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The election of Donald Trump to the presidency can be directly tied to the policies implemented by Barack Obama and Joe Biden during their eight years in office. Rather than confront Wall Street and the bankers who were responsible for the global financial crash of 2007 and 2008 they bailed them out. Rather than halt the military adventurism that led to the debacles in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya, they backed and expanded the wars, including the use of military drones. Rather than curb the destructive power of the fossil fuel industry, they presided over the largest increase in domestic oil production of any presidency and opened up more public and protected lands to drilling. Rather than address the gross injustices visited on the poor, mostly poor people of color, by militarized police and in the courts and the prison system, they allowed these injustices to flourish. Rather than make the inner workings of government transparent, they used the Espionage Act eight times to prosecute whistle blowers, including Edward Snowden, who exposed the wholesale government surveillance of the public. Most importantly, they did not stand up against global corporations that have carried out deindustrialization, imposed punishing programs of austerity and left cities across the United States in decay and poverty. The failure to address the suffering and anger of a betrayed public, even though the electorate gave them in 2008 a clear mandate to ameliorate this suffering, has been economically and politically catastrophic. As Biden embraces, once again, these corporate friendly policies, as he too betrays the mass of Americans. He seeds the ground for the return of another demagogue who may be Trump, or may be someone who this time is endowed with the focus and organizational skills, which Trump lacked, to snuff out what is left of our anemic democracy.
Robert Eisenberg’s new book is The Center Did Not Hold: A Biden/Obama Balance Sheet.
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