The Anti-Trump Coalition Will be Biden’s Biggest Problem | Jake Scott
I am prepared, at this stage, to concede that Joe Biden will win the Presidency (even if President Donald Trump will not). So, we need to consider what the reality of a Joe Biden presidency will look like and, especially, what his problems will be.
The whole world looks at the American election because the whole world is affected. It is in the interest of the whole world that the American political system functions, as so much is connected to the decisions taken in Washington; and America is in a very, very fractious position. This is not likely to go away, even with an election ‘settling’ the question for four years – but of course, you already know that. What makes matters worse for our (very likely) President Biden is the fractious nature of the Democrats as well.
For the last four years, the Democrats have been held together by their common enemy. Now, however, it looks very likely that Donald Trump is going to vacate the White House; his own fortunes are to be discussed elsewhere, from whether he will be arrested to running in 2024. What I am concerned with – and we all should be, if I am right that the whole world is affected – is how Biden is going to navigate a presidency.
This might sound strange – indeed, the Democrats are on to win the House of Representatives as well as the Senate, though the latter is less determinate right now. With a Democrat dominated Congress, it makes it generally likely that the next two years at least will be plain-sailing for President Biden. Except, the problem lies in the Democrats’ broad polarisation now.
One key group within the Democrats now is the famed ‘squad’, made up (primarily) of New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, and Massachusetts’s Ayanna Pressley. This progressive, very liberal group of ‘WoC’ (women of colour) now heads what the Evening Standard has called the ‘super squad’, which includes in its number Pramila Jyapal (Washington), Mark Pocan (Wisconsin), Jamaal Bowman (New York), Cori Bush (Wisconsin), and Marie Newman (Wisconsin).
This ‘squad’ is remarkably progressive, calling for defunding the police, vaguely defined ‘abortion rights’, abolishing the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a $15 minimum wage, and ‘Medicare for all’. Biden has made overtures to this group, with his choice of Kamala Harris for Vice President, a fellow ‘woman of colour’, who famously tweeted in the days before the election that she stood for equity, not equality, but a look at Harris’ history as District Attorney in San Francisco shows she isn’t the ‘progressive prosecutor’ she claimed to be.
There’s a big difference between equality and equity. pic.twitter.com/n3XfQyjLNe— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 1, 2020
And Biden himself will come unstuck on such a problem. The 1994 bill that he supported, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, resulted in the mass-incarceration of black citizens (mostly men) for low-level drug offences. The attempt to fight the drug problem in America is respectable, but the manner in which this war was fought was discriminatory and prejudicial. If this history is indicative of Biden’s own instincts on crime prevention and prosecution – which runs deeply counter to the squad’s – then he is not going to maintain their support on such an issue.
These problems are not going to disappear with Donald Trump; if anything, they are likely to get worse. Antifa and BLM are not the sort of organisations that are opposed to Donald Trump, but are opposed to the fundamental structures of Western civilisation, of which the United States of America and its constitution is the apotheosis. As the Black Lives Matter movement will no doubt continue to challenge the methods of policing in the United States – the very methods both Biden and Harris have supported and enhanced in their careers – no doubt the rioting will return, and when they do, Biden and Harris will clash with their progressive colleagues.