Two candidates, no difference
Published: Feb 24, 2024 12:29 PM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

Editor's Note:

In an election year, the world is witnessing a "tale of two Americas," with a growing number of controversies within the US escalating. What has caused the deep divisions in the country? Where are they headed? The Global Times has invited scholars from both China and the US to explore the issue. This is the fourth article of the series.

Currently, it looks like here in the United States we're set to pit Donald Trump and Joe Biden against one another in a rematch for the presidency. Both have millions of ardent supporters arguing that it's their man that represents a marked different path than the other. 

According to conventional liberal wisdom, former president Donald Trump is the candidate that represents conservative values and white supremacy while the prevailing conservative thought is that Trump represents a deviation from the norm and an opportunity to take the US in a different direction, especially as it relates to international relations. Mainstream conservative thought here also has it that Biden is the candidate representing our parasitic empire as it exists, being much more willing to use institutions like our military and its alliances to continue to drain our country of its resources while endangering our troops.

Liberals have a similar structural analysis, except they think it is a good thing that Biden is supposedly the one candidate who stands by our webbed system of financialization, market expansion and colonialism by supporting our traditional institutions like American corporations and military alliances. On both sides a foreboding and divisive sense that Biden and Trump represent two different Americas spurs on a sense of urgency and alarm.

This election means something. This election means everything!

The perception that the American voter alone decides the presidency ignores the fact that the Electoral College affirms the votes from each state before they become official. Both Biden and Trump supporters are operating under misapprehensions about their tribal leaders and what they stand for. Biden and Trump fundamentally represent the same America - increasingly repressive within our borders as our meager basic infrastructure crumbles along with our collective health and psyches while ceaselessly terroristic and domineering abroad.

Trump and Biden are not very different from one another when it comes to core issues like white supremacy, democratic rights, economics and war. They do, however, try and characterize one another as their polar opposite, derisively, despite sharing most of the same traits and values. 

Both men and their unpopular parties somehow manage to all thrive in the confusion caused by their superficial rhetorical squabbling. American liberals are deluded, thinking that Biden is less of a white supremacist despite his collaboration with segregationists, as the Nation put it, and his decades-long habit of making overtly racist remarks according to the Heritage Foundation.

Liberals believe that Biden is less disruptive to the rest of the world than Trump because Biden expresses support for institutions like NATO and Western banks and lenders they assume are forces for good instead of the singular threats to global peace and safety that they are. In fact, Biden has been at the helm for multiple American genocides committed on millions of innocents abroad throughout his career, from his support for sanctions on Iraqi people, mostly women and children, to his support for the subsequent hot war in Iraq. Additionally, another several hundred thousand innocent lives lost in Afghanistan, to his current partnership with Israel to displace a million indigenous Palestinians from their homes in Gaza and the murder of the Palestinians in the past few months alone. 

Carnage is built-in to the "rules-based world order" supported by Biden and uncritically supported and assumed as benevolent by his liberal supporters. For their part, many Trump voters have been fooled into thinking that he isn't just as much of a minion of the imperial global order which preceded him and which set the parameters within which all American presidents can operate. 

Trump promised to end American wars and cut down NATO. Instead, he kept all American wars raging. In contravention to the imaginary world inhabited by the consciousness of many liberals and conservatives alike, Trump was also remarkably belligerent and hostile to Russia, inflaming tensions between the two nuclear powers with sanctions as well as other alarming measures.

Conservatives think Trump would shrink waste and get America's house in order but instead both the national debt and trade deficit grew under his stewardship. Liberals expressed disgust at Trump's suspension of federal law as he kidnapped asylum seeking migrants at the southern border, separated families, and caged and killed their children but have ignored Biden continuing those exact practices.

The illusion that our awful presidential candidates and corporate political parties represent different philosophies and policies is as pervasive and dangerous as the delusion that we actually elect our presidents. The polls tell us that our brothers and sisters abroad rank the United States as a whole - not any individual president or administration - as a nation as the biggest threat to global safety.

We don't elect our president, and whoever is chosen by our party superiors and overlords is chosen specifically because they will continue America's uninterrupted streak of violent international adventurism. This is on top of domestic repression paired with inequitable distribution of wealth, all facilitated and driven by our founding ideology of colonial white supremacy. The sooner we realize that we need to start to listen to our neighbors, the sooner we can change those facts. 

The author is a Chicago-based columnist covering US politics & culture. He is also a university English & critical journalism instructor. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn