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Is the End of the American Empire at Hand? Part 2

Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama
Efforts by the party of Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama to preserve our democracy have been disappointing, writes British author Patrick Watts.

This is the second of two articles by British author Patrick Watts questioning the fitness of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden for another term as president and analyzing the state of America's two major political parties. Yesterday's article reviewed the impact of the Trump-Biden debate and focused on the Republicans. In this article, Watts analyzes the Democrats.

The Disappointing Democrats and the American Empire

The party of Wilson, FDR and JFK. Champions of progressive policies designed to lift up the

less fortunate. The party of “Hope” and “Change” that managed to convince the country to

elect (and re-elect) a black president.

As with their Republican counterparts, however, these cheerful initial observations do not reflect the state of the Democratic Party today.

The party is now riven by infighting – centrists attacking progressives and vice versa,

consensus only seemingly possible when opposing Republican policies, not in making bold

actions of their own. They exemplify inaction, excuses and empty soundbites, pursuing an

electoral strategy so limited in scope that it is simply aimed at being “not the Republicans”.

The ruling echelons of the party exist primarily to ensure that its most elite members are

insulated from challenges, and that the status quo is preserved. This electoral protection

racket was so brazen as to fix the results of the Democratic primaries in 2016, to ensure

progressive Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign could not prevent the coronation of the

“chosen candidate”, Hillary Clinton. The glass ceiling of the Jacob K. Javits Convention

Center in Manhattan, chosen rather hubristically to celebrate an expected victory against

Donald Trump, remained unbroken as the obvious flaws of the Democrats’ candidate were

ignored by the party, but not the country.

The belief that an unfairly chosen, unpopular candidate would be guaranteed victory

because she was female and not Donald Trump reveals the naivety and myopia of much of

the party today: it is driven not by policy but by identity politics. Progressives clamouring for

real change are sidelined and ignored, as the party elite simply assume that voters will have

no choice but to hold their noses and vote for them in the face of a candidate such as


The elites remain wilfully ignorant of the anger felt by ordinary Americans when it comes to

inequality and being the subject of derision from metropolitan commentators – better

instead to simply label those who disagree with you as a “basket of deplorables” made up of “the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it”.

For a member of the ruling elite, not to mention the wife of a former president, to label a significant proportion of the US population in this manner is electoral suicide and would surely lead to soul-searching and an examination of the entire party strategy? Not so. The Russian bogeyman was to blame, and Hillary was supposedly robbed.

Even during the Obama years, the Democratic elite’s disconnection from reality was

evident, as working people were ignored, maligned and incarcerated in record numbers.

Although Trump was rightly criticized for caging children at the border and separating

families, his predecessor, nicknamed the “Deporter-in-Chief”, oversaw in this first term over

60 percent more deportations than Trump, in the naive hope that it would persuade

Republicans to agree to a bipartisan immigration bill.

Elsewhere, it was not Donald Trump who sponsored the 1994 crime bill, but Joe Biden.

Biden and the bill have come under repeated criticism for the disproportionate effect on the

incarceration rates for black males, a point clearly illustrated by the differing punishments

for arrests for cocaine in powder form (used by wealthier, white Americans) and crack

cocaine (used by poorer black Americans). A point often forgotten is that Biden was

supported by prominent members of the black community, who could see first-hand the

damage that the crack epidemic was causing in their communities. The recent moves by the Biden administration to decriminalize marijuana use, and expunge the criminal records of those convicted in the past for minor offences (again, disproportionately affecting black

males), might be proceeding too slowly for some critics, but they are certainly a step in the

right direction.

The most valid criticism of the Democrats today is that they lack the requisite determination

and invention to counter the actions of the Republicans, and that they are too busy “going

high” to address the long-term damage being done by an adversary content to keep “going

low”. The failure to use all tools available to challenge the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade,

or to enact meaningful gun-control legislation, are two major examples of this predicament.

If these issues really mattered to the Democratic elite, or if there was a genuine threat of

supporters withholding their votes because of such inaction, then pressure would be

applied at every possible point to find a solution. Instead, in the week after Roe v. Wade was overturned, it was straight back to business for Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden, namely using the Republican bogeyman to tap up worried donors for more campaign donations, without any mention of a specific plan to counter the move and protect reproductive rights. Even when action did follow in the form of an executive order, it was loosely worded, non-

binding and generally underwhelming.

Much more could be added since this was originally written, as both parties head blindly

toward an election with unsuitable candidates at the helm. Both seem ignorant to the fact

that democracy is precious and should not be so wilfully abused and taken for granted. Is the end of the American empire at hand?

British author Patrick Watts' new book, “The End of the American Empire,” warns that unless some of the issues that beset our country are resolved, the “American empire” will collapse. Part 1, focusing on the Republican party, was published yesterday . Watts appeared on the Lean to the Left podcast February 26 and that episode can be found here: Video; Audio.  To check out his new book,“The End of the American Empire”, podcast discussions, and more, visit

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