2020 U.S. Presidential Elections: Reflections outside the Box

ANGLO AMERICA, 20 Jan 2020

Richard Falk | Global Justice in the 21st Century – TRANSCEND Media Service

Four Reflections on What Would Help Democrats Defeat Trump

14 Jan 2020 – It is time to consider how the Democrats might win back the presidency and gain control of both houses of Congress. With the recent near stumble into a major disruptive war, with high risks of escalation beyond the Middle East, this election may well determine the future of the United States as a constitutional democracy as well as whether regional and global peace, security, and stability will be restored in coming years. It is time to think outside the box, or at least enlarge its contents. The ‘electability’ tactic should not be used  to throw the nomination to a candidate who will demobilize and dilute a part of the anti-Trump consensus or alienate American youth upon whom the future depends.

Here are a few ideas that seem worth discussing:

  • Can Michelle Obama be persuaded to enter the race for the Democratic Party nomination? She seems to possess the qualities of leadership and the unifying values that are needed at this time, and none of the existing candidates possess to a similar degree. Although holding no prior political position, and never running an organization, she seems to possess the strength of character and access to the best advice that would compensate for this gap in experience. She also has the benefit of being in the White House during the eight years of the Barack Obama presidency.
  • Can Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren be persuaded to merge their candidacies by one dropping out, and swinging support to the other. My preference would be for Warren to withdraw, especially if she doesn’t do well as Sanders in the Iowa caucuses, and endorse Sanders, especially if he does well in Iowa. If she makes such a laudable move, it is hoped that Warren would be promised the top economic policy position in a Sanders presidency.
  • Induce Barack Obama to enter the fray by highlighting the danger of a second Trump term, by pointing to the erosion of democracy by voter suppression of various kinds, and through gerrymandering that deliberately distorts representation in local, state, and federal government. This is not a time for a former president to defer to the decorum of silence. Jimmy Carter has been addressing these issues, but Obama is certain to draw more favorable attention, especially if Michelle Obama remains on the sidelines. George W. Bush could further redeem himself if willing to call upon Republican senators to respect the Constitution rather than their partisan loyalties.
  • Can ways be found to heed the anti-war and anti-nuclear admonitions of Tulsi Gabbard, the only primary candidate, with the partial exception of Sanders, who has addressed meaningfully these issues, and in the process proposing a less militarist image of a future U.S. global role. Gabbard comes with the baggage of some unfortunate past interventions in public debate on controversial policy issues (for instance, Syria, India), and even withheld her vote on Trump’s impeachment in the House. Nevertheless, she had demonstrated intelligence, courage, independence, and a willingness to revise her positions, and deserves a place on the stage, which the MSM and the hard left have effectively denied her. Money and media editorializing should not have the last word if we seek to restore a flourishing democracy. It is worth recalling that she resigned from the Democratic National Committee so that she might support Sanders in the 2016 primary battle.


Richard Falk is a member of the TRANSCEND Network, an international relations scholar, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, Distinguished Research Fellow, Orfalea Center of Global Studies, UCSB, author, co-author or editor of 60 books, and a speaker and activist on world affairs. In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Falk to two three-year terms as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and associated with the local campus of the University of California, and for several years chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. His most recent book is On Nuclear Weapons, Denuclearization, Demilitarization, and Disarmament (2019).

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