2008 Elections: Are We Having Fun Yet?

Posted November 5, 2007

Like Christmas, the US bourgeois electoral cycle seems to start earlier every time around. The scripted, stage-managed debates, the empty moralisms and focus-group politics, competition for Oprah’s endorsement – yep, there must be a national election soon. Besides recognizing the increasingly vapid terms of political debate at the national stage and entertainment spectacle of it all, there are important shifts and realignments already surfacing.

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.


2 responses to “2008 Elections: Are We Having Fun Yet?”

  1. Linda C Avatar

    I will vote for the candidate that plans to address racism. This is such a serious issue that it leads to many other existing issues. Education in schools and at home need to teach racial tolerance. I have written an article on teaching racial tolerance to children for other children through a series of resources such as games, books, lessons and organizations. Please visit http://www.squidoo.com/learnrespectearly

  2.  Avatar

    Okay, just kidding with that subject heading. First, though, I know the ever advancing commercial juggernaut of Christmas merchandising is terrible, and that’s fair enough to compare to the onslaught of the Bread and Circus election cycle… but, still… I *like* Xmas! I can’t BEAR elections.

    It took me years and years to even be able to deal with the idea of a third party election campaign that wasn’t entirely propagandistic — that is, the Green Party — and despite the space it has undoubtedly created in American electoral politics in the past few election cycles, this round looks to be worse than ever before. It won’t be “Anybody But Bush” this time, but “Any Democrat At All”.

    The reason my subject header is a joke, of course, is the not at all funny fact that there IS no mass movement for electoral politics to bury. We definitely have to be building them, because they sure don’t exist right now.

    maeve66 is a middle school teacher in a working class suburb of Oakland.