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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Elliot Benjamin is a philosopher, mathematician, musician, counselor, writer, with Ph.Ds in mathematics and psychology and the author of over 230 published articles in the fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, pure mathematics, mathematics education, spirituality & the awareness of cult dangers, art & mental disturbance, and progressive politics. He has also written a number of self-published books, such as: The Creative Artist, Mental Disturbance, and Mental Health. See also: www.benjamin-philosopher.com.
Defeating Trump in 2020
An Integrative Perspective
Now let me very clear—this is not about my personal inclinations or my progressive values or who I personally would like.
In my previous Integral World essay, "Reducing Trump's Destruction, Rethinking Impeachment" , which I wrote in the midst of the November, 2018 United States midterm elections, I changed my previous perspective of promoting the impeachment of Trump, based upon what I understood about why the Democrats took charge of the House in these elections. This was over 5 months ago, and I have not gone back to my previous Impeach Trump position, in spite of how tempting it is for me to do so. For the stark reality of Trump being president for another 4 years is just too horrific for me to be willing to take any chances on alienating a significant majority of the middle-of-the-roaders, who I believe absolutely must vote Democratic in 2020 if we are going to finally get rid of Trump next year. And it is along these lines that I am thinking about who is the most viable choice of a 2020 United States Democratic presidential candidate who can defeat Trump.
Now let me very clear—this is not about my personal inclinations or my progressive values or who I personally would like to see as the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. This is completely pragmatic in the sense that my first and foremost mission is to get rid of Trump. Consequently I am looking at what I have described previously as an “integrative perspective” , in that I am focusing upon the various perspectives of United States voters, and trying to gauge who may have the best shot at defeating Trump in 2020. Along these lines, the following description (with bold font, capitals, and italics reproduced from the original) very much speaks for me :
“VICTORY IN 2020 IS IMPERATIVE. WE ARE IN A WAR WE MUST WIN. THE FUTURE OF THE UNITED STATES IS AT STAKE. PERIOD.
But the terrifying reality is that Trump is now on a roll after Barr's cover-up of the Mueller report, and his prospects for 2020 look stronger than ever . Suffice it to say that if there is a Democratic candidate who has the potential to defeat Trump, like the vivid above quote, I am emphatically and strongly in favor of this candidate. Now let me cut to the chase here. Like the author that I quoted from above (cf. ), my personal inclination for a Democratic candidate at this point is Kamala Harris. But I have to ask myself the question: will enough of the middle-of-the-roaders go for her? Will enough of the middle-of-the-roaders overcome any hesitation they might have because she is a woman with a Jamaican/Indian family heritage? Similarly, my progressive leanings might favor Bernie Sanders, but I have to ask myself the question: will enough of the middle-of-the-roaders overcome how Trump will relentlessly attack Bernie as being a “communist” and enemy of the people of the United States ? I could go on and on here, but the bottom line is that I am very concerned that if the Democratic candidate is too “progressive” or too “minority” or too “gay” or whatever, he or she will lose the necessary support of the middle-of-the-roaders to defeat Trump in 2020.
Then again, one may very well ask what about all the House progressives who surged to victory in the 2020 elections? And this is where things become complicated, and I am certainly by no means a political analyst. But it appears that there is a “silent majority” of centrist Democrats who may very well decide whether or not Trump gets elected in 2020 . In a mathematical perhaps over-simplification, I like to think of the situation as basically a third of the country as Trump supporters, a third of the country as progressives, and a third of the country as middle-of-the-roaders. There is no single candidate who both the progressives and the middle-of-the-roaders will be happy with, but there is virtually no chance that a progressive is going to vote for Trump; however, there is every chance that a middle-of-the-roader may vote for Trump. Sure a progressive may stay home and not vote, and this certainly had disastrous effects in the 2016 election and I believe is much of the reason we now have President Trump. But I also think that if there is a strong centrist Democratic candidate who the middle-of-the-roaders can get behind—as I do the math, this could go a long way to countering the third of the country who are Trump supporters, and with a reasonable showing of disenchanted progressives who “do the right thing” and vote for the Democratic candidate they are not enthused about, as described in the above article excerpt , then yes I believe we can actually get rid of Trump in 2020 once and for all.
So who is this strong centrist Democratic candidate who can actually do the job on Trump? Well my integrative perspective is telling me that it is Joe Biden. Yes I think Biden, in spite of the trouble he has recently been in with his too “friendly” physical overtures to women , is in the best position to strongly carry the middle-of-the-roaders as well as get “enough” of the progressive vote to defeat Trump. Next to Biden, I would pick Beto O'Rourke, though I greatly prefer Biden's experience and qualifications to that of O'Rourke's. Then again, while I think O'Rourke would have less appeal to middle-of-the-roaders than Biden, I also think that he would get out more of the progressive vote than Biden. And it is at this point that I will stop my predictions, and remember that I am by no means a political analyst. But my main point is that if I am going to be true to my convictions, then my No. 1 and No. 2 choices for 2020 presidential Democratic candidate at this point are Biden and O'Rourke, in spite of my personal inclinations for Harris and Sanders. And this is how an integrative perspective to defeat Trump on 2020 looks to me in April, 2019.
Notes and References
1) See Elliot Benjamin (2018), Reducing Trump's Destruction, Rethinking Impeachment: A More Integrative Perspective, www.integralworld.net, November 2018; and see my 2018/2019 updated version of this article, entitled "Reducing Trump's Destruction, Rethinking Impeachment After the Midterm Elections", in La Voz de Esperanza, 31(10), pp. 7-9
2) See a number of my Integral World article for a description of my integrative perspective; in particular see my 2017 Integral World essay Fighting Against the Trump Dictatorship: An Integrative Perspective, www.integralworld.net, January 2017
3) See Yosef 52 (2019), If Biden is Our Best Shot to Beat Trump, I'm for Him. If Bernie is, I'm for Bernie, and So On, www.dailykos.com, April 08, 2019
4) See Mark Mazzetti & Katie Benner (2019), Mueller Finds No Trump-Russia Conspiracy, but Stops Short of Exonerating President on Obstruction. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com, March 24, 2019; Melissa Quinn (2019), Five Reasons Why the Public May Never See the Full Mueller Report. Retrieved from www.washingtonexaminer.com, March 27, 2019; and John Wagner (2019), Poll Shows Rebound in Trump's Job Approval After Release of Mueller Report Summary. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com, April 12, 2019.
5) Another concern that I have about the prospect of having a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate too “progressive” is that it could spur on the running of former chief Starbucks executive Howard Schultz as an independent candidate, which I believe could seriously hinder the Democrat's chance of defeating Trump in 2020. See Andrew Ross Serken (2019), Howard Schultz Draws Fire from Trump and Bloomberg Over 2020 Plans. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com, Jan 27, 2019.
6) See Nate Cohn & Kevin Quealy (2019), The Democratic Electorate on Twitter Is Not the Actual Democratic Electorate. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com, April 8, 2019; and Philip Bump (2019),Two Early Warning Lights are Flashing for Democrats in 2020. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com, March 20, 2019.
7) See Kary Woldman (2019), Joe Biden and the Perils of Good Intentions. Retrieved from www.newyorker.com, April 7, 2019.