Nov 28, 2016
So Donald Trump is president, winning the “electoral college” vote, while losing the popular vote by about two million. He kept the usual Republican voting base, composed of the well-to-do and Christian fundamentalists. But even together, they aren’t close to being the majority of the population. Trump won because of a shift of some working class voters, mostly white, but not only. And some cities with many black and/or Hispanic voters had somewhat lower turnouts.
Three states that had long voted Democrat shifted to Trump by small margins. If Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania had voted as usual, Hillary Clinton would have won.
Democratic policies provided the opening for Trump.
While living standards declined and good jobs dried up, the government at federal and state levels starved social service and unemployment benefits. It squeezed Social Security retirement pensions for the elderly. Vital infrastructure – like roads, parks, water and sewage systems – has been left to crumble and decay. That cut more jobs.
For eight years, Democrats worked with Republicans to alleviate the financial crisis – by bailing out the banks, the corporations, the big insurance companies and the wealthy class that controls them and lives off of them.
Obama’s big reform of health care was a scam to soak taxpayers, handing over hundreds of billions of dollars to private insurance companies, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. He continued Bush’s destructive education reform under another name, slashing public education spending, closing schools and firing teachers.
Obama also continued Bush’s endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while starting up new ones in Syria, Libya and Yemen in order to further the domination of U.S. capitalists over the rest of the world, enriching the military contractors, oil companies and banks.
It has been a sustained, continuous attack. And this provided a gigantic opening for Trump to pretend to be the champion of ordinary working people. He grabbed it. He made promises. A promise to create 25 million good paying jobs. A promise to fix the health care system. A promise to the end the wars. And a promise to clean up Washington, get rid of the influence of lobbyists.
People who voted for Trump may have hoped to thumb their noses at the banks, the lobbyists and the “establishment.”
It’s a joke! Notice who is on his transition team: Washington insiders and lobbyists. Notice who is getting the important appointments – big money people of Wall Street, established politicians, and a general who wants to extend the wars.
Some workers who voted for Trump may have thought they were voting for “change.”
Change? They gave their votes to a billionaire who used bankruptcy to avoid paying his workforce, who hired undocumented immigrants in order to pay sub-minimum wages, who paid next to nothing to workers in overseas factories to produce his luxury clothing and accessory lines.
They gave their votes to a despicable demagogue, who appealed to the most vile racist, anti-immigrant prejudices, who openly bragged about how he took advantage of women – and who would divide the working class if he could.
Maybe most workers who voted for Trump thought they could ignore his core message because he talked about jobs. But Trump is a package deal. To believe that good-paying jobs are his goal is to turn your back on what he has shown himself to be.
Working people will not defend ourselves until we find the way, collectively, to fight for what we need – by taking the wealth away from the class of people that Donald Trump represents.
And that would have been just as necessary if Clinton had been elected. Both Democrats and Republicans defend the interest of the wealthy classes at the expense of everyone else. They do not represent us.
We need our own political organizations.