Noam Chomsky warns a centrist Democratic nominee will result in the ‘tragedy’ of a second Trump term

Noam Chomsky warns a centrist Democratic nominee will result in the ‘tragedy’ of a second Trump term
Noam Chomsky

December 7 will be Noam Chomsky’s 91st birthday, and the veteran author/journalist hasn’t grown any less critical of centrism within the Democratic Party. During an interview with Truthout’s C.J. Polychroniou, Chomsky warned against Democrats going too centrist in the 2020 presidential election — which he fears could result in President Donald Trump winning a second term.

“I find it psychologically impossible to discuss the 2020 election without emphasizing, as strongly as possible, what is at stake: survival, nothing less,” Chomsky told Truthout. “Four more years of Trump may spell the end of much of life on Earth, including organized human society in any recognizable form. Strong words, but not strong enough.”

A second term for Trump, Chomsky warned, is a recipe for “environmental catastrophe.”

“If the donor class succeeds in nominating a centrist candidate,” Chomsky told Truthout, “progressive activist forces might be disillusioned and reluctant to do the work on the ground that will be needed to prevent the tragedy — repeat, tragedy — of four more years of Trumpism. If a progressive candidate does gain the nomination, centrist power and wealth may back away — again opening the path to tragedy.”

During the interview, Chomsky stressed that the “donor class” is troubled by the prominence of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren — the leading progressive candidates in the Democratic presidential primary.

“The donor class is clearly perturbed by Warren’s critique of wealth and corporate power, and even more so by Sanders — who committed a major crime: inspiring a popular movement that doesn’t just show up every four years to push a button and then leave matters to their betters, but continues its activism and the engagement in public affairs that is none of their business, according to long-standing democratic theory,” Chomsky asserted.

The author/journalist stressed that a variety of things are at stake in the 2020 election, from the environment to health care.

“The September climate strike brought many millions to the streets — just one phase of ongoing activism,” Chomsky told Truthout. “Others cover a wide range of critical issues, including the scandalous health care system; a society in which 0.1% hold over 20% of wealth while half the population has negative net worth and homeless people try to survive amidst fabulous luxury; and numerous other social ills. There are also promising efforts to develop cooperatives and worker-owned enterprises that challenge fundamental hierarchic structure more directly. That’s a bare sample of considerable ferment that could open the way to a much more free and just social order — if imminent looming catastrophe can be overcome.”

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