A look ahead what might come next
From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2020 by Uwe Bahr
American political scientist Allan Lichtman predicted the outcome of each presidential election since 1984 correctly, when Ronald Reagan won his second term. According to Lichtman, Donald Trump will be the first president since George H. W. Bush in 1992 not winning reelection. But, it would be a surprise if any outcome of the 2020 race would allow the country to calm down. Instead, times of even more unrest seem imminent.
In the event of Donald Trump nevertheless winning reelection, the country will probably, if not certainly continue on its wavering course as a banana republic – a circus neither taken seriously by thinking fellow US citizens nor anywhere else in the rest of the world. Four more years of Trump will dangerously amplify social injustice, fume a ubiquitous racism and thereby deepen the divide between Americans even further, making life a horror for many people of different skin color and different thoughts – especially in less educated regions of the United States. The commencement toward a calamitous development of government-controlled deception and encroachments not authorized by legislature but enthusiastically welcomed by the political right, was already observable during the past summer months – not too different anymore from what I have seen in the East German (socialistic!) dictatorship a few decades ago.*
Should Joe Biden come out as winner – and given his advanced age Kamala Harris should be intentionally mentioned here –, the tone coming from the White House, no doubt, will return to a civilized level. Allies in the world will feel relieved and the United States’ reputation will revert to the normal. The country will recommit itself to central problems facing all mankind pressingly and darkly, like the fact of man-induced global warming. The United States will also return as the respected leader to the table of the international community. In other words: It will be back to the status of fact that no country in today’s world is capable of going its own way by sheering out from the global community whenever it seems convenient. There is no America first, as there is no other country first. America needs the world, and the world needs America.
Domestically, Biden and Harris first of all face a rampant pandemic with frightening prospects for the coming winter months. In the presence of a tremendous crises, it remains to be seen if enough room for maneuver is left to tackle other primary problems. If there is, team Biden might move a few things around from here to there. They might even patch up some shortcomings to the advantage of the little guy. In terms of health care, many people presumably should be in better aid than under Donald Trump.
But Biden/Harris will not effectively attack the cardinal American sin that John Adams in his worst nightmares saw coming more than two hundred years ago: They will not curb the super-rich living at the cost of the rest, they will not shift the blatant inequity in wealth toward a more balanced and bearable level to benefit all Americans. They will also not touch greedy corporations decisively, not to mention dare regulating them in terms of workers’ rights – for any such provisions will stand in the way of the ruthless profiteer’s lone interest and their legalized entanglements with the machinations of American politics. Biden/Harris will more than likely not cap the profit margin of Health Care Insurance Companies to leave money in the pockets of the general public, and they will never even think of touching the country’s most popular, upfront bill dodger: the churches.
Aside from that, the worst-case scenario I fear most hopefully will never happen. For that much seems clear: Even in case of a Biden victory, resentments among Americans will not disappear. The United States, with all the guns, racists, denialists, propagandists, and conspiracy theorists out there, is far from becoming a peaceful country. Horror fills the mind if one imagines the unthinkable: that in the sign of a worsening corona crises the country would find itself on the verge of civil war-like conditions.
*If there is anything comparable at all in America with socialism that I have witnessed while once have lived myself in a pseudo-socialistic system, it were the scenes of 1 June, 2020, in Washington DC, transmitted via the media. I no longer trusted my eyes when armored vehicles in a “free country” were slowly rolling towards peaceful protesters to remove them from Lafayette Square and surrounding streets, so President Trump in a histrionic gesture could hold up a Bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church. On that day and in front of the world, the Trump administration revealed shocking dictatorial traits, in effect similar to a system of government observable in some countries in Latin America, Africa, or currently Belarus.