Biden, Harris, and the Exploitation of Racial Statistics

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The incestuous relationship between the corporate press and the political establishment was finally exposed—and in a most unflattering glow—four miserable years ago, but the spotlight has burned relentlessly brighter with each passing day of the Trumpish Age. The purportedly left wing of the American bourgeoisie continues to raise moral alarm on the remarkable occasions that mainstream commentators call the Democratic Party to account. Nineteen months removed from the arrest of Julian Assange, whose imprisonment was newly prioritized as soon as he proved the irredeemable nature of the DNC, and the intellectually infantile remain unpacified. For my own part, I regret my failure to reveal the full extent to which the commercial media exonerated, shielded, and eventually resurrected Joe Biden in the course of the last two years. I have attempted only an introduction to the religious fervor and intolerance with which the gatekeepers of the information apparatus have restricted access to the details of Biden’s illicit exploits in Ukraine, and even this is merely a single page of a story that the respectable publishers would never deign to print.

That story became history on Saturday morning, when the Associated Press decided that Arizona, or Pennsylvania, or possibly some other state was “gone” for Biden, and that was good enough to declare him the next President of the United States. At that point, whether we realized it or not, we commenced the production of a sequel, the purpose of which is effectively the same as that of its precursor: to convince the American electorate that seventy-six million of them voted of their own untiring volition for Biden. Biden, that moribund oligarch who last served as the understudy in the most disappointing presidential administration in modern history, spent more than $300 million of other people’s money in pursuit of executive power, and in bringing his chase to a successful close, he has proven our national virtue . . . or so the corporate media declares.

What an amusing privilege it would be to ask the entities moaning these maudlin encomiums for Biden: “What is virtue, and how does it differ from national virtue?” Usually, the white bourgeoisie mistake political virtue for national virtue—but this is seldom consequential, for they define both as the number of colored Americans who voted for the same presidential candidates as they. I can’t even begin to count the articles I read in advance of Super Tuesday, cursory editorials emphasizing the “overwhelming black support” for then-candidate Biden and accentuating the absence of such a “diverse coalition” for Bernie Sanders. The intended conclusion of this assessment, which was delivered almost exclusively to whites, was that Biden was the more virtuous candidate. Evidently, Sanders’s popularity among Latinos—who may or may not be the same as Latinos; the pundits are never entirely sure—was an inadequate substitute, as an awkward article in Vox sought to explain.

This strategy is familiar, tediously so, to those who have spent the last several years studying our political culture. Hillary Clinton regularly reminds herself of her own moral supremacy by pointing to her domination of “the black vote”. An estimated eighty-eight percent of black voters selected her in their presidential ballots four years ago, and this, she believes, affirms her virtue—relative to Trump, at the very least. For some reason, she neglects to mention that President Obama “won” a slightly larger “share” of ninety-five percent in 2012, and she is positively loath to acknowledge that “total black turnout” fell by seven percent, an unprecedented tumble, in the elections of 2016. Notwithstanding all of this statistical parsing, one might wonder why these white politicians, and the pallid pundits who praise them, are so eager to insist upon their popularity among black voters. Or, more specifically: why do they interpret this as a telltale sign of virtue?

In my essay on the problem of invoking feminist theory in opposition to Amy Coney Barrett, I was perfectly willing to concede the obvious point: if upwards of ninety percent of women shared one opinion on abortion rights, then men would do well to defer to the judgement of the fairer sex; but, in the absence of that uniformity, debate must endure. The Democratic Party would be tempted to repurpose this logic in the context of the racial demographics of American voters, but when forty percent of the electorate habitually abstains from the contest, there simply is no monolith to claim. The task, then, is to create the impression of a monolith, to convince the electorate of its existence, and to displace reality with a mendacious political interpretation of random phenomena. The media has labored toward this end for the last several years, but the work is not complete with the election of Biden; it will continue indefinitely, at least for as long as the corporate media continues to serve as a gaggle of publicists for the Democratic Party.

We cannot claim surprise when we learn that the next project is already underway. The Democrats must prepare Kamala Harris to run for president in 2024—a most intimidating task, for let us recall that their own party loyalists rejected Harris with unanimous scorn less than one year ago. At the moment, their best option is to depict Biden’s victory as if it were Harris’s, and while such a notion is too ludicrous to take hold within the bourgeois imagination today, the seeds of the idea ought to be planted as soon as possible. Enter Roxanne Jones, a sportswriter who inscribed her name in the historical chronicle by publishing the first analytical piece toward this pseudohistorical end. In an article written for CNN, she depicts the election as “a hard-fought victory” that was “made possible by support from 90% of Black women (and 79% of Black men)”. Unsurprisingly, she exonerates Harris on her dishearteningly bloodthirsty record as Attorney General of California, advising us to listen to the insufferable apologetics of a YouTube commentator known as Reecie Colbert. Once these inconveniences are overcome (and Sean Combs’s support is oddly emphasized), Jones is free to proceed to her conclusion—in a word, that Harris’s electoral success is the cathartic culmination of “hundreds of years of slavery, Jim Crow laws, justice and inequality” [sic].

Are you sufficiently nauseated? I regret to inform you that you are not. We can anticipate a plethora of similar panegyrics, penned for Biden or for Harris, depending on the momentary condition of the political climate, as we commence the next stage of our dystopic decline.

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