to Biden but less overwhelmingly so than he was relative to HRC in 2016.
Indeed, some Russian analysts who lean towards the West even claim that Biden might be better for Russia, since the dialing down of Russiagate hysteria is a sine qua non of restoring some semblance of constructive relations. This is a questionable view, since many of the people Biden is expected to staff his the State Department with are ideologically driven Russophobes. Another consideration is that Biden is widely viewed as someone who can “heal” the Transatlantic relationship and who will be more friendly with China; since international relations are in many cases zero-sum, this will be bad for Russia, as it will reduce its freedom of maneuver. But even with respect to this, things are hardly crystal clear. The Europeans might huff and puff about Trump, but so far they have not had the political will to move out of the US orbit and assume a more independent course – is there any reason they will do otherwise in a second Trump term? As for China, the election of Biden may well prove to be a poisoned chalice, as the election of Trump turned out for Russia. Considering that the decision to implement the Great Bifurcation seems to be a bipartisan one that is endorsed by the Deep State, there is an excellent chance that people more competent than Boomer Bannon and his gaggle of anti-CPC jokers will manufacture a “Sinogate” to keep Biden on the straight and narrow.
One final consideration is that the slide of American society into total Wokeness and #BLM discourse suggests that a further distancing of Russia from the US and Western society in general may well be in Russia’s own interests (e.g. imagine a Biden win gives Twitter the confidence to finally ban RT from its platform – at that point, there’s a good chance Russia will start blocking Western social media, which is a tool of American espionage and ideological subversion). After six years of accumulating sanctions, Russia is much less vulnerable to Western economic pressure, so the economic costs of any further Biden sanctions should be relatively modest – and in any case worth the cost of arresting the seepage of “Woke Capital” into Russia. And this is all assuming that the Biden administration will even have time for Russia. As per above, I expect a Biden win to deepen internal American contradictions – not easen up on them (universal lesson here: Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it). The US may well be simply too preoccupied with internal problems to wreck much havoc in the international arena – embittered Trumpists who believe that the election was “stolen” from them (perhaps overspilling into secessionist sentiments), newly confident and angry Chapos eager to aggressively confront “the libs” over fiscal retrenchment in the wake of coronavirus-related stimulus spending and transfer of wealth to the oligarchs.
Consequently, FWIW, I “endorse” Trump for the Presidency, if with a great deal more caveats than in 2020.
Archive of US Elections 2020 Posts
- PREDICTIONS: US Elections 2020
- Audacious Epigone also has a predictions thread
- Russian Elections Pundits Bet on Biden. (FWIW).
- If the World Voted in the US Elections…
- Russians Would (Unenthusiastically) Vote for Trump
- US Elections 2020: Preliminary Comments/Thoughts
- Biden, King of the Boomers?
- The Orange and the Vegetable
Some outside articles that I found to be particularly interesting and/or informative:
- Richard Hanania: Election Polling: A Scientific Success Story
- Richard Spencer: The Blue Period
- akinokure’s blog for those seeking white pills wrt the Trump campaign
Memories from 2016:
* Side note: Even from a governance perspective, while Trump failed on coronavirus, so did virtually every other country outside the East Asia region. I do not think a standard Dem administration would have done any better – the early opposition to masks was universal, and they were less aggressive about barring international travel. There are precisely two Dem candidates who I expect to have done significantly better: UBI-friendly, ethnic Chinese rationalist Andrew Yang and high-IQ technocrat Michael Bloomberg. But no good cause to think Biden or the DNC NPCs around him would have been better. Indeed, considering that white countries have proven to be fundamentally unserious about suppressing Corona – none of them ever countenanced centralized quarantine, which played a key role in East Asia’s stunning success – letting it rip through the population steadily, as has happened in the US (and Russia) over the summer, was in retrospect a superior strategy to reactive European policies, which consisted of hard suppression through lockdown, then a relaxation, then a sharp second spike necessitating a second round of expensive lockdowns. At the end of the day, it is the Europeans who are getting the worst of both worlds, trashing both their GDP and having no fewer excess deaths than the Americans.