Chris Hedges: Joe Biden’s Parting Gift to America

The Democratic Party had one last chance to implement the kind of New Deal Reforms that could save us from another Trump presidency and Christian fascism. It failed.

Onward Christian Fascism – by Mr. Fish.

Onward Christian Fascism – by Mr. Fish.

By Chris Hedges 

Joe Biden and the Democratic Party made a Trump presidency possible once and look set to make it possible again.

If Trump returns to power, it will not be due to Russian interference, voter suppression or because the working class is filled with irredeemable bigots and racists. 

It will be because the Democrats are as indifferent to the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza as they are to immigrants, the poor in our impoverished inner cities, those driven into bankruptcy by medical bills, credit card debt and usurious mortgages, those discarded, especially in rural America, by waves of mass layoffs and workers, trapped in the serfdom of the gig economy, with its job instability and suppressed wages.

Biden and the Democrats, along with the Republican Party, gutted antitrust enforcement and deregulated banks and corporations, allowing them to cannibalize the nation.

They backed legislation in 1982 to green light the manipulation of stocks through massive buybacks and the “harvesting” of companies by private equity firms that resulted in mass layoffs. They pushed through onerous trade deals, including the North American Free Trade Agreement, the greatest betrayal of the working class since the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, which crippled union organizing.

They were full partners in the construction of the vast archipelagos of the U.S. prison system — the largest in the world — and the militarization of police to turn them into internal armies of occupation. They fund the endless wars. 

The Democrats dutifully serve their corporate masters, without whom most of them, including Biden, would not have a political career. This is why Biden and the Democrats will not turn on those who are destroying our economy and extinguishing our democracy. The slops in the trough would dry up. Advocating reforms jeopardize their fiefdoms of privilege and power.

They fancy themselves as “captains of the ship,” labor journalist Hamilton Nolan writes, but they are “actually the wood-eating shipworms who are consuming the thing from inside until it sinks.”

Authoritarianism is nurtured in the fertile soil of a bankrupt liberalism. This was true in Weimar Germany. It was true in the former Yugoslavia. And it is true now. The Democrats had four years to institute New Deal reforms. They failed. Now we will pay.

A Second Trump Term

 Trump speaking to supporters at the “Save America” rally in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021. (Voice of America, Wikimedia Commons)

A second Trump term will not be like the first. It will be about vengeance. Vengeance against the institutions that targeted Trump — the press, the courts, the intelligence agencies, disloyal Republicans, artists, intellectuals, the federal bureaucracy and the Democratic Party. 

Our imperial presidency, if Donald Trump returns to power, will shift effortlessly into a dictatorship that emasculates the legislative and judicial branches.  The plan to snuff out our anemic democracy is methodically laid out in the 887-page plan amassed by the Heritage Foundation called “Mandate for Leadership.” 

The Heritage Foundation spent $22 million to draw up policy proposals, hiring lists and transition plans in Project 2025 to save Trump from the rudderless chaos that plagued his first term. Trump blames “snakes,” “traitors,” and the “Deep State” for undermining his first administration. 

Our industrious American fascists, clutching the Christian cross and waving the flag, will begin work on day one to purge federal agencies of “snakes” and “traitors,” promulgate “Biblical” values, cut taxes for the billionaire class, abolish the Environmental Protection Agency, stack the courts and federal agencies with ideologues and strip workers of the few rights and protections they have left.

War and internal security, including the wholesale surveillance of the public, will remain the main business of the state. The other functions of the state, especially those that focus on social services, including Social Security and protection of the vulnerable, will wither away.

Unfettered and unregulated capitalism, which has no self-imposed limits, turns everything into a commodity, from human beings to the natural world, which it exploits, until exhaustion or collapse. It first creates a mafia economy, as Karl Polanyi writes, and then a mafia government. Political theorists, including Aristotle, Karl Marx and Sheldon Wolin, warn that when oligarchs seize power, the only options left are tyranny or revolution.

The Democrats know the working class has abandoned them. And they know why. Democratic Party pollster Mike Lux writes:

“[C]ontrary to many pundits’ assumptions, economic issues are driving the problems of Democrats in non-metro working class counties far more than the culture war…[T]hese voters wouldn’t care all that much about cultural difference and the woke thing if they thought Democrats gave more of a damn about economic challenges they face deeply and daily…The voters we need to win in these counties are not inherently right-wing on social issues.”

