A Momentous Election

So here we are, 10 days out from the most momentous election of my lifetime. 

Candor requires that I admit that I have often felt that sense of existential emergency around election time. But reflection tells me that the closest thing to the 2020 election was the 2016 election, and that was not because of its wild card—Donald Trump—but because of “sure thing” Hillary Clinton, the single most corrupt serious contender for president in our history. 

That may seem melodramatic, but the truth is often melodramatic. 

I did not, until recently, suspect Joe Biden of serious corruption. The ongoing revelations from Hunter Biden’s “laptop from hell” have led me to reconsider that judgment, especially when combined with the ongoing bulletins from Hunter Biden’s former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, who claims that Joe Biden, contrary to his repeated assertions, was involved in discussions about his son’s business dealings. 

So far, I believe, the public is not privy to any smoking-gun evidence about Joe Biden’s involvement, but the gun is warm and the optics are bad. The implicit oath of omertà followed by the media with respect to the saga of Hunter’s laptop has been truly impressive. 

Day after day, the New York Post, which first broke the story a week or so back, has been broadcasting more and more tidbits from this extraordinary trove of perversity and apparent corruption. No matter that the Post is the country’s fifth-largest paper: Twitter, Facebook, the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, and television news have joined forces to close the public’s eyes, seal its ears, and scream there is nothing to see here, move along, and pay no attention to those muffled cries from the oubliette. It has been an extraordinary act of malignant solidarity, worthy of the Politburo in the heady days of Joe Stalin’s airbrush

I think this strategy is in the process of backfiring. Twitter may close down the Post’s account and forbid people to retweet its stories, but that, too, is news and the news, finally, will out. The Streisand Effect will not be denied. 

I have limited curiosity about Hunter Biden’s choice in narcotics or prostitutes. His alleged influence peddling, however, trading introductions to “the Big Guy” for wads of cash, especially if some of that cash wound up in the Biden family fisc—well that is something else entirely. The implications of this story have yet to penetrate the consciousness of the mainstream media, who are playing the three wise monkeys for Halloween, at least so far as Democrats are concerned. But it won’t matter. Curiosity is a stronger passion than politically fired discretion. We’ll find out what’s on that hard drive, and we’ll find out soon. 

Even so, it is not Biden’s alleged corruption that is the primary issue for me. If the allegations are true, they are heinous and disqualifying, indicating blatant corruption of the grossest, most damaging sort. Add China into mix—there are, after all, an awful lot of Chinese actors in this movie—and you have a thriller-level scandal waiting to happen. As Andrew McCarthy reports

In November 2011, Hunter Biden’s business associates arranged meetings at the Obama White House for a delegation of the China Entrepreneur Club. Established in 2006, the CEC is led by high officials of the Chinese Communist Party, some government officials (including diplomats), and billionaire business executives with close ties to the regime.

This visit to the White House is said to have included a meeting with then-Vice President Biden. In discussions among themselves, Hunter Biden’s associates reportedly made it clear that they anticipated cashing in on business prospects that were expected to arise from providing the Chinese contingent with high-level access to the Obama administration.

I think of the phrase that the travel writer Alexander Kinglake wanted inscribed upon the lintels of all churches in England: “Interesting if true.” Still, these allegations, if true, though they would be enough to dissuade me from voting for Joe Biden, are not the reason that I think this election is the most momentous of my lifetime. 

Is it because of the stark policy differences, then, between the candidates that I believe this election is so momentous? The differences are indeed stark, as a simple list of issues will demonstrate to cognizant voters: Taxes, regulation, immigration policy, environmental policy, energy policy, judges, foreign policy, affirmative action and everything that’s loaded into the charge that America is “systemically racist”—even to utter these words is to acknowledge that the differences between what Donald Trump has done and wants to do and what the Democrats promise is as night and day. President Trump is about “America First.” Team Biden is about “America Failed.” 

But even those powerful differences do not, by themselves, describe why I think this election is so important. The real gravamen is this. The battle between Donald Trump and the Biden-Harris coalition is a battle between the forces of republican democracy, on one side, and the forces of socialist oligarchy, on the other.

