The Election of Joseph Biden and the Continuity of Plutocratic Rule


There are 70 million furious people in America.  They voted for Donald Trump.  They lost.  Joseph Biden was elected president by a razor thin margin under a cloud of suspicion, most of it generated by Trump, who challenged the outcome of the election with yet to be proven claims of widespread voter fraud.     

Across the great divide are 74 million voters who supported Biden in anticipation of securing a humane and sustainable future.  They are elated by the election of Biden and Kamala Harris, a woman of color, greeting the news with an enthusiasm not seen since the election of Barack Obama.  Their hopes will be disappointed.

Biden’s was a pyrrhic victory.  His party lost seven seats in the House of Representatives and missed an opportunity to gain control of the Senate, unless the Democrats win a two-seat run-off election in the State of Georgia, a daunting prospect.  Should they fail in this effort, any bill Biden sends to Congress will be dead on arrival.  He would not be able to govern by anything other than executive order.

The continued paralysis caused by a bitter partisan chasm that began when Republicans won control of the Senate during Obama’s presidency and intensified when Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump, will continue to deepen, prolonging a crisis of political legitimacy in Washington.

Biden must stabilize plutocratic rule in a country that has been unsettled by the contentious presidency of Donald Trump.  He will fail.

Biden’s party has no solution for the structural crisis of capitalism that it helped create by implementing, along with their Republican counterparts, a neoliberal economic agenda that hastened the deindustrialization and financialization of the United States.  The Democrats are not an opposition party. They are one of two partner parties of American capitalism.

Rather than spend the last four years challenging Trump on domestic and foreign policy, the Democrats concocted the myth of Russiagate to explain away their loss in 2016 and Ukrainegate to reverse the results of the last presidential election.  They failed on both counts, showing the morbidity of a political party that lacks commitment to fundamental economic and social rights such as universal health care, free public higher education, cancellation of student debt, full employment, protection of Social Security and an end to war.  For their part, Senate Republicans struck back by exposing Joe Biden’s corrupt dealings with Ukraine in a sordid political fight.

It is telling that the Democrats’ most enthusiastic endorsement of Trump’s foreign policy came when he dropped bombs on Syria and assassinated Iran’s top general in a missile strike.  In an obscene gesture of support for the American war-machine, the Democrats voted to increase the size of Trump’s already bloated defense budget approving $738 billion for the pentagon and $632 billion for all non-discretionary spending on domestic programs in a single fiscal year.

The supporters of Donald Trump voted for the orange billionaire because they saw him as an enemy of Washington corruption who promised to “drain the swamp” so many Americans hate.  By engineering the most stunning upset in modern presidential history, Trump proved his effectiveness as a con artist who manipulated genuine popular discontent to win office.  The grievances that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 will only intensify when Biden occupies the White House.

The presidential election of 2020 will deepen the polarization of America as legions of right-wing Trump supporters reject a Biden presidency, they view resulted from an election that was stolen from their president by a political and media establishment that fought relentlessly to oust Trump from office since day one of his unlikely election in 2016.  The Democrats worked feverishly to portray the presidency of Donald Trump as illegitimate for four grewsome years.  Mr. Trump will respond in kind to the Biden presidency.

On the other side of the barricade are Biden supporters who saw Trump as a sexist, racist, homophobic and xenophobic bigot who preached hate to divide the public for personal aggrandizement.  From Biden, they hear the moderate voice of reason.  It is a duplicitous voice that must now pledge to create unity amidst discord.

Among the ranks of anti-Trump multitudes are millions of activists who renounce a militarized police state that exterminates Blacks lives in the streets of an institutionally racist nation.  One of the chief architects of the police state is a ‘law’ and ‘order’ politician named Joseph Biden, who despite massive protests against wonton police violence, has called for more funding for the men and women in blue, despite promises to reform the criminal justice system and address the problem of systemic racism in America.

Biden is also at odds with progressive forces because of his unapologetic support for a Wall Street bailout that bankrupted Main Street during his tenure as vice-president.  The progressive left remembers only too well, that under the leadership of Barack Obama and Joseph Biden, the FBI and DHS coordinated the repression of Occupy Wall Street while wagging endless war in seven Muslim countries.  The Wall Street bailout has been compounded by a coronavirus bailout that gave billions to the rich and a pittance to the rest.  Trump’s bailout had the support of Joe Biden.

Like Hillary Clinton before him, Biden crushed the Sander’s progressive opposition in his own party, intentionally jettisoning proposals such as ‘Universal Basic Income’ and ‘Medicare for All,” that would begin to address the social crisis produced by neoliberal capitalism.

His current proposals for economic and social reform are mere palliatives that will deepen systemic crisis, and with it, the ranks of disgruntled Trump Republicans and progressive Democrats.

The progressives have no political home in a corporatist Democratic party that did not even court their support during the presidential campaign, choosing instead to woo moderate Republicans such as Cindy McCain, wife of the late war-mongering Senator from Arizona and John Kasich, former Republican governor of Ohio.  Despite being openly rebuked by a cynical party leadership, left-liberal luminaries counseled progressives to vote for Biden and fight him once elected.  This is the same dead-end strategy that led to the co-optation of the liberal-left during Barack Obama’s presidency.

By crushing the left, Biden renounced a progressive policy platform that would have mobilized massive opposition to the Republican agenda, weakening a centrist Democratic party that narrowly defeated Trump.  Discontented Trump supporters, many of whom identify with libertarian causes and the Christian fundamentalist right, saturate the ranks of the Republican party.  Biden’s victory will further radicalize the Republican base and dwarf moderate voices within the party establishment, making compromise with GOP lawmakers difficult to impossible.

Caught between a pincer movement of right and left-wing opposition, Biden will be tightly constricted within a narrow policy paradigm.  His vapid rhetoric of “healing the nation” will fall on deaf and angry ears.  He will try, as the Democrats always do, to diffuse social dissent by promising to close the wealth, gender and racial divide that bisects this nation.  He will no doubt use long-time ties with colleagues in the Senate forged when he served as Chairman of the Foreign Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, to negotiate concessionary legislation aimed at diffusing social protest.  But the concessions, if they can be achieved, will be modest.

Through it all, the American oligarchy will rest assured that no systemic changes will be contemplated by their Democratic or Republican lapdogs.  It should be remembered that Bill Clinton’s Democratic party supported neoliberal free trade agreements such as NAFTA and GATT, deregulated Wall Street with passage of the Financial Services Modernization Act and integrated the United States into a globalized economy, the ill effects of which led to the rise of Trump.

Now that the orange menace is defeated, the question Biden must answer is, what next?

Promises to control the corona-virus by instituting a program of mass vaccinations, putting the country back to work by creating green jobs and addressing the existential threat of climate change by establishing a zero-carbon emissions standard by 2050 must be matched by passing progressive legislation without which, pledges are hollow.  Given the political divisiveness in Congress, genuine bi-partisan compromise is highly unlikely.  If Democrats do not win control of the Senate, Biden will blame Senate Republicans for any impasse in the same manner Trump blamed Houses Democrats when the roles were reversed, as the shell game of American politics continues.

What the country must brace for is the next ‘Trump’, who will be even more nationalistic, xenophobic, and bitterly divisive than the current incarnation.  Just as Ronald Reagan ushered in four decades of neoliberal and conservative politics, the presidency of Donald Trump inaugurated the ascendency of the far-right with its extreme blend of ultra-nativist, ultra-nationalist, white supremacist, and religious fundamentalist politics.

Ronald Reagan moved the Democratic party to the right, giving rise to Bill Clinton and the ‘New Democrats’ who pursued a neoliberal agenda hidden behind the veneer of identity politics.  By so doing, they betrayed a liberal labor coalition that lasted for 60 years.  The Clintonites discarded Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, along with the Keynesian economic principles that underwrote those programs in favor of the neoliberal ideology of Milton Friedman.  In short, they adopted Reaganite economics.

Just as the presidency of Ronald Reagan represented a seismic shift to the right in American politics, the presidency of Donald Trump propelled American politics to the far-right by attacking identity politics and creating a mass organizational base for Christian fascism.  In the process, Biden’s Democratic party has been pulled further right of center in the political spectrum.

The Republican voting base will emerge from the 2020 election deeply aggrieved.  They are not going away.  Their ranks will fester and grow.  The Democratic voting base will breathe a sigh of relief as the long nightmare of a deeply reactionary Trump presidency ends and they wait for some measure of genuine economic and social justice that will never come.

The Trump presidency pronounced a death sentence on the politics of moderation.  There are now two polarized political cultures in America, one red, one blue.  Each seeks the destruction of the other in a rapidly disintegrating social order.

Behind the fractured electorate are corporate and financial oligarchs who get fatter and richer at the expense of a population that will be subjected to a ‘great reset’ deliberately calculated to annihilate jobs, strip social services and lead to the privatized paradise of Ayn Rand, where individualism and greed create a Hobbesian ‘war of all against all’ in the streets of a once prosperous nation.

The stark reality lurking behind America’s Kabuki theatre of elections is the perpetuation of plutocratic rule, whose tyranny will only be ended by the politics of solidarity and struggle for socialism, the only antidote to a predatory economic system that breeds conflict, cynicism and despair.


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Donald Monaco is a political analyst who lives in Brooklyn, New York.  He received his Master’s Degree in Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1979 and was radicalized by the Vietnam War.  He writes from an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist perspective.  His recent book is titled, The Politics of Terrorism, and is available at

Featured image is from Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

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Articles by: Donald Monaco

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