There is much despair in the anti-Trump lobby that the best the Democratic Party could do was throw up a couple of ‘straight white men above seventy’ as presidential hopefuls, which basically would be a contradiction of the diversity and progressive ideology of its support base. Going by the results of the primaries, it is Joe Biden who has the lead and, very probably will be the party candidate for President. Critics complain that Bernie Sanders basically threw his hat into the ring to lose, knowing full well that his commitment to some extreme, very un-American ideas would ensure his defeat. By doing this, however, he took away the chances of some other more deserving candidates who did not receive due consideration from the voters because of the way the choices panned out.
Joe Biden, it is popularly felt, cannot even string together a few sentences properly. Up against a President who has difficulty pronouncing words that have more than three syllables, and the ‘vocabulary of an adolescent’, he has the unique distinction of seeming even dumber. His only hope of winning lies in the general belief that he is less ‘toxic’. It is clear that the Democratic Party has the same problem faced by the Congress in India – ideological confusion and a leadership crisis. Both require a clean and generational break from the past.
Although there are still some months to go, the present situation indicates a return by Trump to the Oval Office. He may not have done it effectively enough, but he has stuck to his promises to get the US out of other nations’ conflicts, seek a fair deal in international trade, and boost employment at home. The fact that difficulties are being faced is due to the enormous complexity of the task – certainly not achievable in one term. He has, at least, won India’s support on many fronts, which augurs well for the future. This is in sharp contrast to the condescending and preachy approach adopted by the likes of Bernie Sanders. Much of the Indian Diaspora, too, now inclines greatly towards the Republicans, shedding its old preference for the rival party.
A major problem for the ‘progressives’ in most democracies, these days, is that they have come to represent a bunch of contradictory forces, including all kinds of fringe elements. Many of these are in direct conflict with each other. They are afraid to exclude the fundamentalists because of their association with ethnic and religious communities. As a result, the real liberals are being scared away and migrating in droves to the conservative cause. Unfortunately, the leadership required for ideological clarity is entirely missing, because of which the ongoing trend is unlikely to change.