International Man: The hysteria surrounding COVID-19 and the government lockdown has completely changed in-person interactions.
How do you think this will impact the way that Americans cast their vote in the presidential election?
Doug Casey: It’s a very bad thing from Trump’s point of view. For one thing, it’s severely limiting the number and size of his rallies, which he relies on to keep enthusiasm up.
More people are staying at home and watching television than ever before. And unless they glue their dial to Fox, they’ll gravitate towards the mainstream media, which is stridently anti-Trump. People who are on the fence hear authoritative-sounding talking heads on television, and it naturally influences them away from Trump.
Furthermore, this virus hysteria is discouraging people from going out—especially older people who are roughly 80% of the casualties of this virus. They’re less likely to go to vote. But older people are most likely to be Trumpers because they’re culturally conservative. I’m assuming that the COVID hysteria will still be with us in November.
Keeping his voters at home is one thing. But the effects that the hysteria is having on the economy are even more important. Presidents always take credit when the economy is good and are berated when it’s bad on their watch, regardless of whether they had anything to do with it. If the economy is still bad in November—and I’ll wager it’s going to be much worse—people will reflexively vote against Trump.
With free money being passed out—the $600 per week in supplementary unemployment—between the state and federal payments, something like 30 million people are making more now than they were before the virus. In February, before the lockdown, there were about 3.2 million people collecting unemployment. Now, there are about 35 million. So, it seems we have over 30 million working-age people who are . . . displaced. That doesn’t count part-time workers, who aren’t eligible for unemployment but are no longer working.
When the supplementary benefits end, so will the artificial good times.
Worse, the public has come to the conclusion that a guaranteed annual income works. This virus hysteria has provided a kind of test for both Universal Basic Income and Modern Monetary Theory—helicopter money. So far, anyway, it seems you really can get something for nothing.
Even Trump supports helicopter money because he knows it’s all over if today’s financial house of cards collapses.
Most people will still be out of work when the free money ends. The recognition that the country is in a depression will sink in. They’ll look for somebody to blame. When things get seriously bad, people want to change the system itself.
There’s now a lot of antagonism toward both free minds and free markets. Polls indicate that a majority of Americans actually support BLM, an openly Marxist movement. Forget about free minds—someone might be offended, and you’ll be pilloried by the mob. Forget about free markets—they’re blamed for all the economic problems, even though it’s the lack of them that caused the problem. The idea of capitalism is now considered undefendable.
Widespread dissatisfaction with the system is obviously bad for the Republicans and good for the Democrats, who promote themselves as the party of change.
The bottom line is that this whole episode with COVID is uniformly bad for whatever Trump or the Republicans represent. It’s bad for the old status quo.
International Man: If people are afraid to go out, will it impact voter turnout?
Doug Casey: Absolutely. As I just said, especially among older people who tend to be conservative Republican voters.
But let’s be candid. This election is going to hinge on who cheats the best. And the Democrats have, over the years, developed far greater expertise in cheating than the Republicans. Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” wasn’t written for the kind of people who vote Republican.
For one thing, there’s going to be more emphasis on mail-in votes, which make it easier to cheat. You can register dead people as voters. You can register your dog as a voter. If the fraud is ever even discovered, it won’t be until long after the election.
That’s only part of it, though. A high percentage of voting machines are computerized. Fraud by hacking voting machines is apparently easy to do—and it’s pretty untraceable. It’s just a matter of planning and boldness.
One of the consequences of this widely acknowledged dysfunction is to delegitimize the whole idea of voting. As you know, I don’t believe in mass democracy, because it inevitably degrades into a system where the poorer citizens vote themselves benefits at the expense of the middle class. Basically, mob rule dressed in a coat and tie. But if the populace loses faith in “democracy” during a serious economic crisis—like this one—they’re going to look for a strong man to straighten things out. The US will look more and more like Argentina.
International Man: In previous US elections, there were issues with voter fraud and delays tallying votes in a handful of US states.
If this happens again, do you think that the election results could be contested? What would the implications of that be?
Doug Casey: The election will be contested no matter which side wins because the country has become totally polarized. No matter who wins, the other side is going to be terminally unhappy with the result.
This election is undoubtedly the most important one since 1860. The outcome of that was the War Between the States.
The Democrats really want to change the very nature of the US. If they win, they’ll be able to do so, for several reasons. First, it seems almost certain that they’ll make Washington, DC, a state; there will then be 102 senators voting—and those two from Washington, DC, will without question be left-leaning Democrats. Second, the 20 million undocumented people—illegal aliens—now in the US will undoubtedly be made citizens; they lean heavily toward the Democrats. Third, they’ll expand the size of the Supreme Court and pack it with leftists.
There could be more, of course. Perhaps they’ll reduce the voting age to 16; it’s already the case in Argentina and a growing number of other countries. Maybe they’ll even engineer a Constitutional Convention to change everything. The 2nd Amendment will go, of course, and the rest of the Bill of Rights would be heavily modified. Most of it’s already a dead letter—but that would formalize the change once and for all.
These things would cement the Democrats in office. But please don’t think I support the Republicans. That would be like supporting tuberculosis just because it’s better than terminal cancer.
It used to be pretty simple—the Republicans and the Democrats were just two sides of the same coin. Like Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Traditionally, one promoted the warfare state more, the other the welfare state. But it was mostly rhetoric; they were pretty collegial. Now, both the welfare and the warfare states have been accepted as part of the cosmic firmament by both parties. Now, it’s about cultural issues. Polite disagreement has turned into visceral hatred.