But the Democrats will not alienate the corporations and billionaires who keep them in office. They have opted instead for two self-defeating tactics: lies and fear. 

The Democrats express a faux concern for workers who are victimized by mass layoffs while at the same time courting the corporate leaders who orchestrate these layoffs with lavish government contracts. The same hypocrisy sees them express concern for civilians being slaughtered in Gaza while funneling billions of dollars in weapons to Israel and vetoing ceasefire resolutions at the U.N. to sustain the genocide

Les Leopold in his book Wall Street’s War on Workers, filled with exhaustive polling and data, illustrates that economic dislocation and despair is the engine behind an enraged working class, not racism and bigotry. 

He writes about the decision by Siemens to close its plant in Olean, New York with 530 decent paying union jobs. While Democrats bemoaned the closure, they refused to deny federal contracts to Siemans to protect the workers at the plant. 

Biden then invited Siemens’ USA CEO Barbara Humpton to the White House signing of the 2021 infrastructure bill. The photo of the signing shows Humpton standing in the front row along with New York Senator Chuck Schumer.

Mingo County, West Virginia,  in the early 20th century was the epicenter of an armed clash between the United Mine Workers and the coal barons, with their hired gun thugs from the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency.

The gun thugs evicted striking workers in 1912 from company housing and beat up and shot union members until the state militia occupied the coal towns and broke the strike. The federal siege was not lifted until 1933 by the Roosevelt administration. The union, which had been banned, was legalized.

“Mingo County didn’t forget, at least not for a long time,” Leopold writes.

“As late as 1996, with more than 3,200 coal miners still at work, Mingo County gave Bill Clinton a whopping 69.7 percent of its vote. But every four years thereafter, support for the Democrats declined, going down and down, and down some more. By 2020, Joe Biden received only 13.9 percent of the vote in Mingo, a brutal downturn in a county that once saw the Democratic Party as its savior.”

Clinton after a speech at the Charleston State Capitol in West Virginia in September  1993. (U.S. National Archives)

The 3,300 Mingo County coal mining jobs by 2020 had fallen to 300, the largest loss of coal jobs in any county in the country. 

The lies of Democratic politicians did far more damage to working men and women than any of the lies spewed by Trump. 

Mass Layoffs

There have been at least 30 million mass layoffs since 1996 when the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking them, according to the Labor Institute. The reigning oligarchs, not content with mass layoffs and reducing the unionized workforce in the private sector to a paltry 6 percent, have filed legal papers to shut down the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the federal agency that enforces labor rights. 

Elon Musk’s SpaceX as well as Amazon, Starbucks and Trader Joe’s targeted the NLRB – already stripped of most of its power to levy fines and force corporate compliance — after it accused Amazon, Starbucks and Trader Joe’s of breaking the law by blocking union organizing.

The NLRB accused SpaceX of illegally firing eight workers for criticizing Musk. SpaceX, Amazon, Starbucks and Trader Joes are seeking to get the federal courts to overturn the 89-year-old National Labor Relations Act to prevent judges from hearing cases brought against corporations for violating labor laws.

Fear — fear of the return of Trump and Christian fascism — is the only card the Democrats have left to play. This will work in urban, liberal enclaves where college educated technocrats, part of the globalized knowledge economy, are busy scolding and demonizing the working class for their ingratitude. 

The Democrats have foolishly written off these “deplorables” as a lost political cause. This precariat, the mantra goes, is victimized not by a predatory system built to enrich the billionaire class, but by their ignorance and individual failures. Dismissing the disenfranchised absolves the Democrats from advocating the legislation to protect and create decent-paying jobs.

Fear has no hold in deindustrialized urban landscapes and the neglected wastelands of rural America, where families struggle without sustainable work, an opioid crisis, food deserts, personal bankruptcies, evictions, crippling debt and profound despair. 

They want what Trump wants. Vengeance. Who can blame them?  

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for 15 years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East bureau chief and Balkan bureau chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor and NPR.  He is the host of show “The Chris Hedges Report.”

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26 comments for “Chris Hedges: Joe Biden’s Parting Gift to America

  1. cfmmax
    March 20, 2024 at 22:09

    I don’t vote Republican and can no longer stand to even look at Biden, Obama, Clinton.

