Every U.S. presidential election has huge impacts, but this year’s campaign is particularly significant. On the positive side, the Democratic primary votes for Bernie Sanders showed a deep wellspring of support for progressive and even radical change. Along with the many grassroots struggles against corporate domination across the U.S. today, this gives new hope that a powerful resistance movement can be built in the belly of the imperialist beast.
The downside of this campaign, however, is truly ominous. The worst possible outcome – the election of Donald Trump – appears unlikely, but still not impossible. This would bring to power a movement backed by the most violent, militarist, reactionary, anti-working class elements of the U.S. ruling class. A Trump presidency would accelerate the ultra-right drive to turn the clock back to the era of white supremacy, male patriarchy, and Biblical literalism, and