2008 Elections: Are We Having Fun Yet?
In the far-right corner, ten white guys, weighing in at up to $70 million in assets...
The Republicans are in a serious crisis. For the first time since 1928, no incumbent Pres. or Vice Pres. will be running for the Presidency. And how could they?! Bush is a dirty word on both sides of the aisle, with the ongoing debacle in Iraq hammering the nail in the coffin of the Administration. Bush has the lowest approval rating of any sitting President since the invention of modern polling; it’s doubtful the nominee would even welcome his endorsement.
The Republicans are already being abandoned on two very significant fronts. The corporate capitalist ruling class is already betting on and building for a Democratic Party victory in 2008; many mainstay capitalist sectors of Republican power – construction, energy – are balancing their outlays and support between the two parties, while in 2004 these areas support the Republican’s overwhelmingly (70-80%). Finance, insurance, and health care industries are solidly behind the Democratic Party, and Hillary Clinton.
Also, the ‘white male’ evangelical vote is slipping away. The Iraq war, the Guanatanamo-Abu-Graib-torture-regime, and assorted scandals pervading the White House have all shown Bush to be not quite the moral rectifier after all, and are alienating the conservative religious activists so key to the Party’s victories over the last decade. No matter how hard the supposedly too-liberal Giuliani and Mormon Romney drum on about the 9/11 and the security state, and how truly conservative they are, they’ll have a hard time marshaling the evangelicals.
...And, in the other right corner, we've got an assortment of corporate ventriloquists weighing in at up to $30 million in assets...
And the Democrats? Let’s not kid ourselves. The Iraq disaster and assorted crimes of the Bush White House has excused the Democrats of even appearing as any kind of alternative. They don’t need to. Rather, the strategy is focus on Bush himself, not actual policies or alternatives, in order to dampen any popular sentiment for real change (on the economic front, the occupations, etc.). Populist rhetoric and promises to “end the war” aside; the real agenda is determined by the combination of a low level of mass, social motion (against the war, the health care/insurance industry, the housing crisis) with the dominance over the Party’s agenda and operations by big capital.
The Democrats will assume their natural position as the ‘other’ party of the US ruling class, based on the disarray of the Republicans at this juncture. Whether they can keep their deception up – or, as my comrade David said, whether they can fool all of the people all the time – and mobilize enough of their base (labor, the Black vote, anti-war forces) throughout the next year is up in the air.
Socialists should look to build the mass social movements we need for a different politics, whether in labor, anti-racist or anti-war struggles, at the same time as supporting the all-too few real independent electoral alternatives out there.