Presidential Election 2020: let the gaslighting begin


When the Democratic Party ends its charade of a primary process and spits out the person most closely aligned with neo-liberal policies, the gaslighting begins.

Democrats love to pretend. They pretend their party advocates on their behalf, even though the leadership makes clear they’ll do no such thing. They have no intention of doing what their voters want; the people subconsciously know and engage in wishful thinking, and every four years we witness a pathetic collusion.

“We will hold their feet to the fire,” is one of the saddest or perhaps funniest of all quadrennial proclamations. When the Democratic Party ends its charade of a primary process and spits out the person most closely aligned with neoliberal policies, the gaslighting begins. The victims go along with their abusers and announce they will accept what they said they didn’t want. They continue the kabuki theater with self-delusion and an odd promise to hold the intentionally corrupt candidates accountable.

Joe Biden profits from this bizarre dynamic just as much as his predecessor presidential candidates. He is the lowest light of all, a mediocre careerist with a penchant for inappropriate and racist remarks, a record as democratic segregationist in chief, and proud mass incarcerator. His home state of Delaware is well-known as the capital of capital and excels at doing the business of the banksters. Biden was always one of the most conservative Senate democrats and that is why he was chosen as Barack Obama’s running mate.

Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as his running mate has accelerated this troublesome dynamic. The farce always intensifies with a Black person on the ticket. Angela Davis proclaimed herself, “excited,” to see Ms. Harris grace the front page of the New York Times. Shaun King went from declaring himself “99% certain,” not to support either Biden or Harris because “They both helped build & advance mass incarceration,” to now saying, “Kamala Harris is the most progressive VP nominee in American history.”

It only gets worse. Film director Ava DuVernay scolded anyone who questioned anything about Harris. Not being Trump is good enough for DuVernay who completed that lowest common denominator low hanging fruit comparison with an admonition that critics were “disrespecting our elders.” The shameless Black political class excels in shaming others with idiotic appeals to phony racial solidarity.

Anyone who actually votes for a Democrat yet ends up pushing back against them is in a very distinct minority. Most Americans have been so bullied by the system that their political activity is already limited to voting. They have no experience whatsoever with political organizing and literally have no idea where to begin.

Black people are particularly vulnerable. Black politics now amounts to little more than keeping Republicans out of office. Whether they think they mean their words or not, there is rarely so much as a question asked, much less the holding of a foot to a flame.

Even if the people were sufficiently well-organized to call anyone to account, they would be begging Biden and Harris to act in direct opposition to the interests of the donor class who put them in their positions. The day after the Harris announcement, media headlines proclaimed that Wall Street was breathing a sigh of relief and Silicon Valley couldn’t be happier.

Kamala Harris was chosen precisely because she complements Biden’s determination to do nothing on behalf of the people. He famously told a group of funders, “Nothing will fundamentally change,” if he were elected president. Even if the previously unseen feet and fire trick was attempted, it would face interests determined to fight against it.

The trickery encourages the bullied and propagandized voters into silencing themselves completely. They won’t admit, even to themselves, that their situation is untenable or that they resent being painted into a corner.

Liberation can’t come from electoral politics. The mass movement comes first and electoral successes may follow. But there is a larger problem at work today. The recognition of the U.S. as an imploding failed state is rarely acknowledged. The days of getting a victory or even a partial win are long gone. The loss of democracy is complete and we are left with a system that must be torn up root and branch.

But that realization is lost on most people who can’t or won’t admit that the COVID-19 dystopian world is the only America they will get from here on out. There is no lesser evil, no Democrat who can save the country. There is only evil afoot and we must dispense with the idea that Biden or Harris can save us. They couldn’t even if they were interested in doing so.

Margaret Kimberley is an activist and long time columnist and senior editor at