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Joe Biden enjoys a double-digit lead over incumbent President Donald Trump because he promises a return to normalcy — not the platonic ideal of objective normalcy in a country that doesn’t torture or spy on its citizens or let them starve because their coding chops are a few years out of date. Americans desperately want to resume “normal” political life as Americans knew it before the last four years of manic presidential tweetstorms, authoritarian strongman antics and pandemic pandemonium. As Michigan voter Katybeth Davis told the Guardian, “I just want it to be over with. I really do.”

Be careful what you wish for. Things could get even crazier under Biden.

Even though it’s only a few weeks away, I am hesitant to call the election. Biden has a huge lead in the polls, but Trump has an ace in the hole: an unprecedented volume of mail-in ballots due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will run predominantly Democratic and provide attractive targets for Republican attorneys to drag out state vote counts past the Dec. 14 Electoral College certification deadline, which would trigger the obscure 12th Amendment scenario where 50 states each get one vote for president in the next House of Representatives, in which case Trump would win even if Biden were to win the popular vote by a lot.

But let’s assume Biden prevails. Let’s say it’s a blue-wave election and the Democrats expand their majority in the House and take control of the Senate. What happens next? Revolution, maybe.

Revolution would certainly be likelier under Biden than under Trump.

One of history’s least-discussed ironies is a counterintuitive pattern: It is not the vicious tyrants who are overthrown by angry mobs but well-meaning liberal reformers who promise to fix a broken system and fall short of expectations.

A Biden administration would face several daunting existential challenges. Unlike former President Barack Obama, whose high approval rating at inauguration prolonged his political honeymoon into his second year, Biden will enjoy little to no support from Republican voters or elected representatives. Progressives will pressure him from the left. Worse, he will inherit problems that have been neglected or exacerbated for so long that no solution will be able to come fast enough.

A president who will have achieved victory by campaigning against his predecessor’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic will be expected to quickly turn around the ongoing medical and economic disasters with lightning-quick results. Like Obama, Biden has promised to add a “public option” to the Affordable Care Act. He’ll need to do that right away. That’s only the beginning: The ACA will collapse unless Congress vastly increases premium subsidies to middle-class patients and orders national Medicaid expansion.

The $600-a-week supplemental unemployment benefits that both parties allowed to expire during the summer will have to be replaced in some form. There will need to be meaningful broad-based relief for distressed renters and homeowners facing eviction or foreclosure. Without an infusion of cash, millions of people who formerly belonged to the middle and working classes will become homeless, adding to social and political instability. Billions will have to be pumped into the economy in the form of direct stimulus checks to every man, woman and child. The alternative is economic collapse.

The presidency, of course, is about more than policy. Many Americans who believed in exceptionalism a few years ago are wondering aloud whether the U.S. is literally over and done. During times of crisis, leaders are called upon to reassure citizens that a wise and steady hand is at the helm and that a team of intelligent and innovative advisors is running the show behind the scenes.

Can Biden deliver? On most fronts, probably not.

The Democratic Party is too beholden to its corporate donors to enact the FDR-style stimulus and social programs that are required to dig us out of an economic hole filled with tens of millions of newly unemployed workers and 1 out in 5 businesses that have gone broke. Biden comes out of the Clinton/Obama/Democratic Leadership Council austerity wing of his party. His instinct will be to spend as little as possible in order to try to balance the budget.

“When we get in, the pantry is going to be bare,” says Ted Kaufman, who would run the transition office that would select Biden’s top personnel. “When you see what Trump’s done to the deficit … forget about COVID-19, all the deficits that he built with the incredible tax cuts. So we’re going to be limited.” Kaufman, a former Delaware senator, promises that Biden won’t significantly increase federal spending.

The streets are already seething. Austerity will bring things to a boil.

It’s political suicide by fiscal means.

The Soviet Union didn’t collapse under Josef Stalin. It couldn’t have. He would have ruthlessly crushed any meaningful opposition. Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev presided over graduated liberalization, but it was under Mikhail Gorbachev, architect of perestroika, that the USSR went out of business. Gorbachev, arguably the best, brightest and most decent premier the Soviet system could allow to come to power and the best the Russian people could hope for, failed to deliver the improvements in living standards and personal freedoms people wanted and needed. It was precisely the fact that he was so excellent yet couldn’t deliver that exposed the corruption and incompetence inherent to the system.