  2. Rubicon
    March 19, 2024 at 16:21

    We’re glad that Chris Hedges has insider-knowledge of WHO Trump will seek”vengeance” against his enemies:
    “the press, the courts, the intelligence agencies, disloyal Republicans, artists, intellectuals, the federal bureaucracy and the Democratic Party. Too bad Mr. Hedges didn’t share those “sources.”

    That tenet doesn’t fly. “The Press” is owned by Multi-Billionaires; tightly drawn to Wall Street, The Markets, The FED as is Trump. “The Courts” have all been corrupted by Big Money from the Autocratic Rulers. And “the Democratic Party????” WHO are the Masters of both political parties? Most assuredly they, too, are multi-billionaires who buy off every politician/official in that Party. Ditto for the Republicans, but to a lesser degree. America has become an Oligarchy.

  3. LeoSun
    March 19, 2024 at 13:50

    Heads Up! The “unprecedented threats” in the Nation; AND, “from all over the world,” are once, again, succinctly articulated, by Chris Hedges!!!

    No doubt, Hedges & Fish bring us, in living color, the Imperial Chessboard. A colossal & open Chessboard wherein “NOTHING HAS CHANGED.” 3.19.24, Russia rocks the Queen. Ukraine is the pawn. Et tu, USGOV?

    …….NO Doubt, imo, the USG is whitewashing POTUS’, BIDEN’S-HARRIS’, perverted past & sugar-coating their present f/ups. POTUS is in extreme decline, into the abyss; AND, coloring “The Future” Orange! On their way off The Hill, outta the White House. Fingers crossed, they end up in “The Big House!”

    “We” have seen the future; and, Brother, like POTUS’ past, it is murder,” EXHIBIT A-Z: “Joe Biden’s Parting Gift to America,” by Chris Hedges; &, “the Artist,” Mr. Fish, “paints the times,” i.e., “Onward Christian Fascism,”

    …….. Hence, Keep Your Head on a Swivel; &, “Keep Your Gaze Fixed On the Smiling Killer.” “Once you’ve seen it, you can never see the smiling nice guy, again.” Caitlin Johnstone, NOVEMBER 3, 2020, “The US Empire Is A Smiley-Faced Serial Killer,” @ hxxps://

    Joey R. Biden’s 2024 Campaign “ASK,” ‘Send Me to Congress!!! Four (4) Mo’ Years.” AND, his 25 followers “repeat the line,” “Four Mo’ Years!” Cheers for the smiley faced, serial killer, POTUS babbling about hiking in the Himalayas w/Xi. Blow’n smoke up everybody’s a…. POTUS’ decline is extremely evident upon his Exit. POTUS shuffles left. Shuffles, right. Then, shuffles left, right, wrong, again. At last, the doctor, FLOTUS, shows up & shuffles POTUS away from the open mic.

    Hence, IMO, “The Hedges/Fish Trilogy,” 1) “The Useful Idiocy of Donald Trump, hxxps://
    2) “Smashing the Idols of War,” hxxps://
    3) “Four Horsemen of Gaza’s Apocalypse,” hxxps://

    Plus (+) One (1) “Joe Biden’s Parting Gift to America,” sound the alarm, Heads-Up, “The wolves are at our door; &, we need to be prepared to confront them,” i.e.,

    …… “Waiting for the results of the US POTUS election is like waiting to find out if you’re going to get hit by the mugger with the bat or the mugger with the crow bar” Dave Calhoun, CEO, Boeing (said back in July 2020, that he’ll be quite happy regardless of what happens on November third,” 2020.

    Fast forward to “$election, 2024,” ‘The Empire $trikes, Again,’ i.e., Trump v. Biden

    “The Wolf at the Door” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

    “We are born to hoarded weariness;” and, “Nothing the day can give, is half so sweet as an hour of sleep. . . .” Yet to yield to that inborn desire would lead to “A fate no man can dare–To be run to earth & die by the teeth of the gnawing monster there!”

    “There’s a hot breath at the keyhole; And, a tearing as of teeth! Well do I know the bloodshot eyes; And, the dripping jaws beneath! There’s a whining at the threshold–There’s a scratching at the floor. To work! To work! In Heaven’s name! The wolf is at the door.”

    The entire, in FULL, context/poetry by Charlotte Perkins Gilman @ hxxps://

    W/ a Quote of The Day: “The weather forecast for tonight: dark. Continued dark overnight, with widely scattered light by morning.” George Carlin.

