US Presidential Election – Trump Victory Brings Far Right Government and Uncertain Future

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Republican Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential elections not only brings to power the most rightwing president in our nation’s modern history, but because he is an idiosyncratic political outsider, it also points to a very uncertain future. Still we can be sure that his victory will lead to attacks on the working class, on the black and Latino communities, on women, and on LGBT folk.

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The Democrats choice of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders doomed the party to defeat, while the failure of the labor movement and left to build a political alternative left voters with few choices, most of them bad.

Today, while half of the American people rejoice at Trump’s triumph, the other half reels, feeling shocked, angry, afraid, and saddened by the defeat.

 Trump’s Triumph

The Trump victory is a crushing defeat for the Democratic Party and has made irrelevant the tiny, leftist Green Party with 1 percent of the vote. Gary Johnson of the rightwing Libertarian Party, however, won just over 3 percent of the vote.

Not only did Trump win the presidency, but the Republicans also kept control of the Senate and expanded their domination of the House. Trump will now be in a position to appoint the unfilled vacancy in the Supreme Court and other vacancies as they appear. In addition, Republican governors today head 31 state governments, while in 27 states the Republicans also control the state legislature.

While Trump may appear to be a juggernaut, the Republican Party has been deeply divided by his candidacy, and the Democrats still have the filibuster in the Senate. Governing will not be easy. How will Trump with his conservative pro-business agenda satisfy the demands of his party’s expanded working class base? How, for example, will they deal with Obamacare, the health insurance program on which many depend?

And very likely President Trump will face an economic downturn and foreign policy issues—Iraq and Syria, Russia, China—will be challenging to say the least. We head into uncharted waters and perhaps a stormy sea.

 How Did Trump Win?

Trump, who ran on a nationalist economic platform and employed a racist, anti-immigrant and misogynist rhetoric, won the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8 by mobilizing tens of millions of white middle class and working class voters who were disgusted with and angry at the Washington and New York Establishments.

The irony, for those of us on the Left, is that the working class secured Trump’s victory. Suburban white wealthy and middle class voters have been the base of the Tea Party movement and of Trump, but the key to Trump’s victory in this was the white working class vote in the Rust Belt states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, where a majority of both men and women voted for him. His support was strong among those without a college degree. Trump also among voters in small towns and rural areas throughout the country.

The white working class, failed by the Democratic Party over the last 40 years, has been gradually moving into the Republican camp, and this year many migrated en masse. Trump motivated these white workers by speaking to them about the need for rebuilding industry, creating employment, protecting their jobs from undocumented workers, securing the country against foreign competition. Trump, while promising to defend the country against terrorism, also spoke out against U.S. involvement in foreign wars and pursuit of regime change.

To the surprise of many, Trump also won a larger number of votes from racial minorities, receiving 29 percent of the Hispanic vote and 29 percent of the Asian vote. Clinton failed to mobilize the African American community as Obama had done in 2012 when he won 93 percent of the black vote. This year Clinton received only 88 percent of the black vote, while Trump won 8 percent and Libertarian Johnson 2 percent.

Despite the fact that polls suggested that Bernie Sanders would have done better than Clinton against Trump, the Democrats chose the Establishment candidate, not their own populist, “democratic socialist” with his New Deal program. The Democratic Party’s choice of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders appears to have insured Trump’s success.

Some working class voters who were attracted by Sanders’ message, turned toward Trump. While most millennial voters cast ballots for Clinton, some of those who worked for and voted for Sanders could not bring themselves to vote for Hillary. A few Sanderistas may have voted for Trump, and some for Johnson or Stein, others just sat out the election, angry at their candidates rejection and disappointed at the options the were presented.

The victory of Trump, who called for banning future immigration of Muslims and demanded the construction of a wall to keep out Mexican immigrants, has struck fear in the hearts of not only of Latin American and Muslim immigrants, but also frightens black Americans who know the story of Trump’s racist career.

Throughout the United States there have been anti-Trump demonstrations, mostly by young people chanting, “Not my president!” We can be sure that the movement against Trump will continue and will grow, and it will grow too among those who voted for Trump, but will find themselves sorely disappointed.

Confronting Trump will depend on the ability of the anti-capitalists of our society and of the millions more who voted for Bernie Sanders’ to propose a new vision of solidarity to our entire society.

Dan La Botz, 09/11/2016


P.S.

* Article written for the website Viento Sur.