Neither Khrushchev nor Brezhnev nor Gorbachev were the problem. The system itself was. It had to go.

ORDER IT NOW

Similarly, the French Revolution couldn’t have succeeded under Louis XIV; the Sun King was too brutal and autocratic. Louis XVI attempted numerous reforms to make life better for the French, including the free distribution of grain, slashing the royal budget and the abolition of torture and servitude. He granted equal rights to Jews and Protestants, tried to tax the nobility (they refused) and began a transition toward parliamentary monarchy as in Great Britain. But the reforms were insufficient; internal forces were intransigent; and resentments had built up for too long. The French were hungry and angry, so Louis XVI lost his head to the guillotine.

So it went in Russia. Although Czar Nicholas II was a bit of a clueless dolt, he recognized the crisis and desperately tried to save a collapsing system. He introduced civil liberties, worked to increase literacy, granted representation to local districts throughout the country and modernized the empire’s infrastructure. Again, it wasn’t enough. He destroyed the economy by squandering the treasury on wars of choice, refused to consider democratization and ultimately succumbed to the resistance of shortsighted Russian aristocrats. Lenin and the Bolsheviks had long argued that the Russian government was corrupt and unwilling to provide for the needs of the people. Only when Nicholas II’s reforms proved to be too little, too late did they agree and rise up.

Like Gorbachev, Louis XVI and Nicholas II, a President Biden would disappoint at the worst possible time.

 
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  1. Article is basically correct.
    Biden will be Bush II on steroids. A sock puppet. And not even a good puppet — Given his steadily failing mental capacities, Biden can’t be trusted in any public situation.
    As to his Policies ? Didn’t know he had any.
    And as to Biden adding a “Public option” to the ACA…that is funny.
    Remember how Obama had both houses for his first 2 years … & what did he manage to get done for the public good …? He saved all those corrupt Bankers & their utterly corrupt financial system.
    Wow, perhaps there is a parallel between 2008-9 & 2021-2

    • Agree: Biff
    • Replies: @El Dato
  2. Renoman says:

    You vote for the war party you’re gonna get war.

    • Replies: @Antiwar7
  3. Biden will get blamed for the Great Depression 2.0, which will be ushered in when trade partners decide that they want something more tangible, i.e. a non-dollar trade settlement currency, for their goods and services. How long do you expect China to effectively fund a foreign system that is threatening and kneecapping them? Soon all will see that the US is an empty husk coasting on historical inertia.

    The American people are a hopeless case: no wisdom, no courage, no redeeming qualities whatsoever. It’s unlikely that they’re capable of a Revolution. Both the Old Bolsheviks and the German NSDAP were composed of daring, highly intelligent men. Even though you disagree with their policies, the quality of their human capital is unquestionable. On the other hand, in America’s political landscape one will only find grifters, kooks, informants, clowns, and dilettantes. Not a soul amongst them capable of sacrifice.

    Revolution is too heroic for a country of cowards, opportunists, and morbidity obese fools. The model for America is terminal path dependence: Fall of Rome 2.0. No miraculous National resurrection, just a pathetic decent that happens slowly then suddenly.

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
    , @Biff
  4. A123 says:

    Biden’s national lead is *much* smaller that the establishment polls show. If you look down into the details, the Oversampling is quite egregious. Trump is actually ahead in the key swing states so the actual election result will look like this.
     

     
    Can the DNC manufacture enough ballots to make Biden an illegitimate, unelected President. It seems unlikely. The hope was for SCOTUS to allow unlimited & unconstitutional “counting” until the desired result was achieved with ballot fabrication.

    If such a crime is successful, the author is correct. The Biden-Harris coup regime will be owned by the machine that made it happen. Barack Hussein tried to wield authoritarian power with a pen and a phone. The result was the 8-year “jobless recovery”. Harris would be Barack 2.0 and preside over 8+ more years of economic failure, harming U.S. workers.

    No one should be hoping for a Biden-Harris coup.

    PEACE 😇
    _______

  5. Joe Biden enjoys a double-digit lead over incumbent President Donald Trump because he promises a return to normalcy

    That is the funniest thing I have heard all day. Whatever it is you are smoking I recommend you stop before it’s too late.

