An Extraordinary Moment

Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  01/03/2016
Year Published:  2016  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21353

In the end, the one sure prediction about the 2016 election is that the power of corporate capital will not be touched. That's the nature of what's called "bourgeois democracy." But almost everything else is up for grabs.



The Republican Party presents a weird picture. It remains the preferential option for most of corporate America. For at least the short and medium term, its control of the U.S. House of Representatives remains ensured by the combined effects of district gerrymandering and state voter suppression laws. The Senate, tilted as it is toward small, rural and conservative states, is likely also to retain a Republican edge. But to maintain its usefulness to the U.S. ruling class as a national governing party, the GOP needs a leadership to maintain the tenuous cohesion of a party pulling in three partly disparate directions.

First of course there's the "mainstream" traditional agenda of big business: cut corporate taxes and social services, smash what's left of union power, protect the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, stuff the military with every possible weapons system, privatize social security if they can get away with it. It's represented by those candidates media-certified as "moderate."

Second is the social reactionary thrust of the religious right - seeking to restore the mythical "Christian nation" that America never was, eliminate abortion and LGBT rights, etc. - as represented by Ted Cruz and Ben Carson. These two components have been mainstays of Republican power for decades.

A third trend, after being mostly closeted, has come to the fore in the sordid spectacle that is Donald Trump. This is a thrust toward a U.S. counterpart of the National Front in France, not particularly religious but overtly anti-immigrant, Islamophobic, aggressively nationalist and white-supremacist - sentiments that have coagulated around white Americans' resentment and insecurity. Does Trump believe most of his own babble? Probably not, but that doesn’t matter.
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