By Emmanuel Santos (Socialist Core)
The elections scheduled for November 8th will be held in the midst of an economic crisis and the distrust of the people towards the candidates. Until two months ago, 57% of voters did not like any of the candidates. Some in this skeptical sector will vote for Hillary Clinton to show their rejection of Donald Trump and vice versa. But voters will continue to distrust both candidates.
Under the Obama administration, the US has continued to suffer from a long economic crisis and the deteriorating living conditions of the popular sectors. The cases of police brutality and racist murders have increased. Industrial cities are now ghost towns as big companies took their factories to China or Southeast Asia.
At the same time, there have also been a rise in social struggles, strikes by workers for a $15 minimum wage, mobilization of African-Americans against racist killings by police, teachers’ strikes and so on. All of this precipitated a change in the popular consciousness. As foretold by the Occupy Wall Street protests, for the first time the majority of the population—including the vast majority of workers— is aware that the rich are getting richer and that large financial firms and banks have enriched themselves on the misery of the majority. There is an incipient class consciousness in some sectors though it is still confusing. To the extent that Trump is presented as an “independent” candidate of Wall Street, but he is a billionaire who is part of that corrupt ruling class.
All this was reflected in the Bernie Sanders phenomenon in the primaries where he introduced himself as a “socialist”; and although Bernie lost in the Democratic Party primaries against Hillary Clinton, he won 13 million votes and got millions in donation to his campaign. He got all of this support from younger workers. Sanders now supports Clinton and he refused to push for a third party of the left, a mass party against the two big imperialist capitalist parties: Democratic and Republican parties alike. But this movement will hardly stop . There are other minor parties today, such as the Green Party (center-left) and the Libertarian (right wing), but the US electoral system prevents these parties from contesting the presidency.
All polls indicate that whether Trump or not Clinton win, a popular majority will reject both of them from the very beginning and it is very possible that this will translate into increasing workers’ and popular struggles. The fact is that whoever wins, the ideas of socialism and the notion of class struggle are back in the Unites. This is important for workers around the world because American workers can be our main allies in stopping the murderous hand of imperialism.
The electoral show
The first presidential debate between Trump and Hillary was an entertainment TV show. In this election, independent and minor party candidates were excluded. The election was characterized by personal and petty attacks between two representatives of the ruling class. On one hand, a racist and ultra-conservative billionaire; and on the other, a corrupt millionaire who supported the invasion of Iraq and today is surrounded by the likes of Henry Kissinger.
Originally published in Spanish in El Socialista