Make no mistake Joe Biden had an excellent Super Tuesday, while Sanders in contrast had somewhat of a nightmare. Following Biden’s win in the South Carolina primary, one centrist candidate after another coalesced around this questionable establishment politician in an effort to dampen Bernie’s popularity. In all honesty this strategy was smart and timely. Not only that, but to compound Bernie’s problems, the quintessential political chameleon Elizabeth Warren remained in the race until today, further splitting the progressive vote and most probably contributing to Sanders losing some states such as, Warren’s home state of Massachusetts, plus Maine, possibly Texas and Minnesota.
A couple of weeks ago the ruling elite had a collective meltdown, viewing Sanders increasingly as an existential threat to their privileged way of life. Therefore, something had to be done. This ultimately brought about tactics of alliances between candidates and a 24/7 blanket support of Biden post South Carolina by the mainstream propaganda machine. Biden has also courted and been supported by corporate America, recently hosting 250 big money donors in New York. Meanwhile, his recent Super Tuesday victory was reflected by a Wall Street surge who perceive Biden as a benign candidate.
Like any great prize fighter, following the Super Tuesday setback, Sanders needs to regroup, clear his head and fire back at Biden. Finding easy targets against a lacklustre, lifelong establishment candidate should not be a difficult task for the Sanders campaign. At this point Bernie needs to find his killer instinct and repeatedly hit Biden’s weak spots, which frankly is his entire political career. If Joe Biden is elected there is no doubt he would be eviscerated by Trump come debate time. It would be akin to watching a heavyweight top ten pugilist go up against a washed up punch drunk, ageing club fighter and it won’t be pretty to watch.
In 2016 many people voted for Trump because they were disillusioned with corporate, mainstream, establishment politics. Joe Biden embodies this down to his very core, he has even reaffirmed this on stage, espousing a lazy, uninspiring “steady as she goes” rhetoric. This is exactly what the US and the world do not need at this particular point. The planet is burning, huge inequality is effecting health, education and general wellbeing. Wars continue all over the world, as a part consequence of a system that requires infinite growth on a finite planet.
Further to this, the US continues to expand it’s empire by systematically destroying nations who fail to toe the line, either through conflict or economic sanctions. Trump will undoubtedly continue down this path if re-elected, as his last few years have clearly indicated. So too would Biden if he wins the nomination and is elected later this year. To be fair the POTUS has very little control over foreign policy, as the deep state rarely deviates from its interventionist position.
It’s is difficult to attain what changes Bernie Sanders could make regarding foreign policy, considering the might of the military industrial complex. Domestically, however, there is only one anti-establishment change candidate around right now and that’s Bernie. Does he go as far as I’d like on many issues? Of course not. But we have to put this into perspective. This is the US, and as much as Bernie’s proposals would seem mainstream to most of Europe, they would signify a much welcomed radical shift in policy within the US.
So who really is Donald Trump’s potential punching bag Joe Biden? Biden has had 45 years in politics, he spent 36 years as a senator and a further 8 as Obama’s vice president. He is reputedly a ‘moderate’ who calls himself “middle class Joe”. However, over his career he has taken big money contributions at the expense of ordinary hard working Americans. This is the kind of politics that turned many people away from the Democrats and towards Trump in 2016. So let us take a little look at Biden’s politics of transaction.
Throughout his 36 years as a senator he has been financed by credit card companies. Between 1989 and 2000 MBNA was Biden’s single largest donor. In 2005 he authored and voted for a bankruptcy bill which made it increasingly more difficult for Americans to clear their debts. Consequently, this has had the effect of skyrocketing student debt since its inception. A study from the Federal Reserve of New York went as far as to suggest that this bill led to a rapid surge of foreclosures that may not have occurred otherwise. Coincidentally MBNA hired Biden’s son straight out of Law School as a lobbyist in 1996 and again as a consultant between 2001-2005, this was the same period Biden was working on the bill.
On the day Biden announced his campaign on the 25th April 2019, he attended a fundraiser hosted by a CEO of a major health insurance corporation. He unsurprisingly, flatly refused to sign a pledge rejecting money from the insurance and pharmaceutical world. Further to this, his campaign has been bankrolled by a super Pac run by healthcare lobbyists. In return for cash, the current healthcare industry will be preserved by President Biden if elected, at the expense of 10 million uninsured Americans.
Unlike healthcare, Biden did sign a pledge not to take money from the fossil fuel industry and then reneged on it. Shortly after the CNN hosted the climate change forum, he attended a fundraiser hosted by a fossil fuel conglomerate executive Andrew Goldman. Generally speaking Joe Biden’s climate change proposals have been rated as poor by leading environmental groups, accusing him of largely paying lip service with no discernible plan. In a report by the Sunrise Group, Bernie Sanders scored 183/200 while Biden totalled a dismal 75/200, the group concluded that climate change doesn’t appear to fit into his plans.
Historically speaking Joe Biden’s positions don’t look too flash either.
- Biden supports the death penalty, in 1994 he helped to write the 1994 Crime Bill, which authorised the death penalty for dozens of existing and new federal crimes.
- In 1996 Biden voted for and passed the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA), which forbid the US government from recognising same-sex relationship as defined by the states. In 2012 Biden encouraged by Obama, changed his mind.
- In 2002 Joe Biden voted yes for the Iraq War.
- He supported the Patriot Act of 2001 and co-wrote it’s predecessor the 1995 Omnibus Counter-terrorism Act.
- Biden has opposed abortion rights many times over his career.
- Has worked throughout the years to cut Medicare and Social Security.
- In 1990 Joe Biden voted to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act, this act was designed to prevent commercial banks from engaging in investment banking.
- Biden voted in favour of NAFTA (North American Free-Trade Agreement) and also supported the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership).
What seems abundantly clear is that Biden lacks any moral conviction. His policies are deeply rooted in neoliberal ideology, while also being relatively socially conservative. In any other nation he would be considered to be firmly on the right of the political aisle. Biden, like the majority of the Democratic Party is a typical transactional politician, in effect a Hillary Clinton 2.0. He has been prolific on the speaking circuit for decades while cultivating close ties with lobbyists. His career in politics has been marked by establishment rhetoric and 3rd way triangulation, exactly what the US voters rejected in 2016.
Trump would be licking his lips at the prospect of running against Biden. They do possess similarities in as much they are both corrupt and employ unhealthy doses of nepotism. Where they differ, however, is Trump somehow still has the support from many of the disenfranchised all around the country. An establishment, centrist, careerist politician will never defeat a leader who has positioned themselves as a populist, regardless whether this façade bears any resemblance to the truth or not.
This matchup would not end well for Biden, but would definitely be a preferable option for the DNC, rather than allowing Bernie Sanders to run as the Democratic Party candidate. The truth is, only a populist can beat a populist in this current political climate and Bernie is the ultimate anti-establishment candidate. Sanders is perfectly suited to dismantle Trump and his dystopian nightmare. As they say styles make fights and this would be a cracker.