I wrote a piece back in June, “Eight Reasons the Left Should Root for Donald Trump in 2020 and Ilhan Omar in 2024,” which was partly satirical and meant to be provocative. As I noted in the story, I found most of Trump’s views repellent, called his immigration detention policies sickening and said he had emboldened white nationalists and other “demented elements in our society.” One could go on and on in this regard.
My argument was that the odds of Trump losing were remote and a second term was the best hope of outraging the country enough so that it turns sharply left in five years. “Let Trump win, destroy what’s left of the country and then the nation will be so angry that it will be ready for an Ilhan Omar/Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ticket in 2024,” I wrote. (Yes, I pointed out that Omar can’t be president unless the U.S. constitution gets changed because she is not American-born. Like I said, the story was not entirely serious.) “I want a generational, gender, racial and class change,” I added. “Bernie is an old white guy and that’s not what the country needs. “Let’s just get this shit show over with and accept the inevitable.”
The piece was attacked, including at CounterPunch, in “A Mostly Serious Response to the Semi-Satirical Ken Silverstein on Trump’s Second Term.” Elliot Sperber, who created our Aesthetics and Anesthetics section, also rebutted my story in an article titled, “There’s No Good Reason Whatsoever to Support Trump in 2020.”
Well, looking back, I have to admit there were a few flaws in my argument, satirical or not. Among the primary ones were assuming the inevitability of Trump’s reelection, underestimating the possibility of the country being destroyed between now and 2024, and the fact that Bernie Sanders has put together a far better coalition than I thought he would, and clearly preferable to Elizabeth Warren’s increasingly waffling campaign
If you’re on the left, Sanders is clearly not the perfect candidate, as anyone who’s read Jeffrey St. Clair’s Bernie & The Sandernistas knows. (And yeah, I know, AOC and Omar aren’t perfect either.) He’s more of a New Dealer than a socialist but he’s head and shoulders above any potential Democratic nominee and has the best chance of beating Trump. He’s also built a diverse coalition around the class divide, our pathetic health care system, race, immigration, military spending, climate change, homelessness, criminal justice reform and other issues.
I’d like to see Sanders be more critical on foreign policy, but he’s been generally solid on Latin America, winning praise from three progressive Latin leaders, and the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, Yemen and, more carefully, Palestine. When she endorsed him at a campaign rally earlier this month, Ilhan Omar said, “I am beyond honored, excited for a president who will fight against Western imperialism.” Within U.S. politics, the Sanders 2020 movement is better than any credible option in a long time (including Sanders 2016).
The Democratic Party establishment blows and along with the media will do everything possible to block Sanders from winning the nomination. The party is never going to be reformed but if he manages to win and defeat Trump, Sanders can be pressured from the left — and exactly at the moment that capitalism has completely run out of steam and the country has been turned into a naked oligarchy.
Yesterday Alan Moore, author of V for Vendetta and Watchmen, announced he’d be voting for the first time in 40 years to support Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the December 12th UK election. “I’ve voted only once in my life…being convinced that leaders are mostly of benefit to no one save themselves,” he wrote in a statement on Twitter. “That said, some leaders are so unbelievably malevolent and catastrophic that they must be strenuously opposed by any means available.”
That’s pretty much where I’m at and at this moment, the most likely electoral possibilities are Sanders, a “moderate” Democrat pushed through by the party establishment, or Trump (or another Republican in the unlikely event he’s pushed out by the impeachment drive). I have no illusions about the Democratic Party ever becoming a force for radical change, but given the options, it’s best to get Trump out, Sanders in and build a movement — outside the Democratic Party — to fight the oligarchy.