By Dr Eugene Brink, Strategic Adviser for Community Affairs at AfriForum
The American presidential election is just over a year away, but there is still a lot that can happen in a year. The battle in the Democratic Party is already red-hot and President Donald Trump is also already vigorously driving his re-election.
Several Democratic candidates have been participating in numerous debates, and the results are nauseating. Although there are some exceptions (such as Joe Biden who is more centristic in his views) they are all vying to be the most socialistic. Lies and hypocrisy are rife. The business sector and the rich are constantly treated with suspicion; and success – something that is historically worshipped in America – is regarded as sacrilegious.
It is incomprehensible that so many rich people can appear so overly empathic and willing to redistribute other people’s money (especially that of the middle class) through state interference Yet as individuals, they are doing nothing for the poor. And they then have the audacity to point out what is inadequate, despite a strong economy with an unprecedented low unemployment rate.
Despite the large number of candidates who want to take on Trump with renewed leftist energy, it seems likely that this race will be left with one of three (and increasingly possibly only two) winners. The younger and lesser known candidates are starting to give up, while the remaining ones don’t have support bases or any esteem worth mentioning. In politics, personality is just as important as policy and this group of candidates will find it difficult to attract the type of crowd that Trump is already garnering, even in liberal “blue” states such as New Mexico.
Biden was initially seen as the uncontended favourite and he still is to a large extent – if one can believe the polls. With his moderate views he might be the best person to take on Trump when it comes to undecisive and moderate voters as well as blue collar workers. He has served as vice president, is regarded as a veteran in international policy and has the most support from black voters. Biden also (unsuccessfully) contended for the candidacy to lead the Democratic Party in both the 1988 and 2008 elections.
The other two candidates are Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. A few months ago, Sanders enjoyed a comfortable second place. Since then, according to some polls, Warren has moved significantly closer to Biden and even surpassed him. Both Warren and Sanders have now left Biden behind, with his support stagnating significantly.
There are various reasons for this, but it is not hard to explain. Although Warren and Sanders support many similar policies, style and history also play a role. As was the case in 2016, Sanders screams so frequently that he looks permanently angry. His far-left ideologies also don’t enjoy much support among most Americans. In fact, he looks crumpled and extremely un-presidently.
Simultaneously, Warren has adapted a lot of Trump’s policy with her doctrine of “economic patriotism” – which is synonymous with “Made in America” with an environmentally friendly flavour. She wants to lure job opportunities back to America and turn trade in America’s favour. Socially she has very liberal views and strongly supports abortion. Sadly for her, most Americans will rather trust Trump to challenge China and run the economy, while supporting his views about abortions and other social issues. Warren has the advantage that she looks more suitable as a candidate than especially Sanders and doesn’t have a history of failure on this level.
Biden’s campaign also seems to be losing speed. The 76-year old veteran continuously says things that are out of line. He has been known to do this throughout his career, but lately it has become worse. His comment that “Poor children are just as gifted as white children” and the fact that his economic plan aims to include 720 million women in the workforce (while there are only 330 million people in America) are just two of the myriad foot-in-mouth comments he has made.
Just as the question of race usually surfaces in this type of battle, so does the matter of age. Biden is 76 and Sanders 78, while Warren turned 70 this year. That means all the front-runners are over 70 (Trump is 73), but both Biden and Sanders will be 80 years old when they become president. Former President Jimmy Carter recently said he wouldn’t have been able to meet the demands of being president at the age of 80 and jokingly added that he hoped there was an age restriction to the presidency – a not-so-subtle dig at Biden’s forgetfulness and blunders.
It’s for these (and a few other) reasons that I believe Warren will win this race and take on Trump in the presidential election.