By David Sole
The extreme measures being taken by Donald Trump and most of the Republican Party to overturn the victory of Joe Biden in the November 3 election are not simply support for the desperate actions of the sick mind of a single individual.
In spite of the most rabid exploitation of racism, anti-immigrant hysteria, anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry, vicious anti-woman prejudice, anti-unionism, anti-science idiocy and denial of climate change, the Republican Party was not able to cobble together a majority to hold onto the top post in the United States. They are terrified that they may become a perpetual minority party.
Measures are being taken which are unprecedented in U.S. history. So far state and Federal courts have examined almost 50 lawsuit submissions asking one judge or another to throw out some election results. Every case so far has either been thrown out by the court or been withdrawn by the Trump campaign attorneys. On December 8 attorneys-general from 18 states, led by Texas, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments to throw out the election results. Previously the entire bench of nine Supreme Court justices refused to hear an application for a pleading to throw out the results of the election in Pennsylvania. On December 11 the Supreme Court refused to hear the Texas-originated case.
As one court after another tossed out Trump’s cases, often with scathing opinions, retired General Michael Flynn (only days following Donald Trump’s pardon for his crimes) and retired three star General Thomas McInerney publicly came out supporting a call for President Trump to suspend the Constitution, declare martial law and have the U.S. military carry out a new election!
Not only have Democrats come under criticism and attack. Republican officials, in “swing states” where Trump lost but the votes have been certified, have received denunciations directly from the President followed by numerous death threats by Trump supporters. One Georgia top election official (Biden defeated Trump in the historically Republican stronghold of Georgia) publicly decried the attacks, warning that “someone is going to be killed.”
President-elect Joe Biden and the Democratic Party apparatus nationwide seem to have decided to discount these threats and are committed to a course of calmly proceeding in preparing to take office on January 20, 2021. The various organizations across the country that held many demonstrations just after November 3 to demand “Count Every Vote” have fallen silent. Union locals and central labor councils that had built some momentum with resolutions threatening a general strike if Trump tried to steal the election also appear to have adopted a wait and see attitude. Liberal news media have strongly criticized the calls for martial law and a coup, but only the lone voices from the Moratorium Now Coalition in Detroit, Wisconsin Bail Out the People Movement, and Peoples Alliance Bay Area issued a call to soldiers to refuse illegal orders if their superiors decided to follow General Flynn’s proposal.
There was widespread and understandable jubilation when the election results showed a decisive defeat for Donald Trump. But the emerging Biden administration has not thrilled progressive or even moderate forces as announcements have been made of various future Cabinet level appointments.
.A quick look at a few key Biden choices to join him starting January 20, 2021 shows that the nation cannot expect any break with the Wall Street / Pentagon iron rule of this capitalist and imperialist country.
Antony Blinken will be Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State, a key figure in U.S. relations with the rest of the world. He previously served from 2009 to 2013 as Deputy Assistant to the President [Obama] and National Security Advisor to then Vice-President Joseph Biden. Wikipedia says he was a “key player in drafting Syria policy” which has led to so much death and destruction in that nation. Wikipedia also reports that he “helped craft U.S. policy on Afghanistan, Palestine and the Iranian nuclear policy” all aimed to continue United States domination over the oil rich Middle East.
This imperialist warmonger supported the 2011 U.S. military intervention in Libya, Israel’s 2014 murderous attack on Gaza and directed the U.S. in supplying weapons to Syrian rebels.
He favored the U.S. backing of the Saudi Arabian war against Yemen, which has continued for over five years of genocide of the Yemeni people. How did he facilitate the war against Yemen? In his own words “as part of that effort, we have expedited weapons deliveries, we have increased our intelligence sharing, and we have established a joint coordination and planning all in the Saudi operations center.”
Blinken also developed and promoted a “wide and expansive sanctions regime” against Russia’s leaders. Additionally, he wanted the sanctions to target “the Russian public at large.” Blinken’s whole history has been as a strong supporter of U.S. imperialist interests in dominating the world economic order and militarily opposing any and all nations that assert any independence. This matches Joe Biden’s entire history as Senator and Vice-President where he was a faithful servant of militarism and imperialism.
Biden is looking to put retired four-star general Lloyd Austin to head the Department of Defense. Austin has strong ties to the military contractor Raytheon where it is reported he has $500,000 in Raytheon securities. From September 2010 to December 2011 he was commander of all U.S. and coalition military personnel in the occupation of Iraq. He also will need a congressional waiver to serve, since he has not been out of the Army for the required 7 years,a requirement intended to keep the Secretary of Defense a civilian position, independant from the Pentagon.
While not all of Biden’s choices have been announced, those that have offer no hope of any radical shift in policy substance. A look at the proposed Secretary of Agriculture exposes Biden’s conservative agenda. Tom Vilsack served as President Obama’s Agriculture Secretary for his entire 8 years in office. Agriculture oversees farm policy but also the critical food assistance programs. It’s budget is around $146 billion.
Anger at Vilsack’s selection has been swiftly expressed. Since leaving the Department before Trump took office, Vilsack has been chief executive of the Dairy Export Council that represents the big corporate dairy industry. He also exposed his racism when he fired Shirley Sherrod, a top official under his direction, when she was the victim of a right-wing doctored tape of a speech she had given. Vilsack took the false audio track as good coin and only later apologized to Sherrod, after she had been fired.
There is no reason to believe and no evidence to suggest that Biden will break with the policies of catering to Wall Street and the Pentagon that all U.S. administrations of both major parties have faithfully carried out. What then can cause a shift that can benefit the working class?
In truth, only powerful mass movements have ever won any progressive changes in U.S. history. Certainly the conditions are getting so severe as to demand some radical changes. The Democratic Party steered clear of any real program to alleviate mass suffering, especially felt during the COVID pandemic. Biden’s slogan of “Build Back Better” is pitiably hollow.
It isn’t rocket science to know that a true national health care system for all Is desperately needed. Masses of people are expected to lose their housing in the next month, as the federal eviction moratorium expires. Food shortages across the country are staggering, as unemployment continues to rise. Cancellation of the crushing student debt burden has not been addressed. The 2020 election campaign paid no serious attention to the issue of police terror and systematic racism. Immigrant rights have been avoided for decades. A real commitment to women’s rights and LGBTQ+ rights cannot be ignored. Real programs to protect the environment need to be pushed. Defunding the Pentagon and ending imperialist foreign intervention would promote justice and, at the same time, provide the funds needed to pay for vital social programs. Many more issues can be put forward.
But the only way for any and all of this people’s program to be promoted is for the mass movement to hit the streets and to break from the strangling grip of the Democratic Party. That is the real crisis facing the Democrats. A real struggle with clear demands will be able to unify broad sections of the working class. It is the only thing that can disintegrate the right-wing forces that have gathered around Donald Trump and the Republican Party.