politics

Fixed Elections and the “Shining City on the Hill”

Donald Trump is right: These elections are “fixed”. It’s just that he’s lying (again) in how they are fixed. But, man, in this weird, hilarious and terrifying presidential election, nothing Trump has said has so horrified Corporate America as this claim of his.

Clinton and Trump "debating"

Clinton and Trump “debating”

“I am appalled”
A blow to our democracy that is one more piece of his outright effort to undermine the system,” intoned one columnist for the Wall St. Journal.

Horrifying… I, for one, am appalled,” commented Hillary Clinton. And “I have never seen in my lifetime or in modern political history any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process before votes have even taken place,” Obama said.

Clinton went further: “He is denigrating — he’s talking down our democracy.

Ahh, yes, “our democracy”. The tradition of “free and fair elections”!

Have we forgotten how Hillary Clinton stole the primary vote in California this election? How Corporate America stole the election for George Bush? How Kennedy beat Nixon through vote fraud in Chicago, orchestrated by Mayor Richard Daly, whose motto was “vote early, vote often“? It was this vote fraud that won Kennedy the state of Illinois and, thus, the presidency.

Or maybe the probable next president is talking about how the US Constitution was established, when slaves and women couldn’t vote and when in all states voters were required to have a certain amount of property or wealth? Maybe she is talking about how even with that, according to noted US historian Charles Beard, the evidence is that most voters thought they were voting to reject the Constitution? Or maybe she’s talking about the fact that women only got the right to vote in 1920 and black people in the South only in the 1960s? Or maybe she’s talking about the fact that all those under court supervision, and in many states even those who are no longer under court supervision, are denied the right to vote?

You think?

But it really goes even deeper than that. Consider one detail of last night’s “debate”: The discussion on the Clinton Foundation and Haiti. Trump rightly pointed out how the Clintons are hated in that impoverished country. But he didn’t explain that, while the Clinton Foundation was taking money from investors in Haiti, Hillary Clinton’s State Department was pressuring the Haitian government to keep the Haitian minimum wage at starvation level.

Where?
In other words, the voice of the working class is entirely absent, not only in this election, but in every one.

  • Where is the candidate who explains how the police are a true occupying army in black communities, in fact in all working class communities, and really reveals how the entire police force has collaborated in covering up murder, corruption, false arrests, etc.?
  • Where is the candidate who explains how even at $15/hour millions of workers cannot escape poverty?
  • Where is the candidate who explains how they cannot solve workers and oppressed people’s problems for them, but that what they can do is use their office to help workers and oppressed people organize and fight on their own behalf?
  • Where is the candidate who explains how the “free” market is destroying lives and the environment all around the world?
  • Where is the candidate who explains how it is up to workers to stop the drive towards world war, how we can and must make direct links with workers throughout the world to build a powerful international workers’ movement and a powerful mass workers’ international?
  • Where is the candidate who explains that both the Democratic and Republican Parties are parties of big business – the capitalist class – and that working class people must build a party of their own?
  • Where, in other words, is the candidate who explains the true nature of affairs and who stands up and fights for working class people?

Union Leadership
Except in the margins, this candidate doesn’t exist. The blame, first and foremost, falls on the entire union leadership. These are the ones who exercise a choke hold over the only mass working class organizations that exist in the US – the unions. The same ones who told a black UAW member in Ferguson right after Michael Brown was killed “this isn’t our battle”, the same ones who bring corporate shills into the unions to preach the company line.

Jim Wallace of the far right Fox News, in phrasing the question in last night’s debate, said: “there is a tradition in this country — in fact, one of the prides of this country — is the peaceful transition of power and that no matter how hard-fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign that the loser concedes to the winner.”

One WSJ columnist explained the danger of what Trump is saying: “It sends the message that the United States may no longer be the ‘shining city on a hill’ that serves as an example for countries struggling for self-determination.” In other words, it weakens the ability of Corporate America to control what happens in the rest of the world, especially in the underdeveloped world. (Bear in mind, this is the government that has supported military coups and repressive regimes throughout the world.)

That "shining city on the hill" and the reality

That “shining city on the hill” and the reality

Capitalist Democracy
Even with a workers’ party, elections under capitalism always will be “fixed” because the capitalists always will have the advantage; they always will have the education system, the media to propagate their views. And if all else fails, they always will have the police and the military brass to intimidate working class people.

So, sure, the workers movement must take advantage of capitalist democracy, including elections, to fight for their interests. But, please, can we stop with all the nonsense about “the shining city on the hill”? 

Categories: politics, United States

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