Fortunately, Donald Trump’s irresponsible management of the pandemic, as well as lessons learned by the Democratic Party from the 2016 defeat, promise a major victory for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
No, I am not exaggerating. In the 21st century, fascist populism and tyrannical authoritarianism do not have to have the same trappings or take the same form they did in Nazi Germany or Mussolini’s Italy. It is enough that they are both guided by the pursuit of an individual. And that, when confronted by the self-proclaimed grandiosity of that quest, liberal democracy becomes a hindrance that must be weakened and eventually destroyed. They do not necessarily look to eliminate the Jewish race, although there are growing signs of anti-Semitism in the United States and even in our country. This time it may be women who are to be subjugated, humiliated and have their rights curtailed — or Mexicans or Blacks or “others.”
In January 1933, following the election success of his National Socialist Party, Adolf Hitler consolidated his power as chancellor. In March, he gained approval for a law that repealed the separation of powers, thereby giving him the authority to pass laws without legislative approval.
The election of Donald Trump in 2016 — despite the disaster his administration has been — had and has even now the virtue of providing an X-ray of the framework that sustains American democracy and shows its weaknesses.
In his magnificent book, “On Tyranny,” Timothy Snyder analyzes the written and especially the unwritten agreements upon which American democracy is based, and how the Republican Party, especially from 1994-1995 onward, ignored and violated informal agreements, the “guardrails” or democratic limits to which both parties adhere, and built an ultramilitant right-leaning movement — until Trump’s unexpected victory in 2016.
Fortunately, the pandemic and Trump’s irresponsible management of it, as well as lessons learned by the Democratic Party from the 2016 defeat, promise a major victory for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Additionally, it signals that they will maintain a majority in the House of Representatives and will likely gain a majority in the Senate, no telling how strong. But had it not been for the pandemic, this election could have been the 1933 of American democracy. Once winning reelection is no longer a concern, a second Trump presidency would not hesitate to accelerate its destructive agenda.
From this perspective, I think about the importance of a resounding defeat for the Trump administration. Ironically, it can be a major victory in terms of strengthening the democratic project internationally at a time when not all the cards will be played in Mexico’s favor.
I don’t mean that Biden is going to take revenge for the open support that the current Mexican government gave Trump’s reelection; faced with the challenges that the next president faces, I can’t imagine such pettiness coming from him. And as for the top Mexican officials and businesspeople who supported Trump, I think the eternal shame for those who attended an infamous dinner at the White House is sufficient punishment.
Trump’s defeat will be good for the world, but we will have to make use of all the diplomatic skills amassed inside and outside the government to prevent certain aspects of the trade and fiscal policy announced by Biden’s campaign from hurting Mexico.
In his Buy America fact sheet, Biden’s campaign announced a 30.8% tax on the profits of U.S. companies producing outside the U.S. This tax will also apply to call centers or services of U.S. companies located abroad but which are providing service in the U.S., something not very different from what Trump initially announced. Biden also announced penalties and regulations for companies that invest outside the U.S. and will deny tax deductions to companies that create jobs outside the U.S.
How much of this contradicts the agreements contained in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which is already difficult for Mexico, and how much of it is campaign rhetoric? We don’t know, but we will soon. And we will also know whether the 2021 budget will take into account these enormous difficulties for the most dynamic sector of the economy or, as has been the case, will be blind to reality.