US Presidential contest hots up | Sunday Observer
Biden falls again, but Trump cornered by prosecutions

US Presidential contest hots up

11 June, 2023
Former Vice President Mike Pence
Former Vice President Mike Pence

US President Joe Biden, triumphant over his victory in getting opposition Republican Party assent for his long-stalled Federal financing plan, again tripped and fell during a public official event, reminding people once again of his age. The 80-year-old President, well known for his astute ‘state craft’, stumbled and fell on stage at an awards ceremony of the US Air Force in Colorado.

This latest physical faltering by Biden may not seriously affect his prospects as the Democratic Party’s candidate at next year’s US Presidential Election. But the rival Republican Party, America’s Grand Old Party (GOP), must worry over their choice between a criminally implicated, but yet popular, Donald Trump and a rather bumbling current Florida state Governor Ron de Santis for candidacy at next year’s presidential contest. Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence has also thrown his hat into the ring.

Neither Republican personality has any degree of general public popularity to match Biden’s general popularity ratings but, within the Republican voter base, especially the MAGA (Make America Great Again) camp, Trump is far ahead of de Santis.

The Democratic Party, nevertheless, has to watch their current leader’s health. There is no one else in that party with the nationwide voter appeal anywhere near that of Biden’s. As things stand today, the next presidency seems to be largely in the lap of the Dems. That party’s leadership must certainly be fishing around to prop up, for voter consideration, other younger, policy-wise equally appealing, candidate alternatives to Biden, just in case.

Foreign policy

America’s geopolitical allies in the First World however, also watch these developments nervously with both NATO and the European Union (EU) clearly preferring the intellectually competent Biden as against Trump’s entirely un-intellectual, un-intelligent policy whims and geopolitical antics. De Santis has a past record of a traditional, rightwing, American world hegemonic geopolitical outlook, but in his attempt to out-Trump ‘the Donald’, the Florida Governor is now copying Trump’s erratic, crude, isolationism and unilateralism in his foreign policy pronouncements. His running battle with film, streaming and theme park giant Disney may also cost him politically.

Most US mainstream analysts agree that, for the forthcoming Presidential hustings, the GOP has the more difficult challenges to tackle.

President Joe Biden falls at an award ceremony

This is largely due to the incredible line-up of criminal prosecutions against the twice-impeached Trump, the very first American President in that country’s short history to face such charges. This first American national leader to entertain the rest of the world with his crude sexual (viciously sexist) jokes and showmanship with known volatile dictators like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is now fighting off various civil law suits. They range from libel to sexual assault.

Far worse, this man who is now being exposed as not being the ‘billionaire’ he once claimed to be, faces criminal charges for attempted election rigging at State level (in Georgia State) and, complicity (if not leading) in an insurrection against the national capital to thwart a national election (on January 6, 2021). Worst, he faces possible treason charges for stealing and betraying State secrets to foreign powers or big business interests. He also landed in hot water for keeping classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, though President Biden was also implicated in a similar case. It is these cases that could end Trump’s chances of even standing for future elections.

For the rest of the world, the prospect of a continued, unimaginative, Democratic Party geopolitical posture of hardline ‘Free World’ foreign interventionism, is most unpalatable. Much of West Asia remains devastated: whether it is the daily physical smashing of Palestinian homes by Jewish settlers or assassinations and detentions of Palestinians or, the suffering of millions of refugees from civil war torn Libya and Syria or, the devastation in Yemen.


Amid these persisting terrible outcomes of US-led Western geopolitics and, the continued military stalemate in Ukraine, Washington can barely listen to Taiwan’s nagging over neighbouring China’s belligerent posturing, and, Japan’s nagging over North Korea’s latest missile tests, let alone the urgencies of new conflagrations inside Sudan and elsewhere in impoverished Africa.

The conventional war in Ukraine drags on as all sides (i.e. including the armaments industry interests) continue to test out their latest weaponry, their respective warfare system capabilities and, their military doctrines. Sustaining or enforcing troop morale seems a basic need on both warring sides. Mercenary forces from all over the world are also enjoying much ‘market demand’ from both sides. There is even a verbal battle between the Russia-allied Wagner Group and the Russian military over Russian casualties.

