Jan 4, 2016
Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, who are running for the presidential nominations of the Republican and Democratic parties, claim to be “outsiders.”
And both are lying.
Trump is a billionaire real estate speculator. He brags about paying off politicians of both parties to get what he wants. He brags about his social and financial links to the rich and powerful. Some “outsider”! And Trump’s basic message is not different from what politicians of both parties say. Trump just says it more openly in a game of political one-upmanship. While the politicians of both parties try to divide workers against each other by blaming immigrants for unemployment and low wages, Trump openly calls Mexican immigrants street thugs and worse. While politicians vote for measures that criminalize black men, Trump openly incites violent attacks on people protesting the killings by cops. While politicians of both parties support policies that restrict working women’s right to control their own bodies, Trump makes statements that are openly derogatory and sexist. And while Democrats and Republicans support government spying on the whole population, Trump openly calls for banning Muslims from coming into the country.
Neither is Bernie Sanders an “outsider.” Sanders may call himself a “socialist” and denounce the growing gap between the wealthy and everyone else. But he is running for the nomination of the Democratic Party, the party of the wealthy and the banks, the capitalist class. Throughout his political career, Sanders has voted with the Democratic Party leadership 98% of the time, faithful to the last. Sanders supported measures that increased the criminalization of black men. He voted for the government bailout of the banks and other corporations. He voted for the U.S. war in Afghanistan and the budgets that paid for all the other wars. He supported the Senate’s unanimous statement of support for Israel’s attack on Palestinians in Gaza in 2014. Sanders consistently supports the policies of the powerful and wealthy against working people and the oppressed.
Both of these candidates are a danger and trap for the working class. Trump reinforces violent anti-immigrant views and other reactionary ideas floating around in parts of the working class. He makes it acceptable to say these things openly – and therefore to act on them, as vigilantes are trying to do along the border with Mexico. Trump’s open sexism makes the daily violence against women at home and at work more acceptable.
As for Sanders, he’s playing the role that other Democratic politicians posing as outsiders have played before him, especially Jesse Jackson. That is, Sanders is being used to divert working people who are angry, to mobilize young people who want to be active, in order to bring them right back inside the Democratic Party, when the long primary campaign is over. Sanders already said he will support the party’s nominee – as he has for years.
So, in the upcoming election, working people have no reason to look to either the Democrats or Republicans, no matter who they run. Both parties put forward candidates who pretend that what’s good for the capitalist class is good for everyone.
But, in fact, that is just a cover for the class war that the capitalist class is waging against the working population to further its own enrichment and wealth.
Working people need policies that take the workers’ side, that counterposes the workers’ answers and solutions to those of the capitalists. And those answers are not just for the working class, but for broader sections of the population that are under attack today.
For working people to get sucked into looking for something to support in either party, Democrat or Republican, is a trap. It takes us away from tackling the necessary work to build a working class party. Only a working class party can consistently put forward workers’ solution and answers to the enormous problems that all working people face.