    Americans most obviously do not want to return to “normalcy:” desperately or otherwise. They would not be denigrating the President of the United States every minute of every day for 4 years while trying to frame him up on numerous false charges, while looting in cities all over the US. That is not the behavior of Americans wanting a return to “normalcy”

    You are so completely deluded that you think a corrupt pol from Delaware is a return to “normalcy?” Ludicrous, Ted. Completely so.

    • Replies: @Wyatt
    , @martin_2
  6. Though the article touches on important themes, its thesis is basically absurd. Comparing Donald Trump with tyrants like Stalin or Louis XIV is an impossible overstretch.

  7. The Soviet Union collapsed because Ronald Reagan gave Lee Wanta a pile of cash and instructed him to collapse the ruble.
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25754364-wanta-black-swan-white-hat

  8. Chris Moore says: • Website

    Rall continues to shill for the “liberal” and neocon Jews whose parasite wars for Israel and international Zionism, and whose endless epic grifts and Ponzi schemes, have destroyed America. The liberals have actually become parasites on parasites. Rall is a parasite on a parasite.

  9. Antiwar7 says:
    @Renoman

    Yes, for both the Democratic and Republican wings of the war party.

    Vote third party. It makes them nervous.

  10. TG says:

    I deeply respect Ted Rall, but choked on this statement:

    “It is not the vicious tyrants who are overthrown by angry mobs but well-meaning liberal reformers”

    “Baskstabbing” Joe Biden is no kind of well-meaning liberal reformer. For over have a century, he has been there wholeheartedly pushing every betrayal of the American working class, for money. That’s how a nearly senile creep gets elected: the super big money just wants him, because he will do what he is told.

    There will be no half-hearted attempts at reform under Team Biden that are frustrated by huge deficits and corporate pressure. There will be wholesale looting of what’s left of the working class, while the elites pit black and white against each other to distract them from their real enemy.

    I repeat that Trump is Bozo the Clown, but Biden is a cross between the monster in “Alien” and Vlad the Impaler.

    Forget about the press releases, forget about the ghost-written position papers that mean zero, look at Biden’s voting record and tell me I’m wrong.

    Someone wiser than me said that Trump voters aren’t stupid, they’re angry.

    • Replies: @El Dato
  11. IvyMike says:

    Ted has not studied world history very far past Freshman level. Pretty good article, though. Impressed it took until the 8th comment for someone to bring Zionism into the discussion.

  12. “all the deficits that he [Trump] built with the incredible tax cuts”

    BS. The deficits come from spending trillions spent to prop up for profit US Corporations.
    Endless wars spewing trillions into the MIC monster.
    Trillions to prop up the Wall Street banks since 9/11/2001.

    The senseless lock down killed the economy. Without taxable income or profits from a business, revenues from taxes won’t be there no matter the tax rate.

    The FED owns more US Treasuries than all foreign buyers combined.
    Print. Print. Print. While the nation burns.

    Close oversea bases. Stop cruising fleets around the globe.
    Force US corporations to use US workers in US based production facilities.

  13. Biff says:
    @Ari Eisenberg

    On the other hand, in America’s political landscape one will only find grifters, kooks, informants, clowns, and dilettantes. Not a soul amongst them capable of sacrifice.

    Mostly true, and is why Ron Paul never had a chance.

  14. Worse, he will inherit problems that have been neglected or exacerbated for so long that no solution will be able to come fast enough.

    Like, not enough wars, for instance?

  15. El Dato says:
    @animalogic

    It will be with added Bolshevism of the baseball bat to the face variety in the streets.

  16. El Dato says:
    @TG

    Biden is a cross between the monster in “Alien” and Vlad the Impaler.

    But the Alien was A Perfect Creature.

    It’s more like Cannibal Humanoid Underground Dwellers created by toxic chemicals dumped into sewers.

  17. This stupid article is written like Biden will really be the president. Bullshit. If, God forbid, the dems win, it will be a President Kabala Haaretz presidency from day one. If you are a white, conservative male expect hate speech laws directed at you. Expect draconian gun laws that will only be enforced against you. If you happen to defend yourself against an enriched, diverse 13%er p.o.c. you will be prosecuted to the FULLEST extent of the law. Harris is an evil, venal bitch who will destroy this country for white people.

  18. Wyatt says:
    @restless94110

    Ted Rall is stupid. There isn’t such a thing as a smart socialist. It’s an inherently idiotic, redistributionist ideology that just serves to usher in an oligarchy of the incompetent. The government cannot regulate an economy because the government is typically put into power by an incompetent electorate voting for incompetent people.

