Biden is no socialist, as Trump claims. But I know an autocrat when I see one | Opinion

Andres Oppenheimer
·4 min read

Are banking giants Goldman Sachs and Bank of America socialists? Is Fortune magazine socialist? Are the former head of U.S. Special Operations command, who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and other former top U.S. generals radical leftists?

These are just some of the many icons of American capitalism and the national-security establishment who have come out in recent days either to support Democratic candidate Joe Biden or to debunk President Trump’s ridiculous claim that a Biden victory on Nov. 3 would lead the United States to “socialism.”

Trump’s “socialism” fear campaign is just as outlandish as his claim that the United States is turning the corner on the COVID-19 crisis, at a time when America’s coronavirus cases are rising to new world records.

Trump’s “socialism” card is playing well among some groups in Florida, a state that Trump must win to be re-elected. Many Cuban-American and Venezuelan-American voters have bought into that narrative.

Except that, in the Biden case, the “socialism” label is absurd. Biden was the centrist Democrat who beat the left-of-center presidential hopefuls in his party’s primaries. He has enlisted many well-known Republicans in his campaign. And his running mate Kamala Harris is far from a radical leftist.

When it comes to Trump’s claim at the final debate that, “If he (Biden) wins, the stock market will crash,” several of Wall Street’s biggest financial firms say the opposite.

Goldman Sachs’ chief economist Jan Hatzius, wrote recently that a Democratic landslide “would likely prompt us to upgrade our forecasts.” While a Biden administration may increase corporate taxes, it would pass a $2 trillion stimulus package that, alongside with low interest rates, would speed up the economy, he said.

Likewise, an Oct. 13 Bank of America Securities report said a sweeping Democratic victory would spur economic growth. The report was entitled “Don’t fear the sweeper.”

Moody’s Analytics says that Biden’s economic proposals would create 7.4 million more jobs than Trump’s. If Biden wins, the country would return to full employment in mid-2022, almost two years earlier than under Trump’s economic plans, it said.

Fortune magazine, hardly an icon of the left, ran a newsletter co-authored by its CEO Alan Murray on Oct. 19, “President Trump has failed the test of modern leadership.”

Murray said that, “Whether it’s his denial of science, his disregard for data and facts, his flirtations with dictators and violent extremists, his mismanagement of the pandemic or his alienation of an amazingly broad array of talented people who worked for him, Trump is the antithesis of what CEOs tell me on a daily basis that they value in leaders.”

That’s also what many of America’s top former generals, including some who have served in Trump’s Cabinet, are saying.

Retired Navy Adm. William McRaven, the former head of US Special Operations Command who led the that killed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, said recently that he’s voting for Biden.

Trump’s former Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis said that Trump “is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people,” and that if re-elected he “would make a mockery our Constitution.”

In a recent interview, Trump’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton, a hard-line conservative, told me that, “I’m not going to vote for Donald Trump.” As far as Trump’s overtures to Cuban Americans and Venezuelan Americans in Florida, Bolton told me they’re mostly empty rhetoric.

“I don’t think Trump appreciates the threat to U.S. interests in Latin America from external actors like Russia and China,” Bolton told me, when asked why Trump is not putting more pressure on Russia and China to stop supporting Venezuela. Trump’s decisions are “driven by domestic political factors,” and may change altogether if he’s re-elected and no longer needs Cuban-American and Venezuelan-American votes, he told me.

The bottom line is that, after more than four decades in public life, Biden is a proven part of Washington’s mainstream politics.

I think I know a socialist when I see one (I called Hugo Chavez’s bluff when he was claiming that he wasn’t a socialist, and he lashed out against me years later, mentioning my name six times during a March 2007 televised address.) Trump’s claim that the Biden-Harris ticket would plunge America into “socialism” is just laughable.

Don’t miss the “Oppenheimer Presenta” TV show at 8 p.m. E.T. Sunday on CNN en Español. Twitter: @oppenheimera