Trump is defeated
by Joachim Bischoff and Bernhard Müller
[This article published on Nov 22, 2020 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.sozialismus.de/kommentare_analysen/detail/artikel/trump-erhoeht-den-scherbenhaufen/.]
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris become the new presidential team of the United States. In the weeks leading up to their inauguration on January 20, 2021, the incumbent who has been voted out of office puts many obstacles in their way. Because Donald Trump still sees himself as the winner of the election and tries to overturn the result in several states.
Joe Biden has clearly won the presidential election, according to all major American media. He received 306 electoral votes, Trump only 232, and 270 votes are sufficient for the election. But Trump doubts the result, spreads conspiracy fantasies about an alleged electoral fraud of the Democrats and takes legal action.
Trump's lawyers demand that in Pennsylvania either the Republican incumbent be declared the victor or that the Pennsylvanian legislature appoint the electors. In Nevada, their demand is that either Trump or no one should be declared the winner. And in Michigan, Trump's legal counsel, Jenna Ellis, openly demanded that the announcement of an official final result be blocked and the election of the electors be left to the Republican-dominated Parliament.
In the opinion of many experts*, changing the election results retroactively by legal means has no chance of success. Nevertheless, Trump could be successful in his attempt to create political chaos: He invents an alleged Democratic conspiracy and bombs courts throughout the country with lawsuits. Most recently, the court rejected an appeal against the certification of the election results in the state of Pennsylvania. Trump's attorney Giuliani said that this was a chance to take the suit to the highest American court, the Supreme Court.
The possibility cannot be ruled out that the political chaos could escalate into a state crisis. The very fact that such a course cannot be ruled out is evidence of a deformation of democratic decision-making and could mean a prolonged institutional crisis. In comparison with corresponding state crises in other countries, the United States must be noted: There is no far-reaching independence of the political establishment.
The visible division of the political class does not translate into an instrumentalization of the military and security apparatus. A possible intention of the Trump clique to assert itself in the White House under the protection of armed security forces is absurd. The country's highest ranking officer, General Mark Milley, has made it clear that the armed forces will stay out of the election dispute. This is a question for the courts and Congress, the chairman of the United Chiefs of Staff declared in mid-October. The military has no role to play in this. Overall, there is no discernible inclination in the police, army and secret services to unlawfully support a president who has often spoken disparagingly of the generals and the federal police in recent years.
In foreign policy, Trump is trying to at least make a transfer of power more difficult: The United States is no longer part of the international agreement on military observation flights between the NATO states and Russia. The withdrawal has now become effective. In view of the American withdrawal from the agreement under Donald Trump, Russia had warned against a new arms race. After the open skies withdrawal, a major setback in the disarmament efforts could still be in store: The future of New Start, the last major nuclear disarmament treaty, remains in limbo. The treaty expires in early February 2021. Russia had repeatedly proposed an extension to the USA - without result so far.
The summit meeting of the leading economic nations, the G 20 summit, is overshadowed by the pandemic. According to the EU, the summit is to solicit additional money for the vaccine initiative. More than 150 countries have already joined the initiative, including China, but not the USA. Germany has contributed 100 million euros. The two-day virtual meeting of heads of government organized by Saudi Arabia will focus on the continued fight against the pandemic and the fight against climate change.
It is likely to be the last international appearance of Donald Trump, who was voted out of office but will remain in office until January 20. The USA would have a key role at the summit. But Trump is neither interested in containing the pandemic nor in the fight against global warming. After less than two hours, he left the video conference, after he had given a speech earlier, in the direction of the golf course, demonstrating once again his contempt for international organizations.
Trump also pursues a blockade policy in domestic politics. There are no approaches whatsoever for a cross-party fight against the pandemic, including the preparation of a mass vaccination. In addition, a new agreement for new support for companies particularly affected by the pandemic and for the unemployed is urgently needed because the billion-euro care package is expiring.
Joe Biden and the Democratic leadership in Congress advocate the adoption of another Corona stimulus package by the end of the year. Biden, the chairperson of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and the leading Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, had agreed to this. The package is to be passed with the support of Republicans and Democrats.
The aid package from the spring, which is also worth billions, also included emergency loans from the Central Bank. The head of the US Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, assures that the Fed will continue to use all its instruments to support the American economy - including the various Corona emergency credit programs that were set up in the spring and summer with the blessing and capital contributions of the Treasury Department.
In contrast, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin published a letter to Powell announcing the termination of most of these emergency credit programs. He argues that Congress deliberately set an expiration date (Dec. 31) in the relevant legislation. Therefore, he said, the Central Bank must pay back the unused funds to the Treasury Department so that they can be used for other tasks. Originally, the Care Act allocated 4 billion to the Treasury Department to secure the Fed's emergency programs. Of the 4 billion, the Treasury Department ultimately allocated 5 billion to the Fed, but this still leaves a lending capacity of about two trillion dollars. US dollar.
With this reduction of the as yet unused financial resources and the resulting restriction of the Federal Reserve's room for maneuver, it is clear that the leadership of the Republican Party is pursuing a return to debt limitation, even at the price of weakening the US economy. The Democrats, on the other hand, have long been pursuing the project of a new billion-dollar aid package.
The Trump administration, on the other hand, claims that the economy has recovered much better than expected and therefore only needs selective support. A cross-party adoption of an aid package is not in sight. Even if the political rampage of the president-elect expires without further deformations, the Biden and Harris administration must be prepared for a massive blockade policy on budgetary issues in Congress.
1] On the outcome of the U.S. elections, see in more detail the articles in the December 2020 issue of Sozialismus.de, especially our analysis "Close Victory for a Policy Change".