The vexing Biden-Trump rematch could purge an era of broken, bipartisan dynamics—or not

That a shameless, dimwit outlaw like Trump can humiliate both state and federal justice confirms its own devastating “conviction" as failed legal systems.

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What the majority disdains—the grizzly shootout at Old Man’s Bluff—could clear the decks for change

Viewed from a space station, volatile, headline politics is a daily soap opera that eventually informs meaningful history. Such a panorama frames the presidential campaign symbolically, not just as an epic choice that determines America’s future but as a potential purge of regressive politics on both sides of the aisle. Even for this default Biden defender (strong on domestic gains, climate, treaties, despite crazed opposition; overseas disasters less from age than Cold War fixations), that stance is more about the unspeakable menace of Trump and Trumpism than approval of the oft-spineless muddle of liberalism. 

A slew of key U.S. systems (judicial, Congressional, crony capitalism, electoral, immigration, health care, regulatory, environmental, taxation, and education) cry out for humane, equitable reforms—but that alone hardly moves the needle. Knuckle-dragging Trump is the nightmare of empowering extremism, but neither Democrats nor the American majority are rushing to advance serious, democracy-serving reforms. In short, at best we’re in an historic holding pattern, clinging with fingernails to survive the storm so we can begin the hard, systemic work. Yes, waiting for reform is as dicey as waiting for Godot. 

If Trump wins, all bets are off, and we rush headlong into the horrors of a strongman takeover coup. That calamity certainly shakes any routine political dynamics, leaving an abysmal void. I still see Trump as nationally unelectable (just thanks to abortion bans, seething racism, insurrections, Ukraine/Putinism, dictatorship, and cutting Obamacare/Social Security/Medicare), but even his failed candidacy elevates cancerous fascism. Because the MAGA disease feeds on itself, the best way to obliterate Trumpism is a clear, national rout, a full-throated rejection from high up to grassroots. 

Either we believe in sanity, consensus and elections or we don’t. That thumping would qualify as a justified party purgation after years of the despicable right-wing lying while crying havoc. If not dumped hard on history’s garbage heap, even battered Trumpism will prolong its zombie force. The indefensible subversion of “chaos and destruction first, then trust corrupt Trump pulls off something better” demands both a real and symbolic refutation—otherwise, that way lies catastrophe.

A blow-out axes the blowhard

If Biden merely staggers home, then Trumpism plunders on, feeding a movement that will outgrow its incredibly-defective cult leader. The highly-objectionable current mix has legs—a battle royal between the Democratic push for an inadequately-reformed status quo vs. the cynical, ruthless, violent MAGA types who scorn everything that has made America a stable democracy. And yet, a second Biden term, alongside Dems winning the House, delivers a base-building transition, good enough to release pressure. No, that won’t overcome seemingly unshakeable anchors (income inequality, billionaire bucks, regressive judiciary, the filibuster, Electoral College) but it keeps the ship afloat. 

Four more years of Biden equilibrium, with moderate gains, provides the best refutation to the rabid right’s sustained treason. Promising closure to a Dem era of shortfalls from Clinton to Obama to early Biden, a second Biden term could redraw lines. The right offers a surge of sputtering, solution-free zombis so admitting where liberalism fails helps America fix itself—and with key reforms, not bandaids on broken systems.

So, while many here mock the Biden-Trump rematch, that doesn’t mean positives can’t come from heaps of dysfunction and bad faith. Neither national party defending what isn’t working addresses tectonic cracks (except oddly Trump with only bad answers), but 2028 could signal a power shift, even new-found options. Whether this “rest period”—and more disgust with the status quo—motivates enough voters young and old to defy Big Power/Big Money politics, an outdated militaristic, foreign policy, and deluded American exceptionalism—we can only guess. Undeniable, however, is that bad gut instincts defying reason, science, expertise, and truth-telling assure exactly the bizarre, dystopian fantasy Trump punches out, hand over fist. 

Probabilities, not finales, are knowable

So if we lay out vectors across the grand scheme of things, here are the prospects: a second round of safe Bidenism, a second round of unhinged Trumpism, inciting more violent, civil mayhem, and/or so much disgust with failure that a groundswell reform movement advances. Progressive change must transcend the specious, media charades (akin to Trumpism) by lightweights like JFK, Jr., and demand superior, far savvier third party visionaries that focus outrage. So far, low-leverage third parties offer little more (beyond a legacy of raising key issues) than facilitating a rogue misfit to seize Electoral College votes. 

Whether I sound like an optimist or pessimist (never a tiresome doom and gloomer), the great thing about human imagination is projecting what we know into what may happen. I think a New New Deal takes many decades, but a 2024 rout of Trumpism and a second, functional Biden regime set up our best chance for change since the 1960’s. Of course, Black Swan events undermine any such modeling. Whatever. I am sick of diseased, fraudulent Trumpism, void of real solutions for ordinary folks, and join the army on the left outraged with a Democratic Attorney General who so bungled the Trump indictment schedules he should be called the Attorney of Injustice. No Black Swan (or politics) blocked expediting the trials of serial criminals.  

Broken systems bleed broken outcomes

That a shameless, dimwit outlaw like Trump can humiliate both state and federal justice confirms its own devastating “conviction” as failed legal systems. If shenanigans by the worst traitor since Benedict Arnold deflect mandated trials, then justice delayed is not only denied but axed as an essential electoral ingredient. Any pre-election disarray about the degree of full Trump criminality is a disgrace the DOJ will not outlive for decades. A steady, relentless wave of telling trials should have been a tsunami, not a fetid pond of thrust and counter-thrust. If a defendant as predictable, as wholly inept at lawbreaking as Trump, rebuffs limitless brain power and budgets, beware the next, smarter authoritarian. 

The world is complex and messy, democracies more than most. Tradeoffs between unappealing choices are inevitable. No one gets the ideal champion, certainly not with any chance to win. Perhaps 2024 delivers more clout for secondary parties, but so far, not enough to deny Biden. Except for cultists deluded that Trump has the skills to improve their lives, too many will vote without enthusiasm. Few of us get our dream candidate, but that doesn’t stop informed, rational adults from distinguishing between leaping off a cliff into a firestorm—inept, blundering autocracy that falls over itself—vs. a tolerable interim by which Biden and a Democratic Congress will openly and logically debate what needs to be done and how to do it. 

No one promised anyone a rose garden, and while righteous commitment to reform honors our collective humanity, only years and years of hard work in the trenches spawns a new Progressive Era. That means electing a generation of systemic game changers who refuse to abandon law and elections for chaos and violent disorder. There will be blood but greater awareness may eventually surface. Otherwise, the kingdom of the status quo endures—good for the few but not the many. Forced, handcuffed muddling is bad business, bad politics and bad government. 

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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.

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