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This Election Isn’t Just Binary, It’s Existential

The ideologues who want to watch America burn are very close to the mainstream of the Democratic Party. That's what this election is about.

America is on the ballot this election. Vote for the Republicans if you love your country. Vote for the Democrats if you’d rather see it burn to the ground.

That is, essentially, the argument put forward in a recent viral speech by Tom Klingenstein, a conservative thought leader and chairman of the Claremont Institute. Klingenstein posits that, come November, voters must choose: either America is good, and ought to be defended, or it is bad, and deserves to be cancelled.

It’s tempting to dismiss this contrast as hyperbole, and say Klingenstein is simply being a partisan, or a conspiracy theorist, or both. But, unfortunately, the more you listen to what left-wing activists say to each other when they aren’t actively gaslighting the public, the more and more his argument is proven true. It is now clear that the vast majority of the Left truly does believe that the American system is rotten to its core, and needs to be done away with entirely. Look no further than the 1619 Project and Black Lives Matter.

The 1619 Project received countless accolades (including a Pulitzer Prize) from left-leaning elites for arguing that America is foundationally racist and evil. Over the summer, this was the idea, embodied by Antifa and Black Lives Matter, that burned America’s cities to the ground.

BLM is arguably the most powerful left-wing “grassroots” organization in America. In a matter of months, BLM managed to get the news media, sports leagues, Hollywood, Big Tech, corporate America, and the entire Democratic Party to kneel down before them. If you doubt that BLM is at the top of the Left’s hierarchy right now, consider this: Black Lives Matter completely overshadowed this year’s Pride Month, normally the High Holy Season of the political and corporate Left’s liturgical calendar. Did you even notice it happened?

Of course, despite its name, the BLM movement isn’t really about racial justice. The riots that targeted monuments to Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, and burnt down black-owned businesses and neighborhoods, didn’t do so out of concern for black lives. They did it out of a real, deep hatred of America and the American way of life. If America is racist “systemically”—essentially, all-encompassingly, foundationally—then nothing we traditionally call American should be allowed to survive.

Joe Biden, for his part, has signed on to this philosophy. He now decries regularly the “systemic” and foundational racism of this country, which, he says, exists “not just in law enforcement,” but “across the board. It’s in housing, it’s in education . . . it’s in everything we do.” He has joined with the Left in believing that, as Tom Klingenstein puts it, “the most important thing in our history — the thing around which all else pivots — is slavery.”

If the evils of America abound in everything we do and are, then everything about America must be overhauled. This is the core belief motivating BLM, founded by self-proclaimed “trained Marxists,” and the historical revisionism of the 1619 Project.

And it’s at the core of the BREATHE Act, the BLM movement’s flagship legislative proposal. Among a whole host of other insanities, the Act would eliminate all prisons and defund law enforcement. It bans federal law enforcement from using body cameras or TASERs, and would prohibit them from coming within 1,000 feet of a bus stop. It provides grants for schools to develop and implement anti-capitalist curricula. It endorses socialized medicine, including taxpayer-funded abortions and sex-changes. It abolishes a whole panoply of federal law enforcement programs, including ICE, the DEA, and FBI anti-terrorism and anti-gang task forces. It creates a “Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation” to apologize for America’s enactment of supposedly racist policies, which, apparently, include the creation of social security and the Federal Housing Administration, as well as the GI Bill. This isn’t even a tenth of what it proposes.

And it isn’t some fringe proposal, either. This is the legislation being pushed by the corporate-darling Black Lives Matter organization. Even the President of the NAACP has endorsed it. This is the movement, and this is the philosophy, to which the Democratic Party and Joe Biden have sworn fealty. No reporters, and few Republican politicians, have pressed Democrats on their alliance with such an anti-American movement. That is, with the notable exception of Donald Trump. Whatever else you might say about him, clearly Trump believes in the goodness of America.

The contrast between Trump and the Biden here could not be more stark. As Tom Klingenstein puts it, “Trump versus Biden is the choice between a man who believes America is good and a man who is controlled by a movement which believes America is bad.” One of these two men will be elected President of the United States. The choice could not be clearer.

Jon Schweppe is the director of government affairs for American Principles Project.

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