The Weekend at Bernie’s Election

by | May 6, 2024

The Weekend at Bernie’s Election

by | May 6, 2024

weekend at bernies crop

It’s time for the most important election again, a rematch. The American voter will decide who will sit at the head of the world’s biggest government. A pick between two old men, each of whom have had four years as president.

Donald Trump, AKA “Orange Man,” has his fans, trolls, and “reformed” neocons clamor to see him upset the “woke” mob and to Make America Great Again II. Unlike last time, polls have shown more “non-white” voters than ever have an affection for Trump. And despite the best attempts of the corporate press and his legal concerns, Trump is currently ahead.

The incumbent, Joe Biden, is a lifelong politician who has gone from vicious careerist to giving awkward gaffs that Bushisms seem endearing and intellectually masterful. The “Ice Cream Man” has been propped up one more time to simply not be Trump, in the hopes that he can win again.  In this run Biden seems irritable and feisty but alive for now.

Trump and his ego exhibit great energy. On the other hand Biden may be powered by daily injections to help him walk, stand, and remind him of his name. Trump represents the zombie spirit of conservative nationalists desperate to re-live the Reagan era. Though Trump is no Reagan, even Reagan was not who he is romanced as being.Morning in America” has passed. Trump represents the zombie which plods on, re-living the twentieth century, while some of his supporters yearn for a nineteenth century. Behind Trump lurks a segment of the establishment; no swamp was drained, and in fact he helped to fill it a bit more.

Biden is the “safe” candidate, controlled and, despite his hair sniffing and lost gaze, he is indeed not his opponent. That’s what matters. Within the minds of those who hate Trump and Republicans, all that matters is a Democratic victory. “Vote Blue No Matter Who!” gush the dogmatic in their desire to win regardless of principles. Biden as a man was well past his mental health once he stopped being vice president. The United States now has an almost corpse. He may well embody the twentieth century Democrat politician raised on segregationist and pro-war sensibilities who matured into a political animal that uses progressive talking points. The irony is that Trump, for much of his life, was more “woke” with his liberal sensibilities than Biden ever was. Although the re-packaging of one and the brash word play of the other have solidified each man into memes.

The praise granted to Trump’s presidency is that he did not start any new wars. This is the high water mark for American presidential virtue, overseeing the killing of fewer nationalities than predecessors. Although Trump did expand attacks on those nations already in the cross hairs of U.S. foreign policy, he did shake hands with the North Korean dictator in what could have been a “Nixon goes to China”-lite moment. In many ways, it seems the Trump administration laid out a template that Biden’s team adopted for themselves. Above all, Trump was not Hilary Clinton, and for many voters this was his most important trait.

The not-Trump candidate is scorned for the “loss of Afghanistan,” but that escapade seems to have been mostly forgotten. In American public discourse, “losing” a foreign nation is a tremendous blow. When Harry Truman “lost” China it irrevocably tarred his presidency. And after two decades of war and semi-occupation, Afghanistan slipped free from American control. That was always the inevitable result, but the way in which the Biden White House “lost” that country stings at the ego of nationalists.

With each and every election we’re told “It’s the economy!” Years of government stimulus packages and state-imposed lockdowns have consequences, not to mention war spending taking its toll. Joe Biden is blamed for the current rate of inflation…that’s also occuring globally. Singularly blaming Biden is unfair, but party politics dictate that economic periods be isolated into brackets of leadership. The ebbs and flows of a command economy will always favor the planners and wealthy in the long term, while the common person suffers. Neither Trump or Biden are not entirely responsible for the success or failure of the economy they happen to preside over. Overlap inevitably occurs, and the pains and perks of distant presidents can reach far in the future, well beyond their time in office.

Most Americans are going to get screwed over. They usually prefer the guy who promises them free stuff, the lubricant before the screwing over commences. For non-Americans, we just never know what to expect from the U.S. government. Its history of betraying treaties and treating “friends” with disdain and disposability is known. Wars will be waged because they in some way suit the U.S. government, not the American people. They’ll likely be small “brush fire wars,” like supporting the aggressive expeditions or expansions of allies, or drone strikes and some low code Tomahawks fired to blow up tents or barracks in an Arabian or Persian desert. These are all very American things to do—presidential, even. Whether it’s Biden or Trump in the Oval Office only matters to the sound bytes and level of bravado and bluster.

Biden is the remnant of twentieth century American politicking and Trump is a cultural icon of that century and the years after. They lie to win. They all do. They have to. The government is a swamp, one that can’t be drained. As for Biden, he in some ways has run as the kid who copied Trump’s homework. The status quo works for the U.S. government while the publicity of an “orange” buffoon tends to appeal to those who find it funny or tragically believe in the paternal leader who will save them from widespread hardship. Trump, despite his braggadocious wealth, talks to the common person. Biden talks to the elites.

Trump has seduced some libertarians. The success of Javier Milei in Argentina has helped inspire the Libertarians for Trump 2.0 to endorse him again. Just as he did in 2016, Trump appeals to the fringe and celebrity caucus of the online liberty realm. Among them he has found unpaid advocates to convince their podcast listeners and meme consumers to vote for Trump, because…he’s not Biden? And the left-libertarian has embraced Biden because the lesser of two evil rationale refuses to die. Hence why we have elections at all!

Like the two protagonists in Weekend at Bernie’s who propped up the corpse of their dead boss to keep the party going, so too do the voters, media, and some in government keep the image of two men alive. Donald Trump for all his faults is an extreme extrovert with spirit, and he does love America. At least, the America he and his family made money from, and the iconography of the USA. He’s also a man with his own self-interest at heart, including his political survival. Beneath the drool and weak heartbeat of Joe Biden may lurk the shadow of a man who in some ways did believe in government as a force for good. But there are no angels. Corruption, the pragmatism of politics, the fate of his two sons, and age has withered that man away.

So voters are left with two faces of the same Janus mask worn by the U.S. government. Like any mask, it’s put on and removed at the whims of the wearer. Regardless of the election result, the U.S. government wins. Regardless of who comes next, government remains. For better and worse, the long twentieth century will soon be over and the new one will bring with it an AI splendor of rendered humanity. In time we may have the chance to vote for avatars and digital icons, rather than stained suits with soft meat inside. For now, two zombies of the past moan to be heard. When the winner is declared, government will government.

Have a nice Weekend! Bernie may be dead but the beers are still cold, too.

Kym Robinson

Kym Robinson

Kym is the Harry Browne Fellow for The Libertarian Institute. Some times a coach, some times a fighter, some times a writer, often a reader but seldom a cabbage. Professional MMA fighter and coach. Unprofessional believer in liberty. I have studied, enlisted, worked in the meat industry for most of my life, all of that above jazz and to hopefully some day write something worth reading.

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