Sam Tanenhaus on ‘Trump’s Downfall’. Political Observer comments

What is most interesting or compelling about Sam Tanenhaus’ essay at Prospect is not that it adheres to the standard bourgeois political chatter, even his talent as writer/storyteller can’t rescue this essay from being just standard. But here the reader encounters an almost nonsequiteur, but its length leaves the reader just non-plused as to what it might be or represent. Except perhaps a maladroit attempt to recycle part of another essay?

For Biden to win alone was not enough. A Democratic victory, to be meaningful, had to be complete—a presidential landslide, with the sort of truly crushing popular vote lead that translated into the capture of several Republican citadels and a rout in the electoral college plus, and of far greater practical importance, a regained majority in the Senate. Only then might they draw up in bold outline and vivid colour the programmes they envisioned and excitedly whispered about: universal health care, a much higher minimum wage, reduced or even free college tuition, racial justice (including, possibly, some form of reparations for African Americans), science-driven climate policy. This was the “new” New Deal that Biden was said to be ready to enact, drawing on the most innovative ideas circulating on his party’s progressive wing. Biden would be the “old guy” bipartisan compromiser in a restored world of “who cares who gets the credit” concord—the inverse of the transactional deal-making huckster Trump—while the youthful advance guard, including Congressional stars like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, would sweep the country onto a bold new path.

And there was more—the dream of making America a bigger and more genuine democracy through structural changes: admitting Puerto Rico and Washington, DC to the Union as full states with Senate seats; eliminating the notorious Senate filibuster (to end Republican obstructionism); and doing away with the electoral college and its over-representation of sparsely populated hinterland states. All this was not likely to happen under Biden, but could under his anointed successor. Vice President Kamala Harris is 56, and with her degree from Howard, the crown of America’s “historically black” universities, and her wardrobe of Spandex leggings and Converse sneakers, is the charismatic new face and voice of a party whose future lies in commanding the loyalty of Millennials and Generation Z.

The November result ended that dream. *

This labored hypothetical, at its end, presents the Kamala Harris of the jailing the parents of truant children, of the de facto pardon of Steve Mnuchin, AIPAC groveler, and the well deserved pillaging of the sclerotic Biden, as something other that another New Democrat on the make. Although this reader must congratulate that Harris, who fed the shit to Senile Old Joe!

Mr. Tanenhaus would have been wise to close his essay with this bit of political kitsch, rather than more of The Ring-Master Trump hyperbole, as if it were needed.

America has had beloved presidents. Grown men wept when the caskets of slain Abraham Lincoln and John F Kennedy rolled past, felt a hole in their lives when Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan died. There are those for whom the brightest moment in the past year was the return of Barack Obama, with his piercing wit and flashes of humor, his manner that mingles the wisdom of the college professor with the joy of the pulpit orator.

Political Observer


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About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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