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The Democrats’ Problem




As you know, my examination of history has led me to believe that there are five major interrelated forces shaping events in the world. Studying them has given me a template that I can follow that helps me understand what's going on and what's likely to happen within what I call The Big Cycle. Then I watch the day-to-day developments in light of this cycle. Today’s observations are about the internal order cycle in the U.S., more specifically, focusing on the Democratic Party and President Biden dealing with the question of whether or not he should remain the party's nominee for president.

The loss of trust in the Democratic party and next steps

To begin, I want to make clear that I respect, like, and empathize with President Biden and I get that Democrats find themselves in a difficult position. At the same time, it is logical for me and others to say that the leadership of the Democratic Party has suffered a terrible loss of confidence in its honesty and judgment because it a) hid President Biden's weak and rapidly declining condition and then, when that condition became apparent, b) told the American people that we shouldn’t worry about it and that it will be best for President Biden to run for and be elected president. Now that this plan has gone awry, they are struggling with what to do. There are three possible plans that I see them struggling to choose from which I call "the bait and switch plan," "the mini-primary plan," and the "the coronation plan."

Read More: The Coming Great CoNFLict

"The Bait and Switch Plan"

The plan before the public's discovery of President Biden's condition, which is still the plan that they are now publicly sticking with, is to assert that President Biden will be fine. However, the public's discovery of his condition has led them to modify the picture a bit. For example, they now say that he is good between 10am and 4pm, but they haven't addressed the likelihood that he will get worse with time. That is obviously ridiculous and an insult to people's intelligence, so it leaves people a) with a loss of trust in the Democrats' straightforwardness and judgment and b) without a clear picture of how leadership will work and what the Democratic Party stands for. This is important in light of the split between those of the moderate left and those of the extreme left.

"The Mini-Primary Plan" and "the Coronation Plan"

If the Democrats decide to try and switch nominees before the election, they can select a replacement by either:

 a) having debates between the fragmented group of contenders (this will happen after President Biden steps aside and the division between those of the moderate left and those of the hard left will surface), which is what I call the mini-primary plan which would probably be harmful for their chances of winning in the general elections but would allow the American people to see and choose the leader and path they would like to be on, or

 b) having President Biden pass the nomination to Kamala Harris, which I call the coronation plan, because he and others, but not the people, bestow the crown on her, which would be less messy but would leave people without the opportunity to hear the debates and through that see what the different paths forward would be like and then make their own choices of the nominee.

Next Steps: What should they do?

I look at this case like the fable of the emperor who has no clothes and I think about what happened when everyone saw that he had no clothes and the lessons the fable provides — that it’s best to recognize the truth and move on in the best possible way. I believe that leading Democrats should start by, at least, recognizing and speaking the truth, whatever that is — for example 1) that they made a terrible mistake to let this situation get to where it has gotten by hiding it and 2) that they believe running Biden and Harris gives them their best shot of getting elected and that they will deal with his condition after they win a second term because the alternatives look worse to them. That's the real thinking behind the "bait and switch plan,” which to me is a terrible plan, any way you cut it.

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I think that, regardless of which plan they choose, they must acknowledge the problem--that Biden might not be able to serve out his term--and explain how they will deal with that in a detailed way, most importantly by making clear who will lead (e.g. Harris) and fleshing out what Democrats will stand for by having a very detailed platform and signaling who or which type of people she will choose as advisors, cabinet officials, etc.

I personally think the best way to get there is via the Mini-Primary Plan so that voters can see debates and the candidates' positions and, with those stress-tested, can vote for whom they want.  Regardless of what path the leadership of the Democratic Party goes down, it should be honest and follow through with doing what they say because without trust in their truth, they will lack what people need most to get behind them.  

I get that this is difficult and messy especially if President Biden refuses to go down this path, but running government is even more difficult and messy so I view this as a good test of how well they can handle tough situations.  To me, not being afraid to and being capable of doing what is required to lead and have people follow is a requirement for leading the country.

Who will step forward and deal with this in a straightforward way?  

I am still hoping for honest, smart, strong, and ideally moderate-bipartisan Democrats (or Republicans) to step forward and make the path forward clear. I know that they still exist. Mark Warner is a possibility so I will be interested to see how he handles this situation. I would expect that if one steps forward, more will follow. In any case, stepping forward in that way is the tough and right thing to do so I hope some leader will do that. If we see that doesn't happen, then we will see that the Democratic Party failed this important test.

As things now stand, there is no good presidential contender and no good party for me to choose from.

At this time, there is no good choice for me for the country's leadership because there is no one who is likely to give me what I value most. What I value most is civility over disorder, a strong bipartisan middle over uncompromising extremism, respect for law and order, respect for different approaches to life including not getting involved in other countries’ internal affairs, peace over war, strength over weakness, and thoughtful disagreement and radical truthfulness. I respect all different cultures and religions and prefer the freedom of people to choose the ones that suit them best. Basically, I prefer almost any way one chooses to live one's life as long as it doesn't hurt other people, and I would fight for these values because my study of History has taught me that they make the world a much Healthier and happier place than the alternatives. I also believe that strong Education that includes teaching strong character is essential and terribly neglected. Because all these things are weakening in the U.S., I worry about the U.S. weakening despite the remarkable inventiveness of a small group of people whose ideas are fueled by vibrant capitalism.

At the same time, as I see creative capitalist vibrancy producing great advances, I worry that capitalism doesn't put striving to provide equal opportunity as high as it should relative to striving to be personally rich and successful. As I think you know, I believe that not providing much more equal opportunity starting with early childhood Education is both unfair and unsustainable because it will lead to a weaker population, great social costs, and great coNFLict. So, I believe that what's needed is strong bipartisan leadership to make big reforms for the reasons that I explained, in some depth, five years ago when I wrote Why and How Capitalism Needs to be Reformed.

It is an unfortunate reality for me and about half of all Americans (46% from a recent poll) that we find ourselves wishing for a better alternative than supporting either of the existing candidates. While I personally would love to see a strong third party from the middle that can work well in a bipartisan way, that is not an option and is a topic for another time. For now, the choices I am seeing from both sides are more opposite than aligned with what I am looking for. I feel like I am faced with the choice between a strong, unethical, almost fascist Republican Party and a frail, untruthful, and enigmatic Democratic Party that is failing to make clear what they will do when their sitting president can no longer serve. I, and most others, know what the Republican Party stands for (the hard right) and who will lead it because Republicans are aligned and clearer about these things, but I don't know what the Democratic Party will stand for or what team of people will lead it over the nearly next five years.

For these reasons, it appears to me the presidential race is now essentially a race between the devil we know, who is from the hard right, and some devil we don't know who is from the left, though it's not clear how far left.