The final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden highlighted what is really at stake: not the political fortunes of two politicians, but rather what a future America might look like.
Perhaps not since the Great Debates of 1858, between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, which focused on the issue of slavery, has there been a political struggle of more epic consequence than the one raging right now in the US. That is not cheap hyperbole. The outcome of the 2020 election has the power to radically transform the nation – socially, culturally, and politically – to the point where it may become wholly unrecognizable in a very short time. I will leave it up to the reader to decide if that is a good thing or not.
On the debate stage, Trump and Biden may seem a lot like your typical American politicians, promising voters a paradise complete with paved roads and timely trains if they would just give them a chance. Behind the sloganeering of these two men, however, are vastly different blueprints for what a future America will ultimately look like.
As the consummate businessman, Trump seems content to keep the US economy chugging along the well-worn capitalist path to wealth and prosperity, spewing noxious fumes from coal-burning power plants, while investing heavily into fracking and domestic oil production. Biden tends to lean heavily in the other direction, and some would say radically so.
Indeed, one of the most revealing parts of Thursday’s debate came during the discussion on climate change, and how the two candidates would cope with it. Here is where the difference between the two presidential contenders is most striking. In traditional conservative style, Trump spoke rather disparagingly about solar and wind power, for example, and pointed to their limited use and development. In fact, the only plan Trump seems to have to combat this doomsday scenario, assuming it is a real problem (the science, regardless of what Greta Thunberg would have us believe, is fiercely divided on that question) is by joining the so-called One Trillion Trees initiative, organized by none other than the World Economic Forum.
On this point, Biden paid lip service to the progressive wing of his party by saying climate change “is an existential threat to humanity, and we have a moral obligation to deal with it.” While that might be music to the ears of environmentalists, it is Biden’s proposed methods for tackling the problem, which essentially calls for the total transformation of the US economy, that has many people feeling edgy.
Admittedly, the Biden plan sounds tempting on paper. It envisions the creation of “50,000 charging stations on our highways so we can own the electric car market…” At the same time, the Democrat will take “four million existing buildings and two million existing homes and retrofit them so they don’t leak as much energy.” The ultimate goal is “zero [carbon] emissions by 2025.”
What Biden fails to mention, however, is that this astonishingly ambitious plan will come with – as most government projects inevitably do – an astronomical price tag. So big, in fact, that a new study by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University says the Democrat plan will mean $6,500 less in median household income by 2030, accompanied by an actual loss of jobs.
And Biden’s brave new plan for remaking America doesn’t stop there. At one point, Trump played moderator and asked him point blank if he would close down the oil industry. Biden responded, “I would transition from the oil industry” – a remark that caused Kristen Welker, the moderator from NBC, to ask, rather comically: “Why would you do that?” Needless to say, for the millions of Americans who put food on the table thanks to the oil industry, Biden’s comment came like a bolt of lightning, and may even have cost him the election.
This brings us to perhaps the most dangerous crossroads the American people have ever had to negotiate. While there’s no shortage of things over which to find fault with Trump, Biden is the face of a radical new force in the Democratic Party, which many have labeled as straight-up socialist. In fact, the poster woman for this up-and-coming movement is none other than freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and a co-author of the so-called Green New Deal.
That plan is uncannily similar to Biden’s recommendations for resetting the US economy by ditching fossil fuels, transforming “every building” in the nation, and overhauling transportation so that “air travel stops becoming necessary.” Many Americans on the right of the political divide see those invasive actions as ‘socialist’ in that they infringe upon everyday private activities, from driving a car and visiting a foreign country to owning a firearm.
At the same time, Biden’s own running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, has been described as being more to the left of even Bernie Sanders in her political views. For starters, she would lay out the welcome mat for illegal aliens by refusing to recognize crossing the border as a criminal act, and has gone on record as saying she would provide free healthcare to these new arrivals, who will be hard-pressed not to accept such a generous invitation. It’ll all be paid for by Joe Taxpayer, of course.
Harris once had the audacity to compare the tactics used by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to those of the Ku Klux Klan. In other words, in the event of a Biden-Harris victory on November 3, not only will the US economy undergo a radical makeover the likes of which it has never seen, but the border with Mexico will practically have a revolving door.
While many Americans today may find these sorts of ideas abhorrent and ‘socialist’, there is a large voter niche – thanks to a progressive, woke mood that has descended on the nation like any virus – that is very serious about implementing these radical plans, and many others, should the opportunity ever arise.
And here is where the Biden-Harris relationship gets ‘complicated.’ Given Biden’s advanced age and questionable cognitive status, there is a very high possibility that Harris, over the course of the next four years, assuming Biden wins the election, will become the first female president of the US. At that point, the American people may, against all expectations and historical precedent, get their first trial run with some form of socialism. It’s hard to describe the feeling of irony I am experiencing in writing those words from Moscow.