by Peter Westmore
President Donald Trump’s covid19 infection and subsequent hospitalisation have overshadowed the U.S. election campaign, including the first presidential debate and President Trump’s nomination of an outstanding woman, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, to replace feminist icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court.
The course of Trump’s Covid19 diagnosis will not be known for some time, but what is at stake was revealed in both the debate and the Supreme Court nomination, which will proceed regardless of the president’s health.
The first presidential debate, held in Cincinnati, was a two-hour brawl on a handful of contentious domestic issues – including climate change, the U.S. health system and covid19, race relations, and police killing of African Americans – between two candidates determined to shout down and abuse one another.
Behind the angry words, the debate revealed some of the differences between Trump and Democratic contender Joe Biden on key domestic issues.
Biden blamed Trump for the deaths of 200,000 Americans during the covid19 pandemic, ignoring the fact that health in the United States is constitutionally a state matter, and Democratic states have fared as badly as have those governed by Republicans.
When debating the composition of the nine-member Supreme Court, Biden refused to answer whether he would stack the Supreme Court – which, if Barrett is confirmed, will have a 6:3 conservative majority – if elected.
In light of the role the court has taken in advancing the left’s social agenda on things like abortion rights, same-sex “marriage”, race relations, the environment and other issues, stacking the court would fatally undermine the notion of the separation of powers, which underpins American democracy.
ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY
On environmental policy, Biden has already endorsed the alarmist climate-change agenda, and said that he supports a shift away from fossil fuels and the goal of zero carbon-dioxide emissions by 2050, a policy which would put an end to Trump’s policy of expanding oil and gas exploration and energy independence.
While Trump called for common-sense improvements in air and water quality, Biden alleged that Trump’s support for fossil fuels was responsible for climate change, including the wildfires that have ravaged parts of California, Oregon and Washington states, in America’s West.
Trump responded by saying that the fires were due to mismanagement of America’s forests where, like Australia, hazard-reduction burning has been largely abandoned in recent years, causing a massive build-up of combustible material in forests throughout the American West.
On the hot-button issue of law enforcement, Biden blamed Trump for the division in the country and for the violence in the cities. He mentioned several times that violence has gone up “under Trump”.
Trump was particularly strong in defending his executive order to end training in critical race theory. He bluntly called the training racist and said it trains people to “hate America”. Biden supported the training because many people are “racially insensitive” and need to be taught how to “not offend” others.
When pushed on his views about the police, Biden could not name a single law-enforcement group that supported him, nor did he even try to give a wholehearted endorsement of the police.
Instead, he talked about the need to have “psychologists and psychiatrists” go with law-enforcement authorities to try to “calm people down”.
He also talked about the need to “reimagine police” and have “community policing”, a policy that, when implemented in Portland, Oregon, led to the torching of many businesses by Antifa activists and attacks on federal government buildings.
Biden alleged that Trump supported white racists, while refusing to similarly characterise Antifa, the umbrella group of left-wing anarchists that has been responsible for much of the street violence seen over recent months in American cities.
Antifa, Biden said, was not an organisation at all but an “idea”. Interestingly, if you type “antifa.com” into a search engine such as Google, it goes directly to Joe Biden’s website! The “idea” must find Biden’s views at least unexceptionable.
Previously, on the nomination of Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court, Biden has gone further than the Democrats in Congress, who have restricted themselves to saying the nomination should be deferred until after January 2021, when the next president will be sworn in.
Biden has denounced her fairness and on account of her faith, echoing the radical feminists who have attacked the Catholic mother-of-seven, two of whose children are adopted orphans from Haiti.