Sumantra Maitra of The Federalist writes (abridged):
For someone living in the United Kingdom, the American Democratic primary debates looked very familiar, and almost cathartic. American politics used to be more muscular and substantive compared to contemporary performative and broadly procedural British politics.
The British parliament and Foreign Office work essentially like glorified nongovernmental organizations. Members of Parliament get theatrical, even weeping, talking about LGBT issues in the chambers where Winston Churchill and Lord Palmerston once sat deciding the fate of the world. The current elites of the country that gave the world Victorian stoicism and the World War-era slogan “Keep calm and carry on” have been reduced to wilting flowers, capable of being wounded at the slightest, and only concerned with what affects the politics of their loins.
This is a husk of a once-glorious superpower that lost its status completely due to their ruling class, and deservedly so. The elite has lost pride in their own nation. The leaders of men utter mindless mediocrities, and foreign policy is decided by emotive public opinion and mob-rule.
American politics used to be different. Well, not anymore, after what I observed during the Democratic Party’s first two primary debates. One of the many reasons Donald Trump won was that current Western political discourse is so self-defeating and emasculated that a section of the populace instinctively reacted by bringing forth a Leviathan. You won’t see such frivolous political debate anywhere other than the Anglosphere, where so much time is spent on utterly meaningless issues like what pronouns to address whom with, or whether abortion should be a free health care for transgender males.
I am a foreign policy guy, and I didn’t hear a single question about what should be the broader Western grand-strategy with regards to China, how to tackle the rise of the European Union as a rival power that is disintegrating European peace, or about growing competition over space, artificial intelligence, and genetics.
Did you know that by 2100 (three generations from now), Africa and Asia will have a population of more than 7 billion, whereas the combined population of Europe, North America, and Australia will be around 1.2 billion? This will lead the world towards a resource strain that, unless thought and acted upon, might result in a global conflict unlike anything ever in human history. That was not discussed in a party that focuses on climate change so much. The second debate did not even merit a question about possible war in Iran. It was a disappointing show of late-republic complacency. […]
Despite the valiant effort by a few Midwestern Democratic candidates, whose names I can’t even remember after a good night’s sleep, this is not the Democratic Party of the 1990s. Joe Biden, the forerunner, looked like a nonagenarian propped up by the willpower of the nation’s establishment in the ever-fading hope of going back to the famously bipartisan days of, err, Barack Obama.
For all practical purposes, however, Biden is a thing of the past. He might still win the nomination. After all, Hillary Clinton won the nomination as well. But he is a creature of a different era. His political instincts are all 30 years too late, and there’s one sin in a political candidate that’s worse than looking ignorant in public: looking confused. […]
Interestingly enough, the Democratic policy positions reflect that the party is, in all but name, a party of socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders. There’s an irony in that. Sanders is a shadow of 2016 and will not win the nomination. Leftists all over the world prefer the cult of the youth over wisdom, maturity, and merit. […]
One would have imagined the Russia hysteria would have propelled the Democrat rank and file to be more interested in foreign policy. It appears not much. […]
You think migration has peaked? All of Central America is collapsing under corruption and failed regimes. If there’s money that needs to be spent in investment and intervention, it should be in the backyard of the United States, simply to stabilize regimes to protect and guard their own borders as well as provide employment to millions who are now instead fleeing to the United States.
Needless to mention, none of that was raised. […]
Talking of elites, among a litter of terrible candidates, two were terrifying: Kamala Harris and Julian Castro. Forget about Castro’s cringeworthy pandering about transgender men. The far more dangerous idea was decriminalizing border crossing. Imagine that: crossing a sovereign nation’s border illegally would be like getting a parking ticket. […]
He also wants taxpayers to pay all the health care bills for every individual currently within the borders of United States. Harris, who has shown totalitarian instincts before as well, warned that she will give Congress 100 days to pass gun laws, or else she will issue executive orders. […]
In an era in which socialism is openly resurgent, the only issue that should be relevant to voters is which side guarantees state and individual freedom from increasingly centralized, administrative state jackboots. Nothing else matters.
Sumantra Maitra is a doctoral researcher at the University of Nottingham, UK, and a senior contributor for The Federalist.
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