When I Go High, Sperber Goes Low: All I Did Was Endorse Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for 2020 and I was Viciously Attacked by a Colleague

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I recently wrote a measured, balanced essay in these pages wherein I endorsed Donald Trump’s reelection. Let me briefly encapsulate my argument:

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 (*). That’s a ticket I could get behind and would knock on doors for, and one that is plausible for 2024 given the sheer state of U.S. decline and carnage that will be the legacy of Trump’s second term. (*Yes, I realize that Omar cannot be president unless the U.S. constitution gets changed because she is not American-born. Don’t let reality intrude on my daydreams.)

It seems like a perfectly practical, logical argument to me — and also one that was meant to be partly satirical and provocative and not meant in any way to suggest I support Trump for reelection. I don’t like him and have spent a great deal of the last year, when not working on Washington Babylon, covering his administration’s horrible immigration policies. See here, here, and here, and more is coming. You’ll have to read my entire original post to appreciate its sophisticated reasoning.

My story generated a great deal of comment on Twitter — take this one thread for example — where as far as I can tell 99 percent of commenters supported my proposal.

Take a look for yourself and you can see the popularity of my position.

The next thing I know, Elliot Sperber, the genius behind our sparkling new Aesthetics and Anesthetics section, had launched a brutal attack on me while I was innocently out smoking shisha for four to six hours. In his story, titled “There’s No Good Reason Whatsoever to Support Trump in 2020,” Mr. Sperber rudely addressed me as “Ken” and had the sheer audacity to say “I will address each of his [Ken’s] eight reasons” arguing for Trump’s reelection.

The only point of mine that Sperber seemed to agree with is that Trump’s reelection “would destroy what’s left of the country,” but he then disingenuously used that to undermine my argument calling for Trump’s reelection. So now, Mr. Sperber, the tables have been turned and I will “address” each of your arguments. Let’s see how you like that.

1/ ES: Ken argues that Trump is going to win anyway, so “let’s just accept the inevitable.” At the very least a Trump victory is hardly inevitable. There’s great disgust among the majority of the electorate with Trump. And the disgust is only likely to grow. So, it’s not inevitable.

KS reply: Hard to argue with that. Point one for Sperber.

2/ ES: No one knows what’ll happen. Elizabeth Warren could feasibly win. And, though she’s also a highly problematic imperialist, she would be better than a president presently, as we’re sitting here, carrying out his white nationalist base’s genocidal fantasies.

KS reply: My reasoning is that in the unlikely case a problematic Democrat wins in 2020, we might get a Republican worse than Trump in 2024. The economy is going down the tubes soon but probably not in a big way until post-2020 election. Let Trump take the blame. And sure, the country might be largely destroyed by 2024 if Trump wins reelection, but it’s all uphill from there. Point One for Silverstein.

3/ ES: Bernie would die in office. Total conjecture! Who’s to say? 

KS reply: That’s conjecture. Point two for Silverstein.

4/ ES: Trump might destroy things irreparably. He’s already wrecking the ecosystem irreparably, wrecking the courts almost beyond repair, killing people, encouraging police violence, Border Patrol and ICE violence… It’s one thing to throw up your hands and say nothing can be done. It’s another to offer actual support to the racist rapist Trump.

KS reply: That’s all correct, but see Number 2, a point I won. Let’s call this round a draw.

5/ ES: Trump hasn’t started a war so far. That’s a reason to support him, we’re told. But he’s almost started a few, and has plenty of time to start several. Moreover, his ordinary policies amount to war against the environment, ramped up class war, and even race war. No leftist should support any of this.

KS reply: Fine. Point two for Sperber.

6/ ES: Again with Bernie… But, even if Bernie can’t win, why support Trump? Why embrace him? 

KS reply: Elliot, you’re repeating yourself. Point three for Silverstein.

Point 7: Let’s not bother, I concede on this one. Point three for Sperber.

Point 8: ES: Ken wants to see radical change. But he’s confused if he thinks that radical change will be coming from the Democratic Party; no matter what kind of imagery they employ, they’re a capitalist party. And capitalism is structurally determined to exploit everything and subordinate everything to the profit of the rich. With its big property owners controlling every social policy and every aspect of daily life this isn’t just inimical to a classless society; it’s contrary to the basic requirements of an actually democratic society as well.

KS reply: I totally agree with that and have often argued the same thing. But I do really admire Omar and sure, AOC isn’t perfect, but I’m really glad that the other day she called immigrant “detention camps” by their true name, concentration camps. That was huge. In any case, I basically agree with you Elliot, but capitalism isn’t going to be smashed in the next four years, it will take longer. My Dream Team of Omar/AOC — and I concede that it’s literally a dream — would be RADICAL change versus what we have now, or any previous administration in U.S. history. So fine, my argument is a statistical impossibility but I’m calling this Point 4 for Silverstein.

Final score, KS 4, ES 3, one draw. End of story.

Unless, Elliot, you’d like to write a follow up. People get smarter by hearing opposing points of view, and that why Washington Babylon publishes a broad range of opinions, but always radical, never, ever, conventional.

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