For those watching BBC’s Newsnight programme on Tuesday, you might have spotted an unfamiliar face sitting next to Emily Maitlis. Krystal Ball is the co-host of a weekday show ‘Rising‘, which offers an alternative political commentary to the mainstream cable news programmes like MSNBC, Fox and others. Unlike these shows, she (a Left-leaning Democrat) and co-host Saagar Enjeti (a conservative), fuse populist Left and Right critiques to explain the rise of the Sanders and Trump movements. In doing so, the pair routinely lambast the political establishment and a pliant corporate media for their elitism and ignoring the plight of the working class.
Its numbers are growing. Since December 2019, Rising has been averaging around 600,000 views per episode and its channel has 300,000 subscribers. Ball and Enjeti have capitalised on this success by publishing a book ‘The Populist’s Guide to 2020‘ in which they blame the establishment for creating the conditions for a Trump victory in 2016 and, more importantly, its collective failure to learn from those mistakes.
Ball views Joe Biden as the epitome of the establishment, and devotes an entire chapter of the book to the former VP, warning that his nomination could spell doom for November — not just because Trump might win, but because he could lose:
You know the litany of sins: the banking deregulation, bad trade deals, the gutting of everything that makes our communities whole and our futures worth living. Does anyone believe that Joe Biden offers an answer to any of that? Of course not. It’s absurd on its face. And what do you think comes next? What do you think comes after four more years of incrementalism and the continued grinding down of the multi-racial working class and continued fattening of the ruling class?
While Biden’s nomination is not certain, there is lingering feeling that history could be about to repeat itself for the Democrats. If the lessons of 2016 are anything to go by, picking an establishment figure to go up against someone as mercurial and unpredictable as Donald Trump will not end well — particularly when that figure is a gaffe-prone, ageing septuagenarian, who confuses Theresa May for Margaret Thatcher and his own wife for his daughter.