    TY, Chris Hedges, Mr. Fish, Caitlin Johnstone, Tim Foley, CN, et al. “KEEP IT LIT!” Ciao.

  4. March 19, 2024 at 12:40

    This has been happening for many years, beginning with Reagan, but much of the groundwork began with Nixon. It’s just that more people are beginning to notice yet are also in denial of what is really happening. This is the death spiral of capitalism, and it is cannibalising everything it can before it dies out like a star that becomes a black
    dwarf after its supernova explosion.

  5. shmutzoid
    March 19, 2024 at 12:35

    “Divested of its ideological and organizational paraphernalia, fascism is nothing more than the final solution to the class struggle, the totalistic submergence and exploitation of democratic forces for the benefit and profit of higher financial circles” —- Michael Parenti

    —– a handy little guide to remind us the essence of a term thrown around loosely to mean different things to different people.

  6. Caliman
    March 19, 2024 at 10:55

    Heartfelt and compassionate, by Chris, as always.

    Yes, the travails of late empire are vexing the people … why cannot we have the cheap prosperity of the 50’s to 70’s any more? I played the game the way the system demanded all these years; why is my old age and my children’s life so precarious?

    It is dawning on the “white” majority middle class, after NAFTA and the 2000s bankruptcy reform and the banking (but not mortgage) rescue of 2009 and the recent elections that perhaps this country does not belong to them after all. And they are not happy about it.

  7. Teleman
    March 19, 2024 at 10:11

    Is it just me or does anyone else find it odd that one never sees Christian patriots at Sunday School or in uniform?

  8. Alex Goslar
    March 18, 2024 at 23:05

    Dear Chris, if by gift, you mean poison, then I agree with you.
    Democracy as we know it, is an outdated political system. Politics is in essence a manipulation of the people’s opinion for the sake of obtaining the power to rule
    A collision between any particle and its anti-particle partner leads to mutual obliteration.
    If you pursue your cause to the limit, on either side of the equation, as a divine Hamas worrier or as a committed Israeli fighter, you find yourselves on the opposite sides of this equation. The amount of energy released is usually proportional to the total mass of the collided matter and antimatter, by the notable mass-energy equivalence equation, E=mc2.

    • March 19, 2024 at 07:35

      Yes, I opened the article just to comment mentioning the German and Norwegian interpretation of “gift”.

      • March 19, 2024 at 13:02

        As someone living in the utterly corrupt, quisling US vassal state of Norway [and a divorcee at that…] I get your drift Bill! . . .

  9. Carolyn L Zaremba
    March 18, 2024 at 21:41

    I hate to say it, Chris, but the Supreme Court and the Congress have already been snuffed out. The snuffing has accelerated during the Biden administration.

  10. wildthange
    March 18, 2024 at 20:33

    Trump might have been a fluke except for the Bush family values and a deal in the Senate to stall a Supreme Court nomination until after election. The change of court members tell the story all one religious group and it is much bigger than evangelical who will always vote republican. As a consequence of Congress and Trump the republicans got a full ideological run and Trump had to ride its coattails.

    Now the liberal branch gets its way in the culture war on the basis still of one triangulation of two party’s. The democratic component also is history in the environment that helped by letting Thomas out of committee to replace Marshall. They have a tenuous hold and have effectively frozen out the feminist part of Hillary but have to allow some culture war issues to be ransacked for decades by the Supreme Court.

    They have close to 2000 years of behind and round the scenes experience at manipulating all forms of government. Don’t forget the role of religious warfare as an empire of their own and a mythology that forgives all in its service. They can ride an warfare complex as draftees.

  11. bardamu
    March 18, 2024 at 17:09

    The larger trouble at this point is that most authoritarians in office are Democrats. The people we used to call “liberals” were purged from office. Almost no one under 50 knows what the word meant to Americans.

    A fascist grab could come from the Republicans, but it is the Democratic officials who currently push hardest for it–carving away at the Bill of Rights, cycling money through pork barrel military adventurism.

    It is a somewhat new fascism, streamlined by losing the emphases on nationalism and race, bolstered by shell games of finance and smuggling and black ops–in short, by organized crime.

    Even RFK Jr, who has otherwise made some fine statements, has vowed full support of Israel and genocide–and with that, essentially, a vow of fealty to the warlords and Dons.

