New U.S. president exposes the crisis; resistance shows road forward

November 13, 2016

“You cannot stop the neo-fascist catastrophe with the neoliberal disaster.” – Dr. Cornel West, Bernie Sanders delegate to the Democratic national convention, Dr. Jill Stein supporter, August 2016.

This prediction by Dr. West in August — that the neo-fascist catastrophe, Donald Trump, could not be stopped by the neo-liberal disaster, Hillary Clinton, proved true.

In spite of spending five times more money, enjoying the full support of the Democratic Party apparatus, major corporate media, and several key Republican leaders, Hillary Clinton could not defeat Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is not a politician; he hasn’t been a Republican. He has contributed to both parties over the years. He has never held an elected office. At the beginning of the primary season, the Republicans had seventeen candidates. They were mostly well established Republicans such as Jeb Bush, the brother of former president George Bush, who had a $150 million war chest. The primaries saw one establishment candidate after another fall as Donald Trump won primary after primary.

He ridiculed his Republican opponents and their last presidential candidate. He was eventually disowned by all the major Republican leaders past and present.

Trump spoke against the free trade agreements which devastated many working-class families and communities. He visited cities where factories had closed. He promised to tear up the agreements and “make America great again.” He promised not to privatize Social Security.

He also made threatening racist remarks about Mexican American immigrants, sexist remarks about women, and threatening remarks against Muslims, including preventing Muslims from entering the United States.
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He encouraged physical attacks on people who disagreed with him at his rallies. Right-wing racist groups in the United States like the KKK openly support him.

Donald Trump is a millionaire right-wing populist whose upset election shows the depth of the economic, social, and political crises in the United States.

During the Obama years, the standard of living of the working class has continued to fall. Wages are stagnant; job growth is anemic; the jobs created pay very low wages. Hundreds of thousands of families lost their homes to bank foreclosures. They were forced to move in with relatives, downsize or become homeless.

Recently it was announced that the only section of the population whose conditions of health had worsened substantially was that of adult white high-school educated males who had an increase in suicides and opioid drug overdoses. This is a direct outcome of the economic crisis.

In late October 2015, Independent Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders decided to enter the race, declared himself a Democrat and pledged to support the Democratic nominee. He began campaigning against NAFTA and free trade, against Wall Street domination of political life, for universal health care, reducing student debt and free public education through college. As he said later, he had intended to run a campaign to raise issues, never thinking he could win the nomination. That was why he entered so late. Many of his supporters were unable to vote for him in the primaries. He declared his candidacy too late for them to acquire Democratic Party ballots in their state elections.

Sanders’ campaign took off. His rallies were the largest political rallies of any candidate Republican or Democrat. He had thousands of people all across the country from October 2015 through July 2016. He won important primaries.

Bernie Sanders was a declared socialist and a left-wing populist. His candidacy changed the face of U.S. politics. He was an openly socialist candidate who was immensely popular. Many of us are convinced that if he had been the Democratic candidate he would have defeated Trump. The story of how and why Bernie Sanders was denied the candidacy has many devious and devilish details but it is essentially a political one. It was his politics that were unpalatable to the capitalist elite.

The two major political parties are moribund. The major leaders of both parties are very unpopular nationally. The only energy and enthusiasm inside these parties came from these two candidates – Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump – who came into these parties from the outside. Unlike Sanders, Trump had high negative ratings even among his supporters.

The support for Hillary Clinton in the working class was tepid at best. She presented herself as “the anti-Trump.” She presented no positive programs for jobs, healthcare, or education. She used the discomfort of the top Republican leadership for Trump to court votes from wealthy, college-educated suburban Republicans. She ignored reaching out to poor and working-class people, including African-Americans and Mexican Americans. She assumed they had no one else to vote for but her. There was no need to win their support through policies directed at reducing poverty. Nevertheless, twenty-nine percent of the Latino vote went to Trump.

Trump is a right-wing populist. His policies favor the capitalist class, erode democracy and incite the extra-legal right-wing organizations. He also makes a sharp criticism of some of the worst aspects of modern capitalism directed at winning support from white working class people. Hev mixes open racism towards immigrants of color and shows hostility to other countries.

As this is written, there have been many demonstrations across the United States every day since the election against Trump with people shouting, “not my president!”

The Green Party nominated Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka with the support of hundreds of former Sanders supporters. The GP doubled its the vote from 2012. The Greens along with many others are calling for resistance to the Trump and his policies even before he takes office. Actions are already planned including “Occupy the Inauguration” for Trump’s inauguration next January.

To stop the neo-fascist catastrophe of Trump, we need powerful social movements and candidates who want to create a Green New Deal and stop the endless wars.

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