The Dems at least stand for some ideas—although they’re all bad ideas. The Reps have never stood for any principles; they just said the Dems wanted too much socialism, too fast. Which is why they were always perceived—correctly—as hypocrites. Things have changed, however. Antagonism between the right and the left is no longer political or economic—it’s cultural. That’s much more serious.
Look at the 20 Democratic candidates that were in the primary debates last summer. They were all radical collectivists, dedicated statists. The Republicans were all—with one exception—mealy-mouthed nonentities.
I suspect the Dems will win in November because they actually have a core of philosophical beliefs—and that counts during chaos. It doesn’t matter that they’re irrational or evil. Then, whenever a really radical group takes over—and these people are serious radicals—they cement themselves in power. And it only takes a small number of people working as a cadre to do it.
With the Russian Revolution, the hardcore Bolsheviks only numbered in the hundreds. That was enough to take control of a hundred million Russians—and stay in power for 70 years until they totally ran the wheels off the economy.
The same thing happened with Fidel Castro in Cuba. He landed with only 50 or 60 guys, but once he took over the country, his apparatus was able to keep control of it.
Serious, radical populists and socialists can pull that off. They can say they’re working for the people and can promise lots of free stuff. The hoi polloi want to hear that during a crisis—like the one we’re entering. Once they’re in, it’s almost impossible to get them out.
International Man: Millennials will soon overtake the baby boomers as the largest adult population. They’ll have a growing impact on elections.
How do you think this will affect the future direction of the country?
Doug Casey: First of all, I’ve got to say that I don’t believe in democracy as a method of government. I understand how shocking that is to hear. Let me explain.
There’s something to be said for a few people, who share traditions and culture and generally agree on how the world works, to vote on who will speak for them. That’s one thing—and it makes sense. But it’s very different from a gigantic agglomeration of very different, even antagonistic, people fighting for control and power.
Winston Churchill said two things about democracy that are apposite.
One is that “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” I would argue that’s simply not true. Perhaps we can discuss the alternatives someday.
The other thing that he said was, “The best argument against Democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” He’s absolutely right in that quip.
I’d have less of a beef with democracy if the government was totally precluded from any intervention in the economy. The problem is that the institution of government itself is innately, intrinsically, and necessarily coercive.
In a civilized society, however, coercion should be limited. What does that mean?
It means that a government should be strictly limited to preventing force and fraud. That implies a police force to prevent domestic force and fraud, a military to protect the country from invasion, and a court system to allow people to adjudicate disputes without resorting to force.
If the government did nothing but those things, sure you can vote. But votes would be largely irrelevant.
Actually, an argument can be made that those three things are so important to the conduct of a civilized society that they shouldn’t be left to the kind of people that want to be elected.
The market can and will do anything that’s needed or wanted, better and cheaper than a political instrument like the government. And at this point, the government doesn’t do any of those three things well. Instead, it tries to do absolutely everything else.
But, getting back to millennials, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), and people like her, are both the current reality and the future of the Democratic Party — and of the US itself.
Why? It’s irrational to make a 30-year-old barmaid into an icon. But she’s cute, vivacious, outspoken, and has a plan to remake the country. And she’s shrewd. She knows how to capitalize on envy and resentment. She realized she could win by ringing doorbells in her district, where voter turnout was very low, and about 70% are non-white. There was zero motivation for residents to turn out for the tired, corrupt, old hack of a white man she ran against.
Nobody, except for a few libertarians and conservatives, are countering the purposefully destructive ideas AOC represents. And they have a very limited audience and not much of a platform. Arguing for sound money and limited government makes them seem like Old Testament prophets. Collectivism and statism are overwhelming the values of individualism and liberty.
It’s exactly the type of thing the Founders tried to guard against by restricting the vote to property owners over 21, going through the Electoral College. Now, welfare recipients who are only 18 can vote, and the Electoral College is toothless.
Of course, I don’t believe in either politics or voting. But, if you must have voting, it should only be for people 25 or over, who own a certain amount of property, so they have something to lose in the system. Most important, the government should have zero involvement in the economy. But, forget about it. Just the opposite is happening at an accelerating rate.
For the last couple of generations, everybody who’s gone to college has been indoctrinated with leftist ideas. Almost all of the professors hold these ideas. They place an intellectual patina on top of emotion and fantasy-driven ideas.
When the economy collapses in earnest, everybody will blame capitalism. Because Trump is rich, he’s incorrectly associated with capitalism. The country—especially the young, the poor, and the non-white—will look to the government to “do something.” They see the government as a cornucopia, and socialism as a kind and gentle way to expropriate the middle class.
A majority of millennials are in favor of socialism. By 2050, whites will be a minority in the US. A straw in the wind is that a large majority of the people who commit suicide each year are middle-class white males—essentially, Trump supporters. The demographic handwriting is on the wall. Trump’s election in 2016 was an anomaly. A Last Hurrah.
There’s no political salvation coming from the Republican party. Like Trump himself, it doesn’t have any core principles. It just reacts to the Dems and proposes less radical alternatives to their ideas. It doesn’t stand for anything. It’s only capable of putting forward empty suits, pure establishment figures like Bob Dole, Mitt Romney, or a Bush. Or a non-entity like Pence. That’s a formula for disaster in today’s demographic and cultural environment.
Editor’s Note: Misguided political and economic ideas have taken hold in the US and around the world. In all likelihood, the public will vote itself more and more “free stuff” until it causes an economic crisis.