    We need traction beyond the ballet box.

  12. March 18, 2024 at 16:42

    Very Well Said good sir!
    As Usual,

  13. Susan Siens
    March 18, 2024 at 16:40

    I won’t even read anything referring to “Christian fascists.” The Episcopal bishop of Maine tried this one in a recent letter, referring to “Christian nationalists.” You know what? I worry not at all about Hedges’s fascists or the bishop’s nationalists. I worry about the fascists in Washington, DC, many of whom are Christian and who hold actual power though it is clear they don’t know what to do with it except what they are told.

    • Michael G
      March 19, 2024 at 12:09

      Thomas Frank’s “Whats the matter With Kansas-How Conservatives won the Heart of America”
      That’s a good book. He wrote another one called “The Wrecking Crew-How Conservatives Rule” I liked that one too. Chris wrote one called “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” I haven’t read that one yet. I’ve seen a lot of it first hand in my own family.
      Christians for the first 300 years didn’t know what to do, so they emulated Jesus’s life. The need for coercion spawned organized religion. Who needed to coerce the people? the State. Tow the party line or your going to hell. Do you know why we call all mythologies “Christian”? Because the Christians won, they killed the most people.
      That all sounds fascistic to me.
      A lot of Christians, including some in my family, are Christian Zionists. They believe that Armageddon will start at Magiddo pass in the Golan heights and by God they are going to see to it. If your a serious born again Christian, it’s all the rage. Might be some of those in Washington.

  14. JonnyJames
    March 18, 2024 at 16:29

    Instead of participating in Elections Inc. that only offers two senile, geriatric, racist, Zionist genocidal freaks as “choices”, we should organize a mass protest on “election day”. Voting should be a civic duty, but instead it has become an exercise in furthering the status-quo – supporting genocide, kleptocracy, corporate tyranny, kleptocracy etc. that Mr. Hedges describes.

    After all, people “voted” for DT and they “voted” for JB. And they will “vote” for DT or JB AGAIN!? WTF? So, do we deserve to be ruled by amoral scum?

  15. Richard Musser
    March 18, 2024 at 16:18

    We have fascism right now Hedges, no need to wait for a 2nd Trump term. You continue to stubbornly pigeonhole Dems with bankrupt liberalism, and the Republicans with fascism, but the truth is both parties move in lockstep toward fascism (Patriot Act, unconditional love for “troops”, belief in US exceptionalism fueling imperial murder). The only difference is in the cultural totems, either DEI or Christianity, that they use to undergird their fascism.
    I wish you’d see things more clearly.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      March 18, 2024 at 21:43

      Well said. My thoughts exactly.

    • Michael G
      March 18, 2024 at 22:21

      “As far as foreign and economic policy, I could see there was no difference between the two main political parties. There is a false left/right paradigm which diverts the working class from the real reasons for their hardships”

      -Chris Hedges “Death of the Liberal Class” quoting Ernest Logan Bell an unemployed twenty five year old Marine Corps veteran.

      Chris sees just fine.

  16. Lois Gagnon
    March 18, 2024 at 15:39

    I’m afraid things are going to get very ugly. And independent and third party candidates will be blamed by the clueless liberals who get their establishment talking points from the NYT and NPR. How do you build a movement when divide and conquer works so effectively?

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      March 18, 2024 at 21:44

      Clueless liberals is right.

  17. BigO
    March 18, 2024 at 15:27

    First, it’s not a given that Trump is going to be elected. Second, Trump has already proven during his first term that he doesn’t have the stomach for kingship. He just doesn’t. We will muddle through for four more years and the pace of decline will slow only slightly as compared to the Biden administration.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      March 18, 2024 at 21:45

      I’m afraid you are frightfully naive about this.

      • BigO
        March 19, 2024 at 12:20

        Explain how please, in what way? I believe that I have a very reasonable understanding of the situation. But I am also willing change my mind. Thanks. ?

  18. Jim Poly
    March 18, 2024 at 14:27

    Biden and the Democrats, along with the Republican Party, gutted antitrust enforcement and deregulated banks and corporations, allowing them to cannibalize the nation. (excerpt)
    BRAVO Mr. Hedges. Someone finally telling the truth to people in America. This is the main problem affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of folks on the lower end of the social strata. Good article.

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