The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Presidential Candidates Disguised as Something New

Mar 14, 2016

At least two and a half million people voted in the Michigan primary–almost a million more than the previous record set 44 years ago. People came out to express their anger against the current political system and “politics as usual.” They did it by voting in large numbers for the so-called “outsiders,” Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Donald Trump. In crisis-weary Flint, Michigan, following rallies by candidates, voter turnout was twice as high as in previous years.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Donald Trump’s message to what is referred to as the “rust belt” communities, resonated like a bell. In Warren, Michigan, Trump declared that he was “bringing the cars back to Michigan.” In a state that has seen the drastic impoverishment and depopulation of cities like Detroit, Flint, Pontiac and Saginaw as the auto bosses shuttered plant after plant, is it any surprise that workers would cheer candidates’ promises to “bring all the jobs home”?

Bernie Sanders attacked prior administrations for “sending jobs overseas.” He said, “Today, I proudly stood with hundreds of trade unionists and environmentalists in opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership ... a continuation of a series of bad trade agreements which have cost us millions of decent American jobs.”

Trump and Sanders, campaigning in Michigan, both made a big attack on “free trade,” blaming it for job loss, claiming that they would reverse such policies.

In fact, the vast majority of jobs have been lost because of what the big companies have done in this country–forcing much more work out of fewer people, cutting jobs left and right as they do. There is more production going on today in this country than ever before. So why are there fewer jobs? Because the real and devastating cause of job loss is speedup. Both of these “outsiders” cover for what the bosses and Wall Street have done.

Trump is actually playing all the same reactionary cards the Republicans have been dealing for years. The only difference is that he is crass and open with it.

Sanders, like Trump, doesn’t really challenge current government policies–on the wars, on “crime,” on education, he votes 98% with the Democratic Party and in action, is very much a part of the status quo.

Yes, he says tuition at colleges should be free–which certainly got him an enormous vote among students. But he doesn’t challenge public funding levels that don’t provide enough money to give a decent education to the children of working people. Most won’t make it through college–even if it’s free–because they haven’t been given the preparation.

People are voting for so-called “outsiders” today as a way to express anger. But those two “outsiders” will do nothing more than to pull all their voters right back in the system–whether or not they are nominated.

Sanders, in a speech in New Hampshire, closed by saying, “We will need to come together in a few months and unite this party, and this nation because the right-wing Republicans we oppose must not be allowed to gain the presidency.”

While the Republican Party will undoubtedly have more trouble accepting Trump, it is not due to his policies, which echo their own. They have the difficulty of controlling a candidate who is not bankrolled and entrenched in their party.

While the image of something new has worked well for both Trump and Sanders, in the end it’s the same old story. Four more years under a Republican and Democratic government, the same government Trump and Sanders voters are entirely sick of.

Working people need a new party, a working class party that would propose to people to act on their anger, not wait for a politician to do something for them. A party that would lead the fight for jobs and against unemployment–a fight against all those hatreds based on ethnic background. A fight for a decent life for all working class people.