American Voters Mired in Déjà Vu

Donald Trump has a multifaceted and sprawling grip on the Republican sphere and its machine.

It is a grip on the majority of Republican voters as confirmed by the Super Tuesday primaries in 15 states, followed by Nikki Haley’s announcement the following morning that she was finally withdrawing from the Republican presidential race.

It is a grip on the Republican Party, itself, as two of Trump’s henchmen are set to take over the Republican National Committee whose board, it should be remembered, believes the attack on the Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021, constituted “legitimate political discourse.“

It is a grip on the two houses of Congress — in the House of Representatives, where a handful of MAGA lawmakers manage to impose their rule through a strategy of nuisance; and in the Senate where the Trumpist minority, soon to be rid of former Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell due to poor health, intends to make itself a force to be reckoned with.

Lastly, it is a grip, through an ideological marriage of convenience, on the conservative majority of the Supreme Court, which has just made itself doubly useful for Trump: first, by ruling last week rejecting the Colorado Supreme Court decision disqualifying Trump from the ballot in the state’s primary. Then, and most importantly, by delaying its ruling on the question of “presidential immunity,” which further delays the trial on charges connected with Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election results.

Eight months to the day from the Nov. 5 general election, Americans Tuesday faced polls showing Trump and Joe Biden running neck and neck with Trump showing a slight lead. Between Trump and his delusional mind, and Biden, who is fooling no one as he tries to show that his advanced age is not slowing him down, the rematch imposed upon weary voters does not show signs of a healthy democracy.

Although the Democratic primaries also crowned Biden as the party’s nominee and the sole contender by margins no less sensational than Trump’s, the apparent clarity of the results is deceptive. Fundamentally, this “Super Tuesday” raises as many questions as it answers, and it once more portends an extremely tight election.

Trump’s simplistic populist approach clearly delivers. His disciples revere his sense of victimhood and vengefulness. His appalling anti-immigrant comments are a war cry. He scores points over Biden on the always thorny issue of inflation. A certain collective amnesia overshadows the chaos of his presidency, and a fringe group of independent voters who supported Biden in 2020 is now willing to switch sides. In terms of his campaign finances, he may soon be able to count on Elon Musk’s billions.

The big question remaining for Nov. 5 is who will the 30% of voters who supported Nikki Haley — the independents and more moderate Republicans in cities and suburbs — vote for in November, if they do so at all, as Haley did not officially endorse Trump Wednesday morning when she suspended her campaign. The small state of Vermont, the only state Haley won, is a sign of the former president’s vulnerabilities at the national level.

On the Democratic side, Biden’s age, 81, is becoming a major issue for a number of Americans, including some Democrats, despite the fact that his opponent, in something that would be an otherwise crucial element, is an unstable man facing 91 felony criminal charges; and the fact that the American economy is, after all, back on its feet, and commendable social and environmental policies have been championed under his presidency.

There are nevertheless undeniable questions on the ability of the Democratic machine to build the broad coalition that allowed Biden to win in 2020, particularly among younger members of the progressive wing of the party. It is a challenge made evident by the scale of the “uncommitted” vote registered in several states, notably Michigan and Minnesota, in protest of the White House’s blind support of Israel. If a fraction of voters in the Democratic coalition abstains on Nov. 5, votes for a third-party candidate or even yields to Republican siren calls, this desertion could change the outcome in states where the presidential election will be very close.

It is in this complicated and divisive context that Biden, with whom the Democrats stand, though not without question, will deliver his last State of the Union address before the election to Congress Thursday night. It is an exercise in which he will inevitably raise the specter of the Trumpist threat while driving home the themes of his election campaign – in a speech where those Americans listening to him are likely to pay less attention to the remarks than to any lack of aplomb from the man delivering them.

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About Reg Moss 115 Articles
Reg is a writer, teacher, and translator with an interest in social issues especially as pertains to education and matters of race, class, gender, immigration, etc.

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