    Just look at AOC. Dumb as fuck, a thot to the T and she was put into power by dark folk and white libs. She doesn’t have a functional plan. Her empty, horse-faced head is filled with vacuous thoughts on how she can play hero because that’s what socialists are. They’re moral heroes who think they can solve problems, but when pressed on the actual logistics, they have either no solutions or lies.

    • Replies: @restless94110
    , @ANON
  19. anon[417] • Disclaimer says:

    I guess Dems are pretty sure they’re going to win, because they’re starting early with the “Hey you reformers shut the fuck up.”

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/why-obama-worries-about-progressives-under-a-prospective-biden-presidency

    The Dems are going to fuck you worse than Republicans would dare to.

  20. @Wyatt

    You are correct in almost all, but there are a couple of things.

    Health care in the US is complete crippling damaging bullshit. There literally has to be Single Payer in the next few years or the percent of GDP taken up by the corrupt broken health care complex will destroy us socially and economically. Government may not do many things right, but governments all over the world do health care right. The right needs to take control of this and push it through. If they do? They would be assured of total control over government for the next 60 years.

    Another thing: student loans need to be written off right now. Most of them are carried by the Federal government and it would take like 10 minutes to do it. It would then free up the young for family creation, house building and buying and job creation and innovation.

    Again, if the right did this? In power for 60 years minimum.

    The reason you have idiots like Sanders and AOC and Rall jabbering on is that there is TOO much financial inequality in the US. Government has to level that a bit Not the market. Not the socialists. Government has to. Like it did in the 30s.

    People don’t care what you and I think when they are broke and hopeless. They care what socialism promises.

    If someone on the right does not do at least those two things I reference above? The socialists will. Count on it.

    That said, I sincerely do not understand how Rall can misread the current situation so totally wrong. It’s really beyond my puny mental skills to understand. He done bought the bullshit, but he should believe his lyin’ eyes before believing Rachel Madcow.

  21. Bro43rd says:
    @restless94110

    Everything government touches turns to sh!t, especially healthcare. Just in my lifetime government has ruined healthcare. 40 ya most people didn’t have anything other than catastrophic health insurance. Doctors were affordable & clinics were available for the poor & indigent. Since government has taken over healthcare, costs have risen & care has fallen. Socialism, even in medical care, doesn’t work because humans aren’t automatons, we are unique individuals with differing time preferences.

    • Replies: @restless94110
  22. ANON[203] • Disclaimer says:
    @Wyatt

    Ted Rall is stupid. There isn’t such a thing as a smart socialist. It’s an inherently idiotic, redistributionist ideology that just serves to usher in an oligarchy of the incompetent.

    This is my challenge to you –

    put two toddlers into a sandbox with one shovel, and tell me in advance what the outcome is going to be. We both know they will instinctively struggle over control of the plastic shovel.

    I am not a Socialist / Communist, or supporter of such ideology, however the underlying truth is – virtually no one is instinctively or innately socialist.

    Nearly all socialists are created, not born. Even with Engels, his furor at Capitalism is brought about by truly abominable abuses of average working people that he comes into contact with during his travels.

    A good way to deter Socialism / Communism is a society that treats one another fairly, and creates basic rules to limit abuses or efforts to amass power in the hands of a small corrupt elite.

    Communism in the USA was to a large degree an offshoot of locking masses of poor immigrants into sweatshops during working shifts, which inevitably burned down at some point, taking the lives of those trapped inside so that the sweatshop owner could prevent income lost to decadent bathroom trips during their shift.

    Communism can be the doctrine of the pampered, indoctrinated and privileged, but it is also the last resort of the weak, powerless or abused.

    Its too convenient and reflexive to simply attack Communism / Socialism, while ignoring the corrosive aspects of a society wracked by class conflict. When a tiny group of people own more than 50% of the population, the first place to go looking is not for Zombie Stalin’s running amok with designs against capital.

    Before the Witch-hunter General is commissioned, maybe first look into how America’s factories got exported to Asia and Mexico, look into the Jack Welch schemes to import masses of workers from India, delve into the interests pouring endless waves of 3rd world workers into the USA to work as low paid labor golf courses of the elites.

    Communism is a bloodstream marker in a society that indicates a pre-existing illness. It is a secondary threat that arises as a symptom of abusive societies, and fighting it as the primary threat is always going to be heavily promoted by those who are well aware of this.

