Who Wins and Who Loses in the Next 5 Months

June 3, 2016

Articles

Campaigns generate enthusiasm, conflicts, factions, animosities, and they cost huge sums of money and consume time. Because elections represent the struggle for power, their importance is magnified even when differences are not that large.

Bill Clinton was a neoconservative whose record certainly harmed working people especially African Americans in many ways. But he did appoint Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsberg to the Supreme Court. In addition, he appointed 371 federal judges of comparable character.

However, he expanded mass incarceration and shredded the safety net. How do we balance what he did? Only by recognizing the importance of the Supreme Court is there any basis for balance at all. And one cannot overestimate the power of the Supreme Court with permanent appointments. For workers, their contact with the state occurs through the courts — the Federal District court appointments fundamentally affect workers lives. That is why the Republican Senate has refused to address Obama’s appointment of Merrick Garland. That appointment is being held up precisely because Republicans refuse to relinquish control of the Supreme Court. Living here in Detroit, workers see the effect of Stephen W. Rhodes on their lives. Appointed in 1985 by Ronald Reagan, he allowed the City of Detroit to cut off water, attacked workers’ pensions and now is an emergency manager for DPS.

An important political assessment is what happened in 2000? With the election of George Bush II, there is no question but that Bush II was a disaster for this country and for the working class. He appointed John G. Roberts and Samuel Alito.

Republican Supreme Court members are anti-working class, racist and misogynists. William Rehnquist appointment by Ronald Reagan, opposed Brown v. Board of Education, and much more. John G. Roberts appointed by Bush II, was the architect of Citizens United.

But there is much more. Bush II was a regime of tax gifts to the rich, endless war, and war crimes. With Dick Chaney, he gave license to fossil fuels. And of course, the financial collapse of 2008 is directly related to economic policies of Bush II who took Clinton’s positions many steps further. And that does not include the reactionary social policies of the entire Republican establishment.

By contrast, Al Gore would have been a great President and Liberman even though he was a snake in the grass would have been better than Dick Chaney simply by being more irrelevant.

The above exposition is capable of much more detail but sufficiently demonstrates the inarguable fact that objective different results follow from these elections. The role of progressives is to fight to change the system. But that fight requires that we unite with the reality of the different results that occur because of these elections. We also have to unite with the fact that these elections are a fight for power for different perspectives and different results. Workers certainly struggle to address the balance that must be made. In fact, the system is designed to impose cynicism and pessimism on any working class struggle, especially elections. Any strategy that increases the pessimism and cynicism within the working class is an invalid strategy. Any strategy that ignores the fact that these elections are a struggle for power and will fundamentally affect workers lives is invalid.

In 2016, the electoral battles are far more complicated than in the past. For the first time, the different scenarios are stark, not subtle. This country can easily visualize 3 possible futures played out in the next 5 months. The results will fundamentally affect the trajectory of this country for the rest of the century. We have the following possibilities.

  • Bernie is nominated and he would crush Trump. The working class could celebrate and the results would change this century.
    1. The Supreme Court appointments would be fantastic as would be the lower court appointments.
    2. There would be an end to US imperialistic war and an end to war crimes.
    3. There would be a tremendous building of the Democratic Party as a party fighting for working people. The movement would then allow for change at every level of government. By breaking the strangle hold of the Democratic Elite on money and policy, our movement will be able to attack the dysfunctional congress and we would most likely take the Senate.
    4. There would be taxing the rich to the benefit of the country and to working people.
    5. There would be taxing of Wall Street to limit their speculation and provide resources for implementation of Bernie’s program.
    6. By giving a voice to progressive policies, Bernie would energize millions of workers to eliminate or at least suppress the pessimism and cynicism that now paralyzes our movement. The possibilities are endless and that fact alone would energize, strengthen and build the movement.
  • Hillary is nominated and wins against Trump.
    1. The Supreme Court and Court nomination would be compromised because even if Hillary wins, the Democratic Party would be in shambles.
    2. There would be wars and war crimes placed on the agenda and implemented every time it was possible to do so.
    3. There would be tax gifts to the rich and Wall Street would be given free reign.
    4. Because of privatization of prisons, mass incarceration would either continue or be increased.
    5. Social Security would probably be attacked successfully.
  • Hillary is nominated but Trump wins. We are not sure what this scenario brings.
    1. The court nominations would be to the right of Hillary. At least that is the probable outcome.
    2. There would be tax gifts to the rich.
    3. War and war crimes would be unlikely under Trump.

Looking at these scenarios, it is obvious that Bernie’s nomination and victory would be a tremendous accomplishment for working people.

On the other hand, the difference between Hillary and Trump is complicated. Supreme Court appointments would be superior but then we would be faced with war and war crimes. Probably the gifts to the rich would be comparable. However, social security would probably be protected under Trump and not under Hillary.

With the exception of Bernie’s victory, the future looks bleak. For those fighting the immediate battles to get Hillary’s nomination, they must look at the alternatives and what happens if she actually takes the nomination.

In addition, at this time it is fairly clear that Hillary is likely to lose to Trump. The American population view of her is unfavorable. It ranges between hatred and disgust. The same is true for Trump. It probably contains the same rage. However, there is a distinction. Trump’s hateful constituency is enthusiastic in support of Trump and would fight for his election. Hillary has not constituency and certainly there is no enthusiasm to fight for Hillary. The only basis on which Hillary claims the necessity to support her is that Trump would be worse. That is a marginal claim except for the Supreme Court. It is therefore extremely important to understand the different results. That is why this election is so complicated and why Bernie’s election is so extremely important.

Yours in Struggle,

Ron

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