Even as these foreign wars continued to explode destructively on a vast scale, another kind of bloody armed action seems to be overwhelming the United States of America. The image of the jovial, friendly American handing out goodies around the world, and the icons of life-saving Spider Man, Superman, Batman and Super Girl (among other heroes) is changing.

Gun violence

It is now getting increasingly replaced by the image of real-life, gun-toting, battle dressed, American men (women ‘warriors’ are yet rare) either posing for the media as ‘White Supremacist’ battalions or seen being arrested (or shot dead) after maniacal mass shootings all over the country.

Where else in the world are primary and secondary school teachers being asked to wear guns in holsters inside the classroom and the schoolchildren taught gun attack survival? That is, other than in the ‘Land of the Free’, the model of ‘Democracy’? Absolutely nowhere else.

Today, in some states – typically Republican-ruled – of the US, such militaristic procedures are already compulsory by law. Student backpack manufacturers now offer bulletproof backpacks to be used as shields from gunfire. Parents are learning how to advise and train their children to respond with calm reasoning during gun attacks whether in their streets or in schools or parks or gyms in order to survive such sudden assaults and hostage taking.

Florida Governor Ron deSantis

Worse, a recent survey found that 15 percent of parents surveyed had felt compelled to relocate their families to homes in areas less prone to nightly gunfire and other violence.

This is not to speak of American adults generally having to prepare for sudden gun attacks while at the cinema, in discos, supermarkets, banks, city parks, and simply the street as one steps out of home.

Those planning to migrate to the land of the Green Card must now check out the least gun-prone regions – in addition to avoiding regions unfriendly to non-Whites or hostile to all migrants in general. To some migrants it could literally be the escaping of their home country ‘frying pan’ only to actually fall victim to gun fire.

Unless, fired up by various social conflict motivations in one’s home country, one likes the choice of flamboyant weaponry. The new ‘Wild West’ is excellent advertising for the AR-15 assault rifle. Do you prefer the lightweight, bullpup, version or the heavier, long-range, standard rifle? Both are convertible to fully auto-fire and are sniper scope enabled.


Closer to home, the politics in India are also gearing up for next year’s Lok Sabha elections most likely toward the end of the first quarter. The elections in the world’s most populous capitalist democracy, naturally the most expensive given the 1.5 billion population, do not get postponed either in the face of insurgency or budgetary difficulties. The only exception was those several years of ‘Emergency’ rule imposed by the late Indira Gandhi – still regarded as one of India’s greatest modern leaders.

If Indira is appreciated by Indians across social divides, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is certainly a kind of living legend at least among the majority of Hindi speaking Hindus. They are the equivalent mono-ethnic vote bank similar to mono-cultural bloc votes in other countries in the region. Such is the power of ethnicity. Such group identity politics has been boosted and transformed by the power of cyber communications and its communications-generated collective group behaviour.

Nevertheless, such group-forming algorithmic transmission systems need markers and referents to successfully build these ‘communities’. Thus, the markers of religion and language are enormously powerful in creating and sustaining vote banks. But language and religion have their geographical and social limits.

Hindi language (all its variants) usage ends roughly along the courses of the Godavari and Krishna Rivers. The region south of those rivers – very approximately – comprises the Dravidian language speaking region, namely Telangana, Andhra, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Significantly, not only is this South India distinctly different, linguistically speaking, from northern India, but also there are significant geophysical and economic differences. South India has more permanent – not seasonal – river systems, thereby providing higher levels of agricultural output and enabling better rural social conditions. In fact, Kerala is known for having many indices on par with those of the developed world.

At the same time smaller populations and less oppressive socio-cultural divides have enabled greater economic stability and wealth distribution. Higher education levels have brought higher levels of industry and technology. All this has made southern Indian states socio-economically more prosperous when compared with northern India.

Equally significantly, south India is far more culturally heterogeneous – much larger non-Hindu populations requiring better forms of cultural co-existence and therefore greater social stability.

Thus Modi’s Hindutva-oriented Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has far greater traction north of the Godavari and Krishna rivers, while regional parties have persistently held power in South Indian states.

Just last month, in state elections in technology-rich Karnataka, the BJP was dislodged from the sole south Indian state it had briefly controlled. The return to power in Bengaluru by a somewhat revived Indian National Congress party has once more shown the limits of Modi’s otherwise seemingly invincible BJP.