I understand that “democracy” is more of a eulogistic than a descriptive word, a totem under whose soothing light every sort of regime, be it ever so brutal, wishes to bask. The fact that North Korea is officially known as the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” underscores that fact. 

I understand, too, that ever since Donald Trump made his fateful descent down the escalator at Trump Tower in 2015 to announce his candidacy for president, uninformed people have been denouncing him as “authoritarian” and worse. 

Those charges have not abated. On the contrary, they have become more widespread and hysterical among a tiny, though highly visible and well-funded coterie of the nomenklatura. But evidence of his alleged authoritarianism, to say nothing of his supposed “fascistic,” Hitlerian (literally Hitlerian) inclinations is never forthcoming.

Trump has governed not as a “fascist” but as a rambunctious and sometimes impatient businessman whose top priority has been to keep his promises. I have often rehearsed the impressive litany of Trump’s kept campaign promises and I won’t repeat it here. 

But it is the other side of the divide that throws president Trump’s virtues into relief. He fights to make America great. The other side would make America prostrate. Donald Trump rode to victory on a wave composed partly of populist fury, partly of populist enthusiasm. The Biden-Harris coalition, even more than the Clinton candidacy, is a product of the swamp, the pulsing, self-engorging bureaucracy that regards itself as the only legitimate repository of political power. Although determinedly left-wing in its policy prescriptions, it is, as Joel Kotkin points out in his new book The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class, essentially feudal in its deployment of power and contempt for the masses it seeks to control with the panis et circenses of technological distraction and bottomless surveillance. 

Donald Trump may be an odd ambassador of freedom. His motley may not pass muster in the salons and drawing rooms of our lords and masters. But Joe Biden is but a gibbering front for a vanguard that would destroy America as traditionally conceived—America, I mean, as a crucible of ordered liberty, limited government, and individual freedom. 

The swamp would smother those ideals in a muck of group rights and the rule of diktat, not law. It would represent not the peaceful transfer of power but the destruction of that process by the substitution of political correctness for politics. No longer would it be a debate about policy. It would become instead a series of heresy trials, with a sort of spoils system benefitting lucky members of the new commissariat. 

A preview of this new order was recently vouchsafed by the diminutive satrap Robert Reich. “When this nightmare is over,” he tweeted, “we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It would erase Trump’s lies, comfort those who have been harmed by his hatefulness, and name every official, politician, executive, and media mogul whose greed and cowardice enabled this catastrophe.” 

Noted. And the truly frightening thing is that it would be susceptible neither to repeal nor revision but, having cast our political life into a Manichaean struggle between heresy and the regime, would hearken only to competing entreaties from its own medium of exchange, naked power. 

The prospect of that malign dispensation is why I believe the 2020 election is the most momentous of my life.

About Roger Kimball

Roger Kimball is editor and publisher of The New Criterion and the president and publisher of Encounter Books. He is the author and editor of many books, including The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia (St. Augustine's Press), The Rape of the Masters (Encounter), Lives of the Mind: The Use and Abuse of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse (Ivan R. Dee), and Art's Prospect: The Challenge of Tradition in an Age of Celebrity (Ivan R. Dee).

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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39 responses to “A Momentous Election”

  1. Well Stated. Reich’s comment sets it our in stark relief. The Dems are so self righteous, totalitarian and oppressive that a Biden win could lead to either a civil war the breakup of the nation.

  2. >Donald Trump may be an odd ambassador of freedom.
    Why say that?
    You expect he should wear latex tights and carry a vibranium shield?

  3. Those voting for democrats won’t like the results as the dems forget about them after they consolidate their power. The country will become a socialist hellhole with the government and a few oligarchs controlling all the rest who will live in poverty.

    Ayn Rand was right in Atlas Shrugged. If the dems win we’ll find that her fiction is reality (along with “1984” and “Animal Farm”, both by George Orwell).