    • Agree: vox4non
  23. @restless94110

    The reason you have idiots like Sanders and AOC and Rall jabbering on is that there is TOO much financial inequality in the US.

    That said, I sincerely do not understand how Rall can misread the current situation so totally wrong.

    You are correct that there is too much inequality and the Republicans are wrong to dismiss it.

    But Rall is correct that Biden will only pass piecemeal reforms that won’t change anything.

    Biden is a classic corporate whore Democrat. I doubt he even has the guts to raise the taxes back on the wealthy. He will probably pull the “votes aren’t there” excuse without even trying to compromise with the Republicans.

    Most Democrats only talk about raising taxes on the wealthy. In reality they are afraid of losing their wealthy donors. Democrats like Sanders and AOC are in a minority.

    If someone on the right does not do at least those two things I reference above? The socialists will. Count on it.

    But I agree here which is why the GOP needs to go populist. If they stick with the current strategy the Democrats will eventually get a supermajority. And eventually the AOC types will outnumber the corporate whores.

    I wouldn’t care about a Sanders win but I knew the establishment would take him down. He was too much of a threat to the establishment. The establishment is liberal but Sanders is too unpredictable for them. They want someone that they can pressure like Biden. Just look at how Biden totally buckled when the press demanded a Black(ish) woman for VP.

    • Replies: @restless94110
  24. his predecessor’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic

    In other words, Trump wasn’t fascist enough for Mr Rall.

    • Replies: @coolhand850
  25. @restless94110

    There literally has to be Single Payer in the next few years…

    Make the single payer the Vatican, and I’ll go along. But will you?

    • Replies: @restless94110
  26. martin_2 says:
    @restless94110

    “Normalcy” is such an ugly word. “Normality” is far better.

    • Replies: @restless94110
  27. @Bro43rd

    Everything government touches turns to sh!t, especially healthcare

    Patently false. Social Security works fine and has since its inception. Stop repeating that stupid retarded nonsense.

    Just in my lifetime government has ruined healthcare. 40 ya most people didn’t have anything other than catastrophic health insurance.

    Obama and Hillary denied the Single Payer option and screwed up health care. In your life time. The solution? Single Payer health care which works in every country- in the 1st world.

    Doctors were affordable & clinics were available for the poor & indigent

    .

    Bullshit. Medical bankruptcies were and are the majority of bankruptcy in the United States. Doctors and hospitals are NOT affordable in any way, and clinics are too few and too puny, thus overwhelming county hospital emergency rooms.

    And that’s not even talking about dental and vision which even Medicare does not cover. There is a reason that thousands of Americans fly to other countries every year to go on “medical or dental vacations.”

    Socialistic in health care is like socialism in police and fire departments: A necessary societal feature that helps keep its people healthy, safe and strong. This has nothing to do with socialism except in the very limited sense.

    Once again, there is no choice. Defective health care now is eating US GDP. The only way to cut it is to cut out the administrative layer and big pharma monopolies via Single Payer.

  28. @John Johnson

    Agreed on most of what you said.

    I would just add though that Sanders is also incredibly weak. That was so clear 4 years ago when he let those crazed black girls take over his microphone and his stage and he just sat back with his arms-folded meekly.

    It was clear when he didn’t start a 3rd party when it was revealed the Demo leadership was cheating him. It’s been made clear now when he supports Biden.

    It truly is incredible. Why would he flip on immigration from just a few years ago? Why would he scream that Trump is a racists. Trump had more in common with Sanders than Bernie has in common with Hillary or Joe.

  29. @Reg Cæsar

    Don’t have the slightest idea what you are talking about. You clearly do not understand what Single Payer is and how it is financed and operated.

  30. Don’t have the slightest idea what you are talking about. You clearly do not understand what Single Payer is and how it is financed and operated.

    There is a “single payer”, or it’s misnamed. This single payer pays the piper and calls the tune. This is why we don’t have established churches in America. Same principle, body and soul.

    I would rather have my health dollars spent on the Tiber than on the Potomac!

    Much of the developed world in not single-payer, but “two-tier”:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-tier_healthcare

  31. @Reg Cæsar

    Exactly. Fuck Mr. Rall. I don’t know what he thinks he is doing publishing that garbage here. The reason I come here is to get away from lying, parasites like him.

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