Be afraid, be very afraid
Today I begin with this statement.
"Politics should be about a coherent policy offering to the electorate, in search of a mandate to govern. Instead the GOP wants to set American against American in a cauldron of racism and division. This is not politics, it’s a cancer at the heart of the Democratic process."
In a country which has been sedated and slept through the normalisation of lies and corrupt intent. Millions have fell victim to a political party that has decided that autocracy is the answer to all America's ills. As a result, we are starting to see the shoots of a whole new campaign of deception and fear, as the GOP begin to introduce a narrative to challenge the right to vote by anyone who might deny them power in 2022.
Over the next few months, the US economy will start to roar as confidence returns. As the bulk of the population is vaccinated, Biden will start to see the political benefits of the hard work his administration has put in in its first 100 days. With million of checks issued to help struggling families, a highly successful vaccination program delivering 200 million vaccinations even before his first 100 days, Biden and his team has a great deal to be proud of. This is clearly reflected in his current poll numbers. He has remained over the 50% mark throughout his first 100 days, which given the challenges he has faced, is no mean achievement.
Despite his heavy focus on dealing with the pandemic, Biden has also reasserted the US position on the global stage. Tony Blinken has done a great job drawing some lines in the sand with China and Russia, to leave them in no doubt that this is a new era of US foreign policy. With new ambitious climate change proposals and the rejoining of the Paris Climate Agreement, the administration is taking important steps forward, demonstrating leadership on important global issues. A return to grownup politics in what has been for the last 4 years, a nationalist temper tantrum from an ill-informed idiot. Biden is more than aware that the pandemic is a global problem, not just one for America. Unless the US is prepared to close its borders, it will run the risk of importing a foreign variant of Covid 19 that is resistant to current vaccines. With this in mind, there must be a global strategy to address the fact that for example, India has lost control and is now in the midst of catastrophic crisis, in which their healthcare system has collapsed and they have literally run out of oxygen.
It was always going to be, that developed economies would be the first to benefit from a vaccine. However, it is shortsighted beyond belief to think that you can just look after your own, in a world where economic growth and prosperity is dependent on partner and developing economies. The good news is, Biden and his team are awake to the potential issues and are working hard to factor in strategies to respond moving forward.
Without doubt, Biden will be the beneficiary of an economic revival. The faster he gets the population vaccinated, the quicker he can fire up the economy and realise its potential in the new world order. The American Rescue Plan has effectively primed the economic engine in preparation to press the go button. If he is then able to dovetail infrastructure into this forward motion, he really is off to the races. It also has the added advantage of presenting an opportunity to banish the GOP to the political wilderness by delivering new jobs, repairs ageing infrastructure and bringing affordable high speed Internet to every home in America. It is a compelling offering and the GOP are very aware of the damage this will do to their electoral prospects in 2022.
So before I get to the 'be very afraid' part of this conversation, this positive outlook is NOT a pipe dream, it is an easily attainable goal if you have a political system that focusses on 'We the people'. The harsh reality is, politics in the US right now, is on the verge of being terminally corrupt. Anyone in America that thinks the world looks to the US as a shining beacon of democracy needs to seek medical help. It is more likely that failed states look up to it as an example of how to divide and conquer. Other western democracies look on in horror at the actions of the Republican Party and its tacit support of autocracy and white supremacy. They know Biden is the man for the job and admire his commitment to transformational change. The problem is, they won't fully commit, because they are not sure yet if he's just an acting caretaker for the lunatic right.
Politics has always been a dirty game. Creative license with the truth and half truths have been part and parcel of global politics, let alone US politics. However, Trump changed all that. He realised the awesome power of lies and deception. Not the usual half truths, but total distortion of the the truth, where you are promoting a parallel set of alternative facts, based on out and out lies. During his tenure in the White House, Trump perpetrated a criminal deception on a nation that seemed powerless to act. We will likely never know the extent of his crimes, but the end result is, the GOP now has a blueprint for political chaos that has been tried and tested in the field.
I jest not when I say America is at a crossroads in history. Down one road there is a more inclusive, more equitable society in which everyone has a share of its success. A society where the vulnerable are protected and no family is left behind. Down the other, is a Darwinistic path in which only the strong survive, there is no regulatory framework to protect the environment and no safety net for the vulnerable. A society in which racism is a fire that constantly burns, fuelling the type of racial hatred last on display in the 1950s, where law enforcement has free pass to brutalise people of color with impunity.
America has reached a point where the Republican Party can no longer win elections full stop. Their base is simply not big enough. Not only that, it has shifted so far to the right that this has turned off independent voters, who's ranks have been swelled by disaffected moderate Republicans. The churches are losing young congregation members faster than Ron Johnson is losing braincells, so the christian evangelical vote is beginning to collapse too. Everywhere they turn, a door is closing. If you add to that, changing racial demographics and it all spells disaster. As a result, the only option the GOP has, is to disenfranchise opposition voters, then supporting autocracy if they can crawl over the electoral finish line.
There is no Republican policy offering, so no attempt is being made to appeal to voters by saying what they will do to make the lives of Americans better. Instead, they deliver a constant stream of negative narratives that say the Democrats are destroying America or replacing white voters. Last time I looked, there was no market crash, job numbers are on the increase, hard pressed families have received their Covid relief money, the US is well on its way to vaccinating it's population and plans are in place to fire up the economy. It's not for nothing that the right is promoting the anti-vax messaging, it's another attempt at creating disruption for the administration. Even at the risk of killing people, the likes of Ron Johnson are making vaccination an infringement on civil liberties. He knows exactly what he's doing, as do many of his colleagues.
This new fiasco of 'auditing' votes in Maricopa County six months after the result was certified, is the first of what looks set to be a carefully orchestrated propaganda campaign. It is yet another attempt to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the 2020 election. Far from being non-partisan, the firm carrying out the so called audit, Cyber Ninjas (no that's not a made up name, although they are good at making up facts), has no expertise in this area and has already previously claimed Trump won the state by 200,000 votes. It's a made for social media event, that will raise cash whilst at the same time sowing seeds of doubt in election integrity. Most right minded Americans will see this for what it is, but those this exercise is directed at, will soak it up and be fired up by it. The GOP know the exercise will have no legal standing, that's fine by them, it will grab the news cycle and reignite the big lie, which is their objective.
These are just the early skirmishes in what looks set to be a bloody and prolonged war for control of both houses in 2022. The GOP will throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. It's the beginning of a battle for hearts and minds and the Republican objective is fear, accompanied by a completely false narrative. The question is, will American voters buy what they are selling?