      • He’s not wrong. They used to deny in the shrillest of tones that they were Marxist-Leninists. Now there is a group encompassing most of the Democrats in Congress proudly calling itself the “Democratic Socialists of America,” whose positions, on policy after policy, reveal that they think what’s wrong with America is that we’re not enough like North Korea.

        Just their promises to pack the Supreme Court as a putsch against separation of powers and pack the Senate with newly-minted Democrat “Senators” representing flyspeck overseas territories as a naked, shameless power grab should terrify you. Unless you’re one of those people who thinks that in the New Order he’s going to get a big shiny “Committee for State Security” badge and an army of thugs at his beck and call, to get even with everyone who made fun of him in high school. There were lots of them just after the Bolsheviks took power in Russia a century ago, too. Most of them ended up in shallow roadside graves, as revolutionaries are no longer useful to the Party after the revolution.

  4. Wait till they open the border and allow millions of immigrants to access socialised healthcare.
    Can you imagine? Nancy, Chuck and Bernie sitting (with you) in a massive hospital waiting room with a mass of homeless and newly arrived immigrants??

  5. Hillary Clinton’s “Foundation” which many believe was selling influence to foreign countries was never thoroughly researched but there were many signs, most notably, it’s collapse after she lost the election.

    We should not be surprised that Obama, Biden and Kerry were doing the same thing while in the White House. Hillary sold out 20% of the world’s uranium to Russia, so serving tea to the Chinese in the oval office isn’t that much of a stretch.

    Providing that Trump wins and I pray that he does, it will still be decades that we find out the depth of the Obama corruption.

      • Can you provide links, or share where you learned that from? Thank you

      • Even the left-leaning Wikipedia admits it all took place; they just deny that it was treasonous or even illegal.

  6. I see surges of black, Latino, #walkaway and didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 voters on the Republican side, but nothing of the sort for the Dems. I don’t think it’s going to be close. That enthusiasm gap of 29 points isn’t going away, it’s probably getting wider as more Biden corruption is exposed.

  7. I am more interested in the half of Hunters salary from Birisma he was kicking back to Joe when he was VP and performing favors for the company.

  8. creativedestructionmedia[dot]com is publishing the Hunter Biden CCP sex tapes.

  9. The Plan has certainly been interrupted by Trump’s appearance but it has not been abandoned. Check Deep Capture for the details of how Obama would give way to Hillary while keeping her on a leash until Michelle could be walked into office. It all begins when China bought Bill Clinton quite cheaply.

  10. “I did not, until recently, suspect Joe Biden of serious corruption” Seriously? You haven’t been paying attention. He bragged about getting a prosecutor fired. That’s not serious? After that, it’s hard to take anything in this article seriously.

  11. Kimball has predicted a Trump re-election from day one and I think he will be proven correct. I have seen many elections but this one will be the most important because the democrats have vowed to make a California out of the US. After that there will be no need for any more elections and we will be under the heel of Comey and the rest of his gang.

  12. The COVID-19 tyranny that captured America is but a preview of what awaits America should the Democrats win this November 2020. Additionally, the teenager Kyle Rittenhouse who defended himself against certain death at the hands of BLM/Antifa rioter is in jail accused of murder. And the McClosky’s of Saint Louis were indicted on felony weapon charges for defending their home from BLM/Antifa trespassers.

    These are harbingers of Police State America should the Democrats win or steal control of the government this November 3. Even if President Trump is reelected, reigning in the control freak sexual fetish possessing nearly every elected politician will take time.

    If the Democrats win, justice will always be to their advantage. That means all opposition to them will disappear one way or the other. Americans will be forcibly subjected to their governing agenda which is but a collection of myths: climate change and the Green New Deal, systematic racism, white privilege, LGBTQ doctrine, social justice, Krugman economics.

    Americans will only hear or see or be permitted to speak, doctrine approved by the Democrat Party. And worst of all, the Democrat Party will hand America over to the Red Chinese, in exchange for privilege and lucre. Thank you Joe Biden.

