Hank Rishel
4 min readAug 12, 2020


Today we finally know that Joe Biden has chosen Kamala Harris as his Vice-President. That was hardly a surprise. It appears to have been a disappointment to some progressives who had hoped for a candidate more aligned with their wing of the Democratic Party. Still. given the Trump alternative and the very public efforts of Joe Biden to reach out to progressives, it is difficult to believe that the Party will not be united well before the November election.

The response to the Harris choice by Donald Trump was predictable. It would not have mattered which of the contenders had been chosen. That response would have been the same. To Donald Trump all Democrats can be labeled as radical socialists, radical left wingers, radical anarchists. You may note a continuing theme. They are all radicals!

So, when the choice was announced and Joe Biden who, according to Donald Trump, is sleepy, lazy, confused, and rapidly approaching senility had chosen “radically ambitious” Kamala Harris. Harris, it turns out, is a radical liberal, a radical progressive, a radical socialist, from radically liberal California.

Donald Trump said that he could not have been more delighted. He quickly announced that she was his number one choice. A radical socialist from California would be the most easy to defeat. If having read this, you suspect that Donald Trump was not being perfectly honest, you are of course, right. The truth is that Republicans would probably have preferred to run against almost any other of those interviewed by the Biden campaign. Harris is, in fact, a very conservative choice. She is going to be very difficult to campaign against.

But, what about all those “radical” terms? In the political world “radical” usually implies that people are willing to be violent, to be physically destructive in order to get what they want. How many progressives who would like some form of national heath care system would be willing to be violent in order to get it? To ask the question is to answer it. The truth is that people who resort to violence do it for reasons that may not be directly political.

Anarchism is the belief that all formal governments should be done away with. That people should just live, without any government at all. So how many of those young people activated by police violence in Minneapolis who were demonstrating in Portland were doing that in order to do away with all government. Five? Ten? Any? There is a good chance that not one of those protesting young people had any idea that they were anarchists.

About socialism: The Trump campaign is trying to put the word “socialism” in every campaign ad because they believe that it scares people. In fact, all the western European countries are democracies (they have elected governments) and they are all socialist. Socialists believe in democracy and in capitalism. They want things to be competitive (that Volvo you are driving from “socialist” Sweden is built by a private company). Socialists argue that some things in any economy can’t practically be competitive. As you drive down the highway think about the socialist road beneath your wheels. How do you think a competitive road system unconnected to government would really work?

Socialists argue that education should be available for everyone (we do too). We have a socialized education system. They would add medical care. We don’t. We pretend that the medical system is competitive. It is not, but there are plenty of hugely rich companies profiting from it while the government still pays (74% of the cost of our overpriced medical system is currently paid for by the tax payers).

If you are saying to yourself, I don’t really know as much as I should about anarchism or about socialism, worry not. Donald Trump doesn’t know about them either. He clearly never has understood the Affordable Care Act that he keeps wanting to do away with. He doesn’t have to know about them.

What he does know is that they are scary words. He knows that those people who came to his rallies didn’t know what they meant. So, if the Republicans can now put them in every ad they can, hopefully, scare people into voting for him and for other Republican candidates further down on the ballot. It is his only hope!

Donald Trump has a huge problem. He never really made the enormous effort it would have taken to really understand the government he was supposed to be administering. He watched himself on television while others around him did the work. He played golf a great deal (all those golfing trips have cost the taxpayers well over a hundred million dollars). Then, this year, with the growing pandemic, he finally faced a genuine national crisis. He just could not deal with it. The pandemic and the resulting economic failure have cast a pall over his campaign.

Donald Trump does want to be reelected. And, now he is facing real competition. Sleepy Joe Biden is not all that sleepy and “Nasty” Kamala Harris is appealing, very smart, and very tough. All that’s left is the hope that voters will buy into all those imaginary evils. If they do not, and the mail comes in on time, the game is probably over.

H.J. Rishel




Hank Rishel

Retired political science professor of 40+ years. Educated at Olivet, UofM, MSU, Northwestern, & Harvard. Hoping to make politics a fun & exciting topic for all