With the entry of Delaware senator and former Vice-President Joe Biden into the arena, the presidential race in our neighboring country promises a huge confrontation, power to power, between the Democrats and the Republicans.
No wonder. So far, President Donald Trump has overcome everyone in his rise to power, having benefited from the illegal activity of the Russians and their representatives in discrediting the campaign of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. He emerged unscathed from the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who strangely was not able to provide documentary evidence of the elephant in the room, visible in the Russian connection, through dealings with emissaries and spies, the investigation leading to the conviction of campaign manager Paul Manafort, the meetings in the Trump Tower with members of his family, the firing of FBI Director James Comey for not being cooperative, the split with attorney Michael Cohen for payoffs to certain extramarital partners, and a long list of et ceteras.
There all form a constellation of abuses and irregularities that, in the non-social media era, would surely have merited impeachment. Therefore, if the imperial presidency has demonstrated anything, it is a lack of respect for the Constitution and the laws when they conflict with the delirium of power.
This is different from the era of Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton – who both faced impeachment – because then, the press and electronic media were truly the Fourth Estate, which directed public opinion and constituted the guide for political behavior.
Now, however, the social media, with its high speed and pervasiveness, and dominated by whoever has the most time and certain resources for disinformation and distortions of reality, surrender to someone like President Trump – skilled at managing post-truth and “alternative facts,” whose Twitter account is well aimed and scathing – who discredits and demolishes anyone he has to confront. Combined with the alliance between the dominant Wall Street consortia and those industries threatened by clean technology, Trump struts around as the defender of a United States threatened by open borders and free trade.
Nationalist protectionism, which uses the slogan “Make America Great Again” to encourage the persecution of immigrants and the extortion of Mexico, gave him his current electoral base, between 35% and 40% of the possible vote.
In light of that situation, the Democrats face various challenges. First, they must emerge united from the primary elections which have already begun. According to a survey from RealClearPolitics, of the 20 aspiring candidates, at least five have what it takes to fight for the nomination. Seventy-six-year-old Joe Biden has the Obama glow, with 30% of the possible vote. He is followed by Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont, and glorified as the choice of young voters. Further behind are Sen. Kamala Harris from California, with 8.3% of the vote, Sen. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts with 6.5%, and the popular Beto O’Rourke, who came close to defeating the Republican Ted Cruz in Texas, with 6.3%.
The second challenge in resolving the primary unknowns will be constructing a platform that can withstand the venom and corrosion that Trump breathes into social media. It seems unlikely that Congress will vote for impeachment for obstructing justice — which is what the Mueller report successfully demonstrated. So, for this reason the contest will be about whether Trump deserves to continue his presidency. This is what Biden, Sanders, Harris, Warren, O’Rourke and other Democrats will have to confront: whether they allow their country to remain in its current medieval shadow, or return it to being a nation capable of propelling the world with humanism, innovation, skills, and setting an example.