  13. The Democrats are owned by the tribe. And they yearn for the “good old days” of their Messiahs – Lenin and Stalin – who they helped murder FIFTY MILLION across Russia and Eastern Europe. But those do not count, since they were mostly only Goyim!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Biden knows this, and dances to their tune!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. I fully understand now why the Fathers so guarded the right to vote. Some will say it prejudicial that only white men could vote. The truth is that white men were generally well informed, and being informed was considered the basis of voting in practice. That no longer stands in the USA seems to me. All socialist countries ending up with dictatorships fully evolved to that point because of an uniformed, ignorant population easily swayed by envy tactics. That is what this election is about. We are on the precipice where the numbers of uniformed who vote recklessly for their own doom may outnumber those of us that hope to maintain and flourish, wise to the intent of our Fathers.

    • I was confused for a moment when I read your statement: ” an uniformed, ignorant population” I wondered what uniform did you have in mind, the Blackshirts of the Italian fascists? Please let me hand you an “n”, so that your comment reads: an uninformed, ignorant population.” Aside to people writing style checking software: It would be great if you incorporate enough artificial intelligence in your software so that it could understand context and say, respectfully, “Did you mean “uninformed” where you wrote “uniformed”?

  15. In his arrogance, Reich touts the idea of a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” designed to destroy the right forever. Has he even considered that if Trump wins, and the right is ascendant, some of them might think a Truth and Reconciliation Commission is a good idea, only not pointed at the right?

    • I’ve thought we’ve needed one since the Waco Massacre in 1993. But the Swamp would never permit such a thing.

  16. For a book smart guy you are blind to the real world. How you missed the ongoing coup sponsored by the Democrat party and the Intelligence organs is beyond belief. I guess if old sleepy Joe wins you won’t sleep thru your invitation to a train ride to a Hillary fun camp.

  17. A “truth & reconciliation committee?” WTF?

    Does anyone think something like this would be anything other than an excuse for settling scores? And they won’t stop with Trump, his family, his political appointees or his business associates. Nope, these people will not be satisfied unless and until they have gotten even with the half of the country that voted incorrectly the last time. You can expect social media bans, doxxing on a large scale, rent-a-mobs showing up at not just Tucker Carlson’s home, but the home of any civic minded person running for local office who happens to have an “R” behind their name. The logical end to all this is a Chinese style “social credit” score, where you are denied employment, banking services, higher education, and a whole host of other aspects of life if you are suspected of having the wrong ideas.

  18. I have never felt more helpless in my life. It’s like being involved in a terrible crash when you’re not the driver. You can see what’s coming, but are powerless to stop it. How many Americans are out there who can see beyond the smokescreen of fear, hate and blame? Is it known that beyond packing the court, the agenda includes getting rid of the electoral college, the filibuster, and every other safeguard the founders put in place to protect us from one-party rule? The fact that the federalist system broke down so completely in the states “ruled” by democrats, is telling. Initially these governors appeared uneducated in civics and government (“above their pay grade”). But now it appears a lot more deliberate.

  19. Only thing is- we don’t have, and never have had, and hopefully never will have- a democracy. The correct term of the day is- a representative republic-. The exact opposite of a democracy. Other than that- right on!

  20. …what big corp media and their XanaX-addled acolytes fail to grasp is that DJT will use every single technical option that money can buy to its fullest advantage and then, when all of THAT is in place, employ an absolutely ruthless killer instinct to exploit every weakness, real or perceived, in his opposition. That’s what he did in NYC. That’s what he’s doing in Washington D.C. After Trump gets finished, politics in America will never be the same. Plain Vanilla Professional Politicians need not apply.

    • I hope that you are right. I hope that he wins.

      At the same time, I’m not going to get my hopes up. He’s just one man. All the Democrats march against him in lockstep, and 90% of his own party are tripping over their own enormous clown shoes stumbling to join them. The Deep State stands against him.

