I'm quitting the conversation.
No, this isn't a "GBCW diary." All I'm doing with this post is admitting that there really is nothing more to say about Joe Biden or Donald Trump that I or someone else hasn't already said before. So I think I'm going to shut up about the Presidential race at least until there arises something new that needs to be said.
What brings this about? Well, over at Common Dreams the nice liberals with big egos and comparable resumes have put together an open letter: "Open Letter: Dump Trump, Then Battle Biden." 'Course, the ability to "dump Trump" is granted in our system to swing voters (i.e. voters who could "go either way") in the swing states, while the rest of us are allowed to cast votes in statewide races for electoral votes which are more or less decided beforehand. Are any of these swing voters in swing states going to say "hey this group of liberals signed this petition saying 'Dump Trump, Then Battle Biden," so I guess we'll vote for Biden in November?" I doubt it.
Now, I suppose that all the nice liberals with big egos could phone-bank for Biden, but they'd probably have to do it through MoveOn. (Does MoveOn phone-bank? Don't answer that -- I don't care. I have no idea what I'd say to tell people to vote for Biden. I'd probably screw up and tell the truth. Phone-banking is HARD!) As far as I know, Joe Biden's campaign doesn't knock on doors. You down with that, dog?
The point, as I've discussed previously, is that there is really very little of any sort of opportunity for liberals or leftists or for most anyone else to affect the Presidential race. We must, in short, go back to organizing for ourselves. We should focus on local races, issues organizing, and anarchist, horizontal organization building. To what extent is that happening? It certainly isn't happening in discussions of the Presidential race.
We are, in fact, invited to be really cynical about this open letter. Dump Trump, and then battle Biden. Is that what we're going to do? America had eight years of a Barack Obama presidency, during which Obama was held to account for nothing while the Democrats surrendered all branches of the Federal government, 12 governor's seats, and 900+ seats in state legislatures to the Republican Party. It was an underwhelming Left performance in a record-breaking sort of way. Now we're ostensibly going to elect Obama's feeble VP, presumably because we want some peace and quiet while society collapses and the rich make their homes in New Zealand bunkers. What is to prevent a repeat performance?
It's not like dumping Trump and electing Biden will create any real sense in which all the nice liberals with big egos are going to have the power to stop saying "we must support the Democrats because the Republicans are worse." The Movement for a People's Party would create that power, by creating a party which would empower us, which we could rationally support. But what is to prevent them all from saying "the People's Party is only a spoiler party so we can't support it"? They told the Greens to stand down. It is hard not to feel that a Biden victory will be devastating for anything that calls itself "the Left" today. That is, after all, what happened to the Left when Obama won.
There is, then, a philosophical contradiction at the heart of the politics of the nice liberals with big egos. I connect it to Trump Derangement Syndrome. Trump Derangement Syndrome is all there is left of the idea of dumping Trump. Of course, the fault with this, the reason for this fact, lies with Joe Biden, who promises us nothing more than a return to the conditions which gave rise to Trump, in a campaign designed to lose to Trump. And Trump Derangement Syndrome appears to me as a genuine mental disorder.
I am afraid to provoke it further for fear of losing more friends. In short, in the election run-up, a primary time of opportunity usually, everyone seems to have lost their heads, and thus the opportunity disappears. The Trumpies do it in in their usual way (I have a neighbor who posted a cardboard sign amidst the damage caused by a climate-change-fueled wildfire which destroyed more than a thousand buildings: "Climate change is a hoax!"), the anti-Trumpies, through Trump Derangement Syndrome.
This nonsense about how Trump won't respect the election results, for instance, is Trump playing the anti-Trumpies, as Snoopydawg pointed out. "Trump doesn't respect democracy, he's a fascist, he's mishandling COVID, he's destroying our society, he must go." Very few of the people making this argument are actually going to phone-bank Biden, or move to swing states and go door to door for Biden. (And to be honest, Trump is only a Teevee Fascist, he's doing it in the run-up to play the liberals, the Democrats in power actually support him, and his response to the COVID was to throw it to the states, more a matter of ineptitude than fascism.)
One of the big slogans for this year's Trump campaign is "Make Liberals Cry Again" -- it's not, then, about any sort of real Fascism, but rather about punking out the liberals, who are dutifully performing according to script, panicking, and energizing the Trump base in doing so. The state of panic I see everyday in my Facebook feed is palpable. "Trump's re-election will mean the end of the world!" says one TDS-sufferer. To which the Trumpies would no doubt say, "feel free to commit suicide in case our candidate wins re-election." Much as I might sympathize with the disgust the TDS-sufferers feel at Trump, I cannot agree with their arguments, because most of them are full of mischaracterizations, miscalculations, and other nonsense.
One creative argument is made in this regard by David Sirota, who had a piece up about how "the toxic slime will end us." Sirota, whom I respect greatly for his qualities of honesty, argues here (as I interpret it) that Trump must go because when Trump goes, so also will go Trump Derangement Syndrome and the things it freaks out against. Here is what Sirota argues that convinces me of this version of his argument:
Unlike the other leaders in our modern history, Trump aims to sow anxiety, fear, instability and division all the time. He is a troll, but more than a troll. He is a chaos agent. He is trying to hack into everyone’s brains to amp us up, worry us, scare us, freak us out and drive us crazy at every minute of the day — and not in service of any cause other than his own power and narcissism.
Perhaps dumping Trump would be a good thing for me, personally in that regard, because I would stop losing friends when I point out that they have Trump Derangement Syndrome. And perhaps it would be a bad thing, because the political quietude which will spread under a Biden administration might be just as deadly. Either way, as I see it, I have damn little in the way of a choice in the matter. My post of the last day of July stands. And my sig line stands: My slogan from here to November will be the one in my sig line: "Faith in philosophy means the refusal to permit fear to stunt in any way one's capacity to think." -- Max Horkheimer. Trump Derangement Syndrome, in this regard, grants its sufferers' fears a broad permission to stunt their capacities to think.