Political crisis of US rulers continues to unfold
BY SETH GALINSKY
President Donald Trump’s turn to collaboration with Democratic Party congressional leaders to pass a three-month extension of the U.S. government debt ceiling and $15 billion for hurricane and flooding victims took many liberal political pundits — and leaders of the Republican Party — by surprise.
Liberals and the middle-class left have called Trump a fascist, a racist, an arch-reactionary Republican. They want to drum him out of office by any means necessary. Some even applauded the attempted assassination of Republican congressmen at a June softball practice by Bernie Sanders supporter James Hodgkinson.
Donald Trump is none of these things. He is neither a Republican nor a Democrat, though he has been registered in both parties. He won the election by winning the backing of millions of working people, including millions who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. He condemned the “carnage” being visited on working people and castigated the Democratic and Republican “establishments” in Washington.
Trump’s election is a reflection of the coming apart of the two capitalist parties that have alternated in power for decades.
Millions of workers are fed up with the depression-like conditions ravaging cities and countryside alike because of the decline of capitalism, and with the leaders of the two capitalist parties who live in a different world than they do. Faced with the choice of Hillary Clinton or Trump, many stayed home.
Millions of workers voted for Trump because he said he would “drain the swamp.”
Trump’s election sent paroxysms of fear through the heart of the meritocracy — millions, even tens of millions, of well-paid staffers for so-called nonprofit foundations, charities, community organizations and nongovernmental organizations, as well as professors, opinion writers and apparatchiks for government regulatory agencies, who believe their “smarts,” sophistication and liberal ethos are essential for the smooth running of capitalism.
They’re useful to the ruling class. They bolster the illusion that if you are talented, there are no limits to how far you can go. But their livelihoods are unconnected to the production of goods, crops or anything of value to humanity. Their position is precarious and to the rulers they are ultimately expendable, especially in times of deepening economic crisis. They fear the working class today and what they sense are class battles to come.
A Sept. 11 opinion piece in the New York Times by columnist Charles Blow captures their hysteria and fear. Blow says the “vast majority of America” — that is, the people he knows — believe “this administration and this man are abominations and they will not sit silently by.”
“We are in hell,” he concludes.
Blow is not referring to the hell faced by working people — unaffordable health care, millions of workers without jobs, ongoing police brutality, the opioid epidemic, the workers in uniform sent to die in never-ending imperialist wars in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.
People like Blow are consumed by fear and disdain of those they view as the “deplorables” — the workers who voted for Trump or skipped the election entirely.
Blow says the biggest problem are those who refused to vote for Clinton. “The lesser-of-two-evils argument is poppycock,” he says, claiming that there is no comparison between Clinton and Trump.
His argument is aimed at anyone — like the Socialist Workers Party — who urges working people to break from capitalist “lesser evil” politics and to organize independent working-class political action.
“Progressive” Democrats like Charles Schumer in New York and Nancy Pelosi in California have outflanked Sanders’ efforts to build “resistance” to Trump.
In Berkeley, California, Pelosi encouraged and abetted antifa goons to attack those they called “fascists” who wanted to protest there Aug. 27. In fact, the Patriot Prayer group they targeted is composed mainly of supporters of Donald Trump who wanted to defend free speech and who denounce white supremacists and racists. The goons beat anyone they thought had the wrong demeanor.
So far, the only places these antifa forces have been able to carry out their attacks is where liberal Democrats have enabled them by instructing the cops to pull back.
Democrats, Republicans splinter
The fractures in the Democratic and Republican parties became clear during the 2016 campaign.
“Progressive” Democrats rail against those in the party — like Bernie Sanders and his “Revolution” movement — who they believe threaten the party establishment and its chances in 2018. In her new book What Happened, Hillary Clinton turns her guns on Sanders, saying he “didn’t get into the race to make sure a Democrat won the White House, he got in to disrupt the Democratic Party.”
A similar fracturing is taking place in the Republican Party. Trump won the nomination by defeating 16 of the party’s “best and brightest.” He has backed “insurgent” candidates for 2018, including the challenger to incumbent Sen. Jeffry Flake in Arizona. Trump charges that Republican Party congressional leaders are unable to deliver legislation he supports. They’re just another part of the swamp.
He says he’s open to more deals with Democrats to try and get some of his proposals adopted into law.
While Trump was not the favored candidate of the U.S. ruling families, they can live with him as president. Underneath all the demagogy and bluster, he’s a rich capitalist businessman like they are. The policies and actions he has taken in defense of U.S. imperialism at home and abroad — from prosecuting Washington’s wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East to stepping up deportations of immigrants convicted of crimes — are in continuity with previous administrations.