by Conrad Black
Each week in the inexorable march to Election Day, it becomes more challenging to believe how the campaign is unfolding and to rationalize it as a serious process for choosing the leader of the world’s greatest nation. After some reflection, it becomes clear that the extreme improbability of this process is the result of it not really being a race between two pairs of candidates for national office. It is surely the last round in the great battle between Donald Trump and the national political media.
Trump’s ostensible opponents, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, are a spavined political wheel-horse who came in fifth in the New Hampshire primary and a vice presidential nominee who flamed out ignominiously two months before the Iowa caucuses. They are a matched pair of bombed-out losers; Biden was retrieved by the party elders in desperation that otherwise the Democratic candidate would be Marxist Senator Bernie Sanders. They salvaged Biden and Biden salvaged Harris from the pre-primary ash heap.
The attempt to sell this metamorphosis into political stardom will not be easy. Biden and Harris have no history of political victory that entitled them to serious consideration for the offices they now seek. Biden ran twice for president before he was vice president. On neither occasion did he ever poll as loftily as 3 percent. He dropped out of his 1988 pursuit of the Democratic nomination when he was caught cribbing a family recollection, which was completely false when applied to Biden’s background, from British Labour Party chief Neil Kinnock, the only British opposition leader to lose two consecutive general elections in more than 60 years.
Biden has faced in all four directions on almost every major public issue, leading Robert Gates, the former defense secretary under presidents of both parties, to observe he had been “wrong on practically every major foreign policy and national security issue in the last four decades.” Biden describes himself as a “human gaffe machine,” and it is a relief even to those who are not his partisans when he is able to finish two or three consecutive sentences correctly.
Kamala Harris is well to the left of Biden even on the small number of issues where she does not waffle and call for a “national conversation.” She is for open borders and imposition of the Democrats’ Green Terror. Though an ideological leftist, as district attorney and attorney general of California, she was a harsh prosecutor who never hesitated to abuse her position by extorting false inculpatory evidence by threats of indictment. She is the personification of the evils of the U.S. prosecution system, which we now see in the misconduct by former FBI director James Comey that is steadily being revealed. She prosecuted thousands of cases against marijuana users, before confessing to having been one herself, eliciting a rebuke for untruthfulness from her Jamaican father.
The Democrats are unable as a party, as Attorney General William Barr recently remarked, to renounce mob violence. Although it is now impossible to stamp out the coronavirus without a vaccine (and even a vaccine may not accomplish the task completely), the Democrats advocate as slow a restoration as possible of the pre-virus economy, for obvious political reasons masquerading as a medically informed opinion. They champion an authoritarian program of testing everyone and tracing everyone who tests positively, and of badgering these suspected infectees unmercifully to verify that they are self-quarantining. It is an insane and intolerably intrusive pursuit of an unattainable objective, the motive for which can only be the prolongation of the country’s economic sluggishness to enhance Democratic election chances.
The Democrats’ current policy is to maintain benefit payments to those unemployed as a result of the pandemic shutdown at a level that incentivizes them not to work, at immense borrowed cost to the government, while retarding the return to work, and hounding practically the whole population while endlessly repeating the unsubstantiated mantra that Trump has managed the coronavirus incompetently.
The Durham special counsel investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia collusion nonsense is already being fervently denounced as a redundant “investigation into the investigators.” The Democrats believe that they have a permanent right to hold a cloud of investigative doubt over the president while being themselves completely immune to any inquiry into the probity of their own conduct, regardless of what is now extensive evidence of the politicization for corrupt and unconstitutional purposes of sections of the Department of Justice and the intelligence agencies. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) declares marshals Trump sent to prevent the burning down of the Portland federal building to be “stormtroopers,” and has revived the old bunk that Trump has improper relations with the Russians.
The Democrats are also demanding, on the pretext of the coronavirus, mass mail-in voting on the basis of the states mailing ballots to everyone on the voter register, despite the notorious inaccuracy of these lists, and the limitations of the post office’s ability to deliver such a huge volume of important mail efficiently. Because the president is resisting this proposal and citing the disaster and dishonesty of previous and current mailed ballot systems, the Democrats and their media are denouncing him for trying to shrink the electorate, steal the election, and unjustly deprecate the post office.
The skyrocketing levels of violent crime in the cities governed by the Democratic political machines, like the efforts of the teachers’ unions to keep the schools closed, are barely mentioned in the Democratic media or by their candidates. Their only answer to Trump’s drastic reduction of illegal immigration is to promise to reopen the border.
This is what happens when instead of a campaign by candidates who were popularly chosen, the waxworks presidential candidate is inaccessible while the Trump-hating media conduct the Democratic campaign of relentless and systematic vilification of the president.
Biden and Harris were just picked off-the-shelf to avoid the Marxist Sanders and the unorthodox Pete Buttigieg; they are going through the motions, and they are sitting ducks if subjected to serious scrutiny. They benefit from general disaffection in an era of coronavirus danger and accompanying economic recession which is hyped, shaped, and blazed into the minds of the American public by almost all of the national political media.
This election is the supreme test of whether the electoral process will weigh the merits of the competing candidates, or whether a dishonest media can exploit and abuse the constitutional protections it receives by info-assassinating the incumbent while the challengers skulk about Delaware wearing masks.
This is a decisive election in terms of the legitimacy of its methods and the ability to resist press manipulation. And this is even before we get to the determination of important policy matters. The defeat of a rather successful president by an incompetent rival carried to the goal line by corrupt media, would produce the greatest crisis American democracy has faced since the Great Depression and Roosevelt, if not the Civil War and Lincoln. The forces of righteous discernment should be heard from as soon as the public focuses on the election which is normally shortly after Labor Day. What we have now is a dangerous and fraudulent levitation.
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Conrad Black has been one of Canada’s most prominent financiers for 40 years, and was one of the leading newspaper publishers in the world as owner of the British telegraph newspapers, the Fairfax newspapers in Australia, the Jerusalem Post, Chicago Sun-Times and scores of smaller newspapers in the U.S., and most of the daily newspapers in Canada. He is the author of authoritative biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, one-volume histories of the United States and Canada, and most recently of Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other. He is a member of the British House of Lords as Lord Black of Crossharbour.
Photo “Joe Biden” by Joe Biden.