Earlier this year, former vice president Joe Biden effectively won the Democratic Party primary contest. As The Canary has previously argued, his victory is nothing to celebrate given that his progressive credentials are paper thin. Throughout his political career, Biden has been a prolific supporter of war and cuts to social security. He’s also a friend of some of the most reactionary elements in the US congress.
Now, his campaign has started receiving funding from former officials of a previous Republican Party administration. And this shows decisively what has long been suspected by progressive political analysts and commentators – that the US essentially has two right-wing major parties.
‘43 Alumni for Biden’ is formed…
On 1 July, a new organization backing Biden and calling itself ‘43 Alumni for Biden’ appeared online. The number 43 refers to the US’s 43rd president, George W. Bush, a Republican. Bush’s presidency to this day is overwhelmingly associated with neo-conservativism and the so-called ‘Bush doctrine’ of ‘pre-emptive war’ that emerged in the aftermath of the 11 September, 2001 attacks.
Reuters reported that the group is made up of “hundreds of officials who worked for former Republican President George W. Bush” including “Cabinet secretaries and other senior people [who worked] in the Bush administration”. The fundraising entity is known as a ‘Super PAC’, which in US political parlance means it’s a non-party aligned ‘political action committee’. However, it has none of the limits to contributions of regular PACs, which are directly tied to an active campaign.
It’s not the first time that Trump has been attacked within his own party. When Trump started surging in the Republican Party primaries in 2016, a group of more traditional Republicans opposing him coalesced into the ‘Never Trump’ movement. Of course, they didn’t succeed in stopping him from winning the nomination or the election against Hillary Clinton later that year.
This latest move on their part comes amid plummeting approval ratings for President Trump. As The Canary has previously reported, Trump is now trailing Biden by double digits in some polls. This is following his poor handling of the coronavirus pandemic and heavy-handed response to protests connected to the police killing of George Floyd.
It would be wrong, however, to think that the people involved with ‘43 Alumni for Biden’ are motivated by any of these factors. Rather, the formation of the group represents a calculated move by the neoconservative wing of the US ruling class. It’s an attempt to strengthen the US’s hand on the global stage following damage to its manufactured veneer of credibility during Trump’s tenure. In other words, they oppose Trump not because of his racism or his constant lying, but because he is too erratic to properly govern the US’s imperial apparatus. At the same time, his crudeness, buffoonery, and unhinged modus operandi have turned the US into a laughing stock. They’ve also alienated traditional mainstream allies in the process, particularly those in Western Europe.
As a result of these factors, the ‘neocon’ wing of US politics prefers Biden. Because Biden will prove to be a more competent, consistent, and, above all, reliable administrator of the US’s empire. After all, he served as vice president during Barack Obama’s presidency. And as The Canary has already argued on multiple occasions, Obama’s presidency was one of the most reactionary in US history. One that largely continued and even escalated many of the policies of George W Bush – including, or perhaps even especially, in the realm of foreign policy.
This record includes:
- Launching ten times as many covert drone assassinations as Bush.
- Orchestrating ‘regime change’ in Libya and, in the process, turning the country into a medieval throwback.
- Playing a hand in the 2009 coup in Honduras as well as aiding successive post-coup governments.
- Imposing crippling sanctions on the democratically-elected government of Venezuela.
- Keeping open the infamous Guantanamo Bay Detention Center in which people are held indefinitely without charge and frequently subjected to torture.
- Increasing troop numbers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hillary Clinton played a leading role in some of these policies as Obama’s secretary of state between 2009 and 2013. And it was for this reason that, like Biden now, she was the preferred choice of the traditional Washington foreign policy establishment in the 2016 presidential election. As a matter of fact, she even sought the endorsement of the notorious war criminal Henry Kissinger. As secretary of state and national security advisor under the presidency of Richard Nixon, Kissinger served as the architect of some of the US’s worst foreign atrocities.
Two rival wings of a rogue state
In case there was any remaining doubt following the defeat of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, this latest episode perfectly demonstrates how the Democratic Party is terminally unreformable. In short, the two major US parties now essentially represent rival wings of an imperialist and neoliberal status quo. And they take turns to govern a rogue state that increasingly resembles a fully-fledged terrorist enterprise. With someone like Trump now the major leading figure in the Republican Party, the US now has one right-wing party and one far-right party that borders on the fascistic. Clearly, the US desperately needs a third political force to challenge this wretched hegemony.