  21. I never understood the critique of a good write is how eloquently,
    He beats around the bush, the means are more important than the end
    I like your writing Mr. Kimball and I support your content, of this and all your articles I’ve read.
    I’m going to step up the the edge, this election on Nov. 3rd, if the President wins big, for me and a majority of American citizens, will have come out, on the good side of a defining moment, in our history.
    It will be a great victory against the evil spreading over us like a cancer.
    But it is just a battle in a war, started by the American voter in 2016. We’ve had skirmishes before PDJT won in 2016, when we elected this man to be President, we declared war.
    War against, a few, who want to have power over the beacon civilization. It’s not always pretty, but this beautiful country, is the best, the human being has come up with so far.
    History is redundant, so comparing us to the revolutions of past tyranny, of the few, over the masses of the rest, is easy to predict. It has been happening since the beginning.
    The Founding Fathers knew of this never ending Serfdom, and gave us an over ride switch. After declaring the incredible freedoms to us in the first amendment, they backed it up with the fail safe of the second amendment. Kyle Rittenhouse wasn’t a victim of the evil trying to consume us, he was an example of the good, that will not give up this way of life.
    First we vote. The President will win an honest election in a land slide, on Nov. 3rd.
    The next day after a strong victory, will continue to battle until we win the war, for individual freedom.

  22. The only evidence that one needs to see to price Biden is corrupt is the fact that under Biden/Obama, China militarized the South China Sea and Russia invaded and annexed 20% of Ukraine while Biden/Obama did nothing. That is what China & Russia bribed Biden for.

  23. Yeah. Scary times. I only hope the polls are wrong, and President Trump wins Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Otherwise, the Republic is dead.

  24. In the name of Jesuschrist, because of all your hate and bigotry I condemn you to an eternity in hell

  25. Thank you for articulating my thoughts so lucidly. I too have never seen a more significant election. And, critically, unless I am deluded, I have never before seen such large parts of the media taken over by pure propagandists.

    But consider this: if Trump wins, this brave new left will not go away. It will continue to manipulate information and approximately half the electorate will continue to believe he is Mussolini reborn. Congress will prevent much potential progress from happening over the next four years. The Dems will win next time, or, if not, the time after. Unless: Trump adopts precisely the totalitarian tactics he has so far admirably eschewed and which we so rightly abhor.

    On the other hand, if Trump loses this time, the Dems will have little choice but to double down on their Stalinist approach to information. If the Laptop from Hell is not suppressed completely, the voters will realise they have been duped. Mr Kimball and his like may then actually be in danger. And once you start down that path, there is no turning back.

    So yes, a critical election, unexpectedly, startlingly so. But either way, the outcomes are disturbingly stark.

  26. No, it doesn’t matter that the NY Post is the nation’s 5th largest newspaper if what they publish is garbage. Any story coming from Rudy Giuliani 2 weeks before the election is about as believable as the story that Ted Cruz’s dad killed JFK. That story was published by Trump’s favorite newspaper, the National Enquirer.

    The reason the laptop story is so suspect is that the laptop in question does not exist.

    • Why has the Biden campaign demanded to get it back, then? Slow Joe hasn’t denied its existence, just the authenticity of the data it contains.

  27. I am afraid there is going to be a massive Democrat landslide. The Democrats are more motivated than we are. I see enormous numbers of Democrats waiting in line for 8 hours to vote early. We aren’t doing that. And the lines on Election Day are likely to be just as long, based on the numbers in Fairfax County VA. (Only about 1/3 of the electorate has voted early, and the product of polling places times hours open on Election Day is only 2x those for the whole Early Voting period).

    • If so, the Democrats are likely to get that civil war they’ve been working so hard to start since 1993. If not, we get four more years to prepare. A civil war is inevitable the next time the Left takes control in the rituals of ballot-box stuffing we laughingly refer to as elections. I’ve accepted that and made my peace with it.

  28. The greater abuse of power was by the Democrat House of Representatives in that they railroaded Trump into an impeachment on what is now emerging as fact: The Biden’s were involved in shady dealings in Ukraine/Burisma and he had an obligation to root it out! Democrats continually ‘project’ their own transgressions on their opponents as a way to deflect and distract attention from their own misdeeds. Impeaching Trump over Ukraine was like impeaching the watchdog when he barked at an intruder!