We have made it. After four years of tantrums on twitter, trade wars with China and a trouncing of political norms, we have arrived at the 3rd of November 2020.
The world did not end in nuclear Armageddon. NATO didn’t disintegrate. Mexico didn’t pay for the wall. However, on this day when the American electorate will elect the leader of the free world for the next 4 years, the liberal world order holds itself together by a thread.
I don’t think I would be accused of hyperbole when I say economic and social Liberalism need a new champion. In one way or another, both of these values have been in the crosshairs of the Trump administration. This is been bad for America and bad for the world over.
Four years of authoritarian governing means the Trump administration has left a path of destruction in its wake. If it was not locking up vulnerable children in cages, the Trump administration deployed federal guards to beat up protesters in scenes similar to those we saw this summer in Belarus. And one cannot look at Trump’s domestic record without talking about his disgusting treatment of the free press. He has championed disinformation and self-serving ‘alternative facts’ throughout his term, trashing the media who have held him to account for his actions. His disdain for the free media is one of the most alarming traits of this President and has released toxins into the very social fabric of the States, ushering in a post-truth era.
With his penchant for authoritarianism, the Supreme Court firmly in the conservatives favour and Trump indicating his support for an even more draconian immigration policy in a second term, liberal social values in America cannot survive 4 more years of this.
The basic values of tolerance, free speech and internationalism are what bound the liberal world together. The 45thpresident’s domestic policies have trashed the American reputation abroad which has done tremendous damage to the bonds underpinning the western world. Trump has done more to undo the American centric world order than any Soviet Politburo could ever hope to achieve.
The traditional role America has held of leading the capitalist world has further been trampled on by the President’s commitment to protectionism and general economic illiteracy. Under Trump’s watch, America has turned its back on free trade, the bedrock of global development. Without America as it’s champion, the future of free trade and the great many benefits it brings to the world is at stake. Free trade may need America but America needs free trade. The sooner the electorate come to recognise this, the better.
Joe Biden is not perfect. He has been a senator since 1973 and so has a long political history perfect for criticising. His treatment of Anita Hill for example was not his finest hour. It is not as though he is going to be the saviour of liberal capitalists either, promising tax hikes and more economic regulations. However, there are a number of reasons why Biden is the man for the moment.
After four years of civil unrest, the person to succeed President Trump needs to be a unifier. Joe Biden has the advantage of being a moderate in every sense of the word. He can be the stabilising force which hopefully will go some way to reconcile the deep divides which exist in American society and restore faith in the office of the presidency.
As well as this, the market thrives best when it has certainty. A man who has 30 years of senate and 8 years of executive experience will be the steady hand on the tiller the economy needs as it will attempt to recover from the devastation the ongoing pandemic has imparted on both the American and global economy.
And above all, the western world know what they are getting with Biden. He has the potential to rally the liberal nations of the world back together to take on the growing threats to our collective way of life.
The fact that commentators are discussing, with genuine seriousness, that team Trump are planning to steal the electiondemonstrates the poor health of liberal democracy in the USA. If the basic mechanisms of American democracy are potentially failing to function, how can anyone expect America to champion liberalism overseas.
American Liberal democracy is sick. After four years of poison, I hope the American people vote to ease the pain.