For someone living in the United Kingdom, the American Democratic primary debates looked very familiar, and almost cathartic. American politics used to be more muscular and substantive compared to contemporary performative and broadly procedural British politics.
The British parliament and Foreign Office work essentially like glorified nongovernmental organizations. Members of Parliament get theatrical, even weeping, talking about LGBT issues in the chambers where Winston Churchill and Lord Palmerston once sat deciding the fate of the world. The current elites of the country that gave the world Victorian stoicism and the World War-era slogan “Keep calm and carry on” have been reduced to wilting flowers, capable of being wounded at the slightest, and only concerned with what affects the politics of their loins.
This is a husk of a once-glorious superpower that lost its status completely due to their ruling class, and deservedly so. The elite has lost pride in their own nation. The leaders of men utter mindless mediocrities, and foreign policy is decided by emotive public opinion and mob-rule.
American politics used to be different. Well, not anymore, after what I observed during the Democratic Party’s first two primary debates. One of the many reasons Donald Trump won was that current Western political discourse is so self-defeating and emasculated that a section of the populace instinctively reacted by bringing forth a Leviathan. You won’t see such frivolous political debate anywhere other than the Anglosphere, where so much time is spent on utterly meaningless issues like what pronouns to address whom with, or whether abortion should be a free health care for transgender males.
I am a foreign policy guy, and I didn’t hear a single question about what should be the broader Western grand-strategy with regards to China, how to tackle the rise of the European Union as a rival power that is disintegrating European peace, or about growing competition over space, artificial intelligence, and genetics.
Did you know that by 2100 (three generations from now), Africa and Asia will have a population of more than 7 billion, whereas the combined population of Europe, North America, and Australia will be around 1.2 billion? This will lead the world towards a resource strain that, unless thought and acted upon, might result in a global conflict unlike anything ever in human history. That was not discussed in a party that focuses on climate change so much. The second debate did not even merit a question about possible war in Iran. It was a disappointing show of late-republic complacency.
There’s no point in rehashing the topics already covered in these pages. Here are, however, three significant observations about what occurred that will shape American politics in the future.
1. Democrats Are a Socialist Party Now
Despite the valiant effort by a few Midwestern Democratic candidates, whose names I can’t even remember after a good night’s sleep, this is not the Democratic Party of the 1990s. Joe Biden, the forerunner, looked like a nonagenarian propped up by the willpower of the nation’s establishment in the ever-fading hope of going back to the famously bipartisan days of, er, Barack Obama.
For all practical purposes, however, Biden is a thing of the past. He might still win the nomination. After all, Hillary Clinton won the nomination as well. But he is a creature of a different era. His political instincts are all 30 years too late, and there’s one sin in a political candidate that’s worse than looking ignorant in public: looking confused.
Biden’s two classic gimmicks are looking righteously enraged and looking smugly condescending, and neither is working anymore. This is a world Biden created with his pal Obama. The same identity politics that is eating Biden’s candidacy is a creation of his own party politics over the last two decades. Whatever one might feel for an old ideologue whose revolution is finally eating him alive, sympathy is perhaps not one emotion.
Interestingly enough, the Democratic policy positions reflect that the party is, in all but name, a party of socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders. There’s an irony in that. Sanders is a shadow of 2016, and will not win the nomination. Leftists all over the world prefer the cult of the youth over wisdom, maturity, and merit, and Sanders is like an old jalopy compared to the sleek new Alexandria Ocasio-Cortezes of the party.
In the Soviet Union, someone like Sanders would have been forced to retire in a Dacha. But a party that even five years back, under Obama, opposed mass migration is now practically open borders in all but name. Not just that, most of the candidates agreed to decriminalize migration, provide taxpayer-paid health care to illegal aliens, and further tax the middle class, with some of them going as far as suggesting acquiring guns through force and providing “free” health care and student debt bailouts. One third-tier imbecile even quoted Che Guevara—in Miami, of all places.
Sooner or later, a split is coming, like with the Labour Party in the UK, when moderate Dems will have to decide whether to live under the new order. The United States, like the United Kingdom, remains a center-right country, with the common people a mostly average, family-oriented middle class. A country that is broadly center-right, but where the media, academia, and one political party of two is completely captured and dominated by the left, inevitably leads to a disproportionate reaction.
2. Foreign Policy Is a Neglected Subject
One would have imagined the Russia hysteria would have propelled the Democrat rank and file to be more interested in foreign policy. It appears not much. The two individuals who were the most impressive in this respect (despite their other policy problems) were Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, for at least wanting to talk about foreign policy. Pete was eclipsed by his race relation issues and other nationally recognized Democratic candidates, and Gabbard was, as Mike Tracey pointed out, the only one to face a hostile establishment media.
This shouldn’t be, of course. As current academic literature suggests, nothing on the planet is a bigger question facing the Americans than foreign policy, simply because it is tied to everything that’s happening in the country. Americans have spent more than $1 trillion in Afghanistan, which continues to this day. Billions more are being spent elsewhere in the Middle East.
This is money that could go towards curing America’s opioid epidemic, starting an infrastructure project in the heartland and providing jobs, adding valuable new infrastructure to national security, and most importantly fixing the border.
You think migration has peaked? All of Central America is collapsing under corruption and failed regimes. If there’s money that needs to be spent in investment and intervention, it should be in the backyard of the United States, simply to stabilize regimes to protect and guard their own borders as well as provide employment to millions who are now instead fleeing to the United States.
Needless to mention, none of that was raised. Before voting, a country needs to see how serious their political representatives are. Sadly, an elite debating pronouns on a national stage, with greater existential concerns untouched, is highly symbolic of danger ahead.
3. The Totalitarian Instinct
Talking of elites, among a litter of terrible candidates, two were terrifying: Kamala Harris and Julian Castro. Forget about Castro’s cringeworthy pandering about transgender men. The far more dangerous idea was decriminalizing border crossing. Imagine that: crossing a sovereign nation’s border illegally would be like getting a parking ticket.
This from the guy who blatantly lies about Democrats not being de facto open-border loons. The same man wants special bias training for law enforcement, because they are apparently internally racist due to systemic racism, a concept that has no empirical backing outside fringe academia circles.
He also wants taxpayers to pay all the health care bills for every individual currently within the borders of United States. Harris, who has shown totalitarian instincts before as well, warned that she will give Congress 100 days to pass gun laws, or else she will issue executive orders. It was such a travesty that now there’s a whole Twitter thread of Harris quotes on Emperor Palpatine photos.
Ultimately, it boils down to this. Presidents have been ruling by fiat, and that is bipartisan. In an increasingly culturally divided system, a quasi-imperial presidency was inevitable. It of course can be turned back, but that needs to be done by the Senate.
However, imagine this scenario before you vote. Consider two individuals, both with authoritarian tendencies. But one relies on a political philosophy guided by the instinct that government should be minimal. He uses his imperial authority to cut down bureaucracy.
The other wants to consolidate government further, and centralize all power to decide everything about your life. Which order would you be comfortable living under? To say these two individuals are similar is like saying, to paraphrase Bill Buckley, that a man who pushed an old woman into the path of a train and a man who pushed her out of its path are similar because they both pushed an old woman. They are, quite obviously, not.
In an era in which socialism is openly resurgent, the only issue that should be relevant to voters is which side guarantees state and individual freedom from increasingly centralized, administrative state jackboots. Nothing else matters.