Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
In a week America goes to the polls, and by normal standards Donald Trump should be reelected, whether in a squeaker like 1968, when Richard Nixon won by half a million votes; or a landslide like 1972, when he beat left-leaning George McGovern by 18 million votes and won every state except Massachusetts.
But these are not normal times. Addled by the Trump-hatred virus, the Dems have been taken over by its progressive-socialist wing, a possibility that at the beginning of the year during the primaries had spooked the Democrat establishment as it had in the 2016 election when it undermined Bernie Sanders. They knew that such a leftward lurch goes before an electoral fall. Now it seems they’ve put all their chips on an old white guy with little to show for nearly half a century in “public service” other than a family with more money than his Senate salary can possibly account for.
Perhaps the Pelosi-Schumer axis thinks that if Biden’s elected they can control Joe and their Sandernista base, and tone down its left-wing utopian wish-list of the Green New Deal, free college tuition for all, the elimination of carbon-based energy, punitive tax-rates, a return to a foreign policy of appeasement, an increased government role in health care, and policies like reparations and “police reform” based on preposterous, racialist ideas like “systemic racism” and “implicit bias.” Most average Democrats would be content just to return to the Obama days of redistribution at home, and retreat abroad.
After Russian Collusion, Ukrainian Quid Pro Quo, and rote smears like “racist” and “xenophobe” failed to bring Trump down, progressives looked to the pandemic to provide a crisis they would not let go to waste, and used it to further their goal of more government control, and as a way to serially blame Trump for “mishandling” the pandemic. Then when the mobs rioted and looted in “peaceful protests,” perhaps they thought that the country was ready to look favorably on a more socialist political-economic order. All of this was aided by Trump’s alleged unpopularity based on brash, street-fighting rhetoric that the Dems were not used to hearing from respectable establishment Donks who had grown comfortable with being decorous losers.
So over the summer Joe Biden, when he left his basement to actually campaign, endorsed the policy prescriptions that the party traditionally feared as ballot-box poison. With nearly unanimous support from the mainstream media, they felt confident about managing Joe’s obvious cognitive decline, and shoved down the memory hole his record of grift, influence peddling, egregious insults to blacks, wacky gaffes, outright lies, and unseemly handling of girls and women. Sequestering him for days on end and endlessly drilling him on his debate scripts––and perhaps adding some chemical enhancement like Adderall––they thought he could be dragged over the finish line. Then, after a decent interval, they could use the 25th Amendment to put him out to pasture and replaced him with Kamala Harris, mollifying the lefties with historic “first black woman president” balm.
By any rational calculation, this campaign plan should be a recipe for losing. For a while, the Dems seemed to agree, and retreated from some of the more radical policies. But during last week’s debate, Biden didn’t back off the crazy Bernie/AOC proposals that once made the Dems tremble. He endorsed higher taxes, more government control of health care, and a war on fracking and fossil fuels. All are blueprints for an economic disaster of enormous magnitude.
Take the proposal to add a public option to Obamacare. As the Wall Street Journal has reported, given the inevitable pressure from voters to keep premiums low despite rising costs, “a politically realistic public option would increase 10-year federal deficits by almost $800 billion. Over the long term, it would become the third-largest government program—accounting for one-eighth of future spending excluding interest on the debt.” Tax hikes, including, payroll taxes, on every family would be necessary for avoiding the federal debt eventually consuming more than 30% of GDP. This increase would come after the Coronavirus stimulus has already added $3 trillion currently pushing total debt to 100% of GDP, which would be on track to reach 150% by 2050 if Biden’s proposals become law.
Then there are Biden’s other tax hikes. According to a Hoover Institution study, the Wall Street Journal writes, if Biden’s hikes are implemented just as the economy is bouncing back from the Coronavirus lockdown, “there would be 4.9 million fewer working Americans, $2.6 trillion less in GDP, and $6,500 less in median household income.” And don’t forget the additional costs of converting our automobiles from fossil fuels to electricity. “The electrification of most passenger cars,” the Journal notes, “would increase the per capita demand for electric power by 25% even as more than 70% of baseline electric power from fossil fuels would go offline. Bridging this supply-demand gulf would require enormous subsidies and far more investment and labor to achieve the same energy output. Mr. Biden’s energy plans would cut total factor productivity by 1%-2% across the entire economy.”
And that’s not all the costs of converting all our energy to so-called renewables. As the Heartland Institutes’ Paul Driessen has documented, the number of wind-turbines, solar panels, and batteries made from mining rare earth metals needed to generate 8.2 megawatts of energy a year in equivalent energy would entail enormous costs in acquisition and construction, not to mention the disposal of non-renewable worn-out infrastructure like the “nearly 19 billion solar panels, blanketing an area the size of New York and Vermont” that would be necessary for eliminating fossil fuels. And those costs don’t include the batteries and charging stations needed to run all automobiles on electricity. In addition to the damage to wildlife and the environment that comes from disposal and mining, we should also acknowledge the human price being paid in places like Congo, where 40,000 children are used to mine the cobalt used in electric batteries.
Finally, despite lying about his promises to eliminating fracking, Biden has gone on record numerous times pledging to do so. This revolutionary method for extracting once inaccessible oil and natural gas has turned the U.S. into the world’s biggest exporter of oil, accounting for nearly 20% of world production. The geopolitical and domestic benefits of this energy self-sufficiency have been enormous, not the least being neutralizing the oil weapon of petrostates. Outlawing this transformative technology would considerably damage our economy and our geopolitical clout.
That’s what the Dems are promising. On the other side, here’s just a few of Trump’s first term achievements: reviving the economy from its Obama-Biden sluggish recovery, historic highs in the stock market, increases in earnings and productivity, historic decreases in unemployment for blacks, new manufacturing jobs, and tax cuts stimulating the economy. If, as James Carville once said about elections, “It’s the economy, stupid,” Trump should prevail over Biden and his growth-killing utopian fantasies.
And don’t forget Trump’s reform of the federal judiciary by appointing over 200 federal judges, including two and likely a third originalist to the Supreme Court who will slow down the decades-long assault on the Constitution and our unalienable rights. Or his stunning foreign policy achievement in brokering the normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan, a triumph that in normal times would make him a shoo-in for the Nobel Peace Prize.
But again, these are not normal times. Illiberal racialist ideologies have taken over many of our institutions beyond the schools, popular entertainment, and high culture, where versions of the Black Lives Matter and Green New Deal dogma have existed for decades. The legacy media, which once at least tried to hide its biases, have dropped all pretenses to objectivity and come out as full-throated cheerleaders and spin-doctors for the progressive Democrats, as illustrated by the blatant bias of the two Presidential Debate moderators. Professional sports, once the emblem of American achievement and character, has signed off on displaying, and paying homage to BLM agitprop. Federal agencies, presumably working for the American people under a Chief Executive the people elected, now work as fifth columnists undermining the president in between reeducation sessions on “racial sensitivity.” Blue state governors and mayors have pulled back the police in the face of violent riots, looting, and arson, and are proposing reducing their police forces’ funding. And many mainline churches, including some Catholic Churches, have thrown in with the “woke” left no matter how contrary to Christian orthodoxy.
All these factions have been arrayed against Donald Trump and Republicans for four years. They have thrown against the President illegal special counsel investigations, impeachment, patent lies and smears in once venerable media, kid-glove treatment of Democrats, and riots, looting, and arson in the streets of major cities, all in an effort to cancel the 2016 election, and fix the next on Nov. 3.
So the question remains: Are a critical mass of voters willing to ignore Trump’s achievements, and to risk the profound damage a Biden administration would inflict on our nation? Or is America’s common sense and national principles of freedom and self-rule still strong enough to stop our “fundamental transformation”?
The dice are rolling, and our country is at stake.