At the crossroads: Trump’s fascism vs. Biden’s New Deal

BY:Juan Lopez| May 21, 2024
At the crossroads: Trump’s fascism vs. Biden’s New Deal


This piece is a contribution to the Pre-Convention Discussion for our 32nd National Convention. During Pre-Convention Discussion, all aspects of the party’s program, strategy, and tactics are up for consideration and debate. The ideas presented here are those of the author or authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Communist Party USA, its membership, or their elected leadership bodies. — Editors

In 1935 Georgi Dimitroff described Hitler’s German fascism as the “open terrorist dictatorship” of the most reactionary sections of monopoly capital.

The great Communist leader might as well have been describing the rise of Trump’s American-brand fascism, Make America Great Again (MAGA).

Both on the campaign trail and during his presidency, Trump made pronouncements and enacted measures that threaten democratic norms, imperfect as they are today, going back to the nation’s founding.

How else to interpret his declaration that he would rip apart the U.S. Constitution, presumably including the Bill of Rights?

Those are not empty words, as shown by the January 6 bloody invasion of the House of Congress and aborted coup to overturn the 2020 election results, orchestrated by Trump and his associates.

Trump and his close associates, the fascist think-tank Heritage Foundation and a Republican Party dominated by neo-fascists, have learned much since that first coup attempt.

If Biden wins in November, Trump and fascist co-conspirators can be expected to try to overturn the elections by any means necessary, including violence.

This scenario serves to highlight the unprecedented nature of this historical juncture.

It is not the usual succession of one administration by another, but the substitution of one form of rule – democracy, however imperfect it may be today – by another form of rule, open terroristic dictatorship.

Trump’s fascism vs. Biden’s New Deal 

What makes this juncture in our nation’s history unique is the unprecedented danger of fascism on the one hand and on the other the break with the neoliberal, trickle-down economic and political model on the domestic front.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, one of the most progressive members of Congress, said it best after Biden’s last State of the Union address: “The contrast and competing visions for America’s future couldn’t be more clear.”

Lee added that President Biden is attempting to build an economy from “the bottom up, not the top down, through job creation and taxing corporations and the wealthy one percent.”

She said, “I was pleased to hear his commitment to reproductive freedom, voting rights, and strengthening the Affordable Care Act, Social Security, and Medicare, reinstating the child tax credit, and addressing the affordable housing crisis.”

Lee is describing programs that Trump, as president, tried to cut or eliminate with the solid support of Congressional Republicans and the Supreme Court’s fascist/far right super-majority.

While Trump was holding a rally at a non-union company and bad-mouthing the head of the United Auto Workers Union in the middle of a strike, Biden was picketing with striking auto workers and their union president, Shawn Fein – a first for any U.S. president.

Highlighting the clear break with the trickle-down model which dominated Washington’s policy for decades, Biden introduced the Build Back Better (BBB) legislative package, strengthened labor rights, and codified other progressive measures, reminiscent of the 1930s New Deal and the 1960s Great Society. The Biden administration coined the new economic and political model, Bidenomics.

This legislative package and other progressive measures reflect the Democratic Party platform and the leftward thrust of the majority of the U.S. people.

Another sign of this leftward thrust is that, when first introduced, BBB received the near unanimous backing of Congressional Democrats, a thrust also reflected in the growth of the congressional Progressive Caucus.

On the other hand, the BBB was solidly opposed by Congressional Republicans.

Nevertheless, Biden managed to pass and sign four groundbreaking pieces of legislation: The American Rescue Plan, the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act, the CHIPS and Science Act (CHIPS), and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Put together, these four are resulting in massive jobs creation favoring labor standards and unions; funding for programs benefiting discriminated peoples and the poor; and expanding affordable healthcare, among other benefits.

The IRA contains an unprecedented infusion of funds to promote renewable energy that will help fulfill the U.S. contribution to global net-zero emissions by 2050.

Foreign policy: One super-power dominance 

However, much of the pitch that President Biden used to pass the pieces of legislation, particularly the IRA and CHIPS, contained more than a little anti-China rhetoric, and not just to sell the idea to Republicans and a few vacillating Democrats.

It also reflected Biden’s misguided foreign policy seeking to reassert U.S.’s top dog status in the world.

What’s more, the rhetoric is being backed by measures that restrict China’s access to more advanced artificial intelligence innovations. Earlier this week, the President raised U.S. tariffs sharply on imports from China of electric cars, solar panels and other high-tech manufactured goods.

A tough but necessary task of the broad left, centered in labor, environmental and other mass movements, is to figure out how to win over public opinion, sections of capital, and eventually Congress and the President to re-orient U.S. policy towards China on a path to cooperation, not confrontation.

Just as Biden and others associated with Bidenomics concluded that neoliberal trickle-down policies are a failed model, it is potentially possible to influence them to conclude that the U.S. one-superpower model has outlived its usefulness in a much-changed world.

More recent history showed that progress is possible at least on the existential threats of climate change and nuclear weapons, if the Biden-Harris ticket is re-elected.

During the Obama-Biden administration, an agreement was reached with China on climate change, and with Iran over its nuclear power for peaceful purposes. Trump scuttled both, as president.

The crossroad

All the gains during Biden’s first term, and those won by the U.S. people over generations, are at stake in November.

Absolutely everything depends on winning a super-majority for the Biden-Harris ticket in battleground states. Similarly for Senate and House races.

It is not hyperbole to imagine what the victory of a power-hungry climate denier and trigger-happy narcissist could mean for humanity – slow death by climate change or quick death by nuclear holocaust.

The survival of democracy and humanity will be on the ballot in November!



    Juan Lopez is chairman of the Communist Party in northern California and statewide coordinator. He has been a labor and community activist during the nearly forty years he's lived in Oakland, where he and his wife raised three children. He was formerly a member of the Teamsters union and a shop steward.

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