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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Carlos Alberto Montaner: Joe Biden Jumps Into the Ring
Latin American genius Carlos Alberto Montaner on the U.S. Presidential election as Joe Biden enters the race and who Montaner predicts will be Biden's running mate.

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

Joe Biden will try to be the Democratic candidate. He was Vice President of the United States for eight years during the Barack Obama administration. He will try to bell Donald Trump. He is the 20th candidate. That does not mean more divisions (there are already divisions), but an increase in the range of offers. While it is difficult that Trump be challenged within the Republican Party (unless the Republican John Kasich, former governor of Ohio, decides to do so), there are many Democrats who want to get to the White House.

There are white, black, and mestizo ladies and even some with a slight pre-Columbian racial touch. There are Catholics, Protestants, Agnostics and Jews. There is, for the first time, an avowedly gay candidate, veteran of the Afghanistan war, married to another man. There are socialists committed to correcting the markets and there are those who prefer capitalism even at the risk of increasing differences. Like I said before, there are candidates for almost all tastes and beliefs.

So far, Biden leads the candidates, but that is not enough. In the United States, fifty different elections take place to elect the candidate and in them the most radical voters tend to prevail. Even if Biden were the best option to defeat Trump, the candidate will be the one that gets the most votes in the primary election and it is possible that Sanders wins that race.

Where I live, in Florida, a very important state for the presidential election, there is a movement to allow independent voters (let me state the disclaimer that I am one of them) to participate in the selection of candidates. The number of independents is slightly greater than that of Republicans and Democrats. If this movement wins, probably Sanders wouldn’t be the candidate. Independents tend to moderation and they don’t follow parties, but government programs and leaders who offer guarantees to fulfill them.

In general, independents are skeptical and choose the candidate that seems the best or even the least bad. Sometimes they vote in favor of the Republicans and sometimes they choose the Democrats. That (another disclaimer) has been my electoral behavior. Six of one, half a dozen of the other, according to the positions of the candidates. I would have liked, for example, that John McCain had sat in Lincoln’s chair, and I would have preferred Jeb Bush instead of Donald Trump, but, as the Spaniards say, “what you cannot do, you cannot, and, besides, it’s impossible.”

Trump is getting ready to face Sanders. His declaration of “war on socialism” is aimed to that end, although, for now, the Senator of Vermont has limited himself to demand free healthcare and education. (The word “free” is a language license; someone will have to pay for it).

Strictly speaking, these positions are not excessively worrisome. In the upshot, almost all Europe pays the costs of health and college studies with public funds. If it is understood as “human capital formation,” it is an explainable investment. If it is considered as a “right,” as the Constitutions often affirm, in my opinion it is nonsense. But it seems that today the majority of American society wants that change and it is not worth to be splitting hairs.

What scares me about Bernie Sanders is his position before the leftist totalitarian dictatorships in the adult stage of his life, when he had readings and experiences to discern correctly. That he fell in love with the Cuban revolution in the sixties is excusable. Many boys paraded after the magic flute of the bearded Hamelin of the Caribbean. That Sanders continued to sing praises to the Cuban revolution in the eighties (and added the Sandinista barbarism to his devotions), when it was evident that it was an enormously repressive Stalinist regime, is intolerable.

Finally, if CNN is correct, and if he is elected candidate, Biden’s running mate will be Stacey Abrams, the young black woman, novelist, law graduate at Yale University, who was on the verge of winning the governorship of Georgia. In 2009, a young African American and a veteran white senator from Delaware entered together in the White House. Despite the mistakes, among which was the unilateral opening to the Castro regime that bled Venezuela, they made a remarkable government. Maybe in January of 2021 a moderate old white man will be presiding the government with a brilliant young African-American woman as Vice President. It’s almost the same ticket, but the other way around. They could bell Trump.

Carlos Alberto Montaner is a journalist and writer. Born in 1943 in Cuba and exiled, Montaner is known for his more than 25 books and thousands of articles. PODER magazine estimates that more than six million readers have access to his weekly columns throughout Latin America. He is also a political analyst for CNN en Espanol. In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Montaner as one of the fifty most influential intellectuals in the Ibero-American world. His latest novel is A Time for Scoundrels. His latest essay is "The President: A Handbook for Voters and the Elected." His latest book is a review of Las raíces torcidas de América Latina (The Twisted Roots of Latin America), published by Planeta and available in Amazon, in printed or digital version.


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