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Tags: 2020 Elections | Donald Trump | Joe Biden | biden | trump | economy | left

Does Labor, Minority Backing Make Biden Trump's Most Formidable Foe?

biden pumps two fists at a celebration rally
Joe Biden celebrates winning the South Carolina primary. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Ralph Benko By Wednesday, 04 March 2020 01:43 PM Current | Bio | Archive

One important factor respecting the 2020 presidential race is that there are very few factors actually relevant. (Most of what we hear on TV is idle chatter.)

One really key factor, however, is that "It's the economy, stupid."  That immortal statement was made by campaign strategist James Carville to candidate Clinton in 1992. Carville's declaration is recorded by Bob Shrum in Shrum's compendium of excuses for losing virtually every political campaign he ever managed titled No Excuses. By virtue of its coy candor and its color it is one of the best political memoirs I've ever read.

The Trump economy is looking pretty good. In terms of full employment and rising wages, darn good.  That said, it's only a little better than half as good as the Reagan and Clinton economies. So … let's keep it in perspective. Yes, the economy is a Trump asset. Unless it unravels. But there's another important consideration.

Americans are pragmatists. What counts is not "the GDP." What counts to the voter is his or her "GDP."

In political terms there are three lefts in America. One of these is different from the others. One left, the Progressives, is pernicious. The other two, the labor and ethnic left, are lovely. Labor followed Trump, not Hillary Clinton, in 2016. Labor sensed Hillary in league with the Progressives. Biden, is old school labor Democrat, not a Progressive. Labor and ethnics will be more inclined to vote for Biden.

Progressives are the hard, pernicious, totalitarian left. Bernie Sanders broke the ice for his passionate troll army and let them come out of the Progressive closet as outright socialists. Socialism is a lower octane version of communism. But both come right out of The Communist Manifesto

Two of their signature characteristics are the declaration of class warfare and a call for despotic means.  The Communist Manifesto teaches that the middle class ("the bourgeoisie") is the bad guys oppressing the working class ("the proletariat.") The Communist Manifesto calls, explicitly, for the use of "despotic" — tyrannical — inroads by workers against the middle class. It's ugly both in theory and practice.

Socialists, "democratic" or otherwise, coyly follow The Communist Manifesto playbook.  They believe in class warfare and despotic tactics. That probably describes Bernie Sanders's rhetoric. It certainly fits his most enthusiastic troll army followers. And it perfectly describes the newly out-of-the-closet hard left that gives Jacobin Magazine over a million page views a month.

The totalitarian left is a loud and enthusiastic. But it is a very tiny minority. They are Bernie's peeps, more of a cult than a movement. The great majority of Americans — members of and aspirants to the middle class, the essence of the American Dream — do not fancy these hooligans and will not elect them to office except outliers out of small enclaves like Jackson Heights in Queens, N.Y. (where I was born and from which AOC was elected.)

There are two others "lefts," the nonsocialist left: the labor left and the ethnic left. They are much more consequential and not "democratic" socialists. They are social democrats. Sounds similar but very different. Social democrats believe in social insurance programs, like Social Security, and social safety nets, like Medicaid. Those are consistent with good old capitalism.

Unlike the Progressives, the labor and ethnic left do not wish to destroy the middle class. They wish to enter it. In my heyday these were called "Reagan Democrats." They were and are the swing vote.

Laborers recognized Reagan and Kemp as their own. Reagan had been president of the Screen Actors Guild. Jack Kemp, the quarterback and chief strategist of Reagan's signature economic policy, had been co-founder and president of the NFL Players Association.  Kemp also was in heartfelt solidarity with the African-American community and, less pronounced, the Latinos. Both men held visceral and political appeal to the labor and ethnic left. So does Biden.

Sure, Joe Biden has some flaws. But he presents, and surely will remain accepted, as a real sympathizer with workers' economic aspirations. The ethnic left naturally allies with labor. Hence, in part, Biden's powerful ethnic appeal. So long as Biden is accepted as in solidarity with the American Dream — being, or joining, the middle class — he will be a powerful candidate.

And just to double down, campaign finance laws do not prohibit a candidate from spending his own money in any amount. Bloomberg, in the primary, failed to craft an image of himself as a friend of labor and the strivers. Bloomberg's pouring his dowry into the coffers of the Biden/Bloomberg Express, however, could be very powerful.

Forget the gaffes, forget Burisma, forget Brad Parscale's digital genius and so forth. What matters most is appealing to us rank-and-file voters. The votes of workers and of ethnics will determine the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

It's the economy, stupid.

Ralph Benko, co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto" and chairman and co-founder of "The Capitalist League," is the founder of The Prosperity Caucus and is an original Kemp-era member of the Supply Side revolution that propelled the Dow from 814 to its current heights and world GDP from $11T to $83T. He served as a deputy general counsel in the Reagan White House, has worked closely with the Congress and two cabinet agencies, and has published over a million words on politics and policy in the mainstream media, as a distinguished professional blogger, and as the author of the internationally award-winning cult classic book "The Websters' Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World." He has served as senior adviser, economics, to APIA as an advocate of the gold standard, senior counselor to the Chamber of Digital Commerce and serves as general counsel to Frax.finance, a stablecoin venture. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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Joe Biden has some flaws. But he presents, and surely will remain accepted, as a real sympathizer with workers' economic aspirations.
biden, trump, economy, left, labor, minorities
Wednesday, 04 March 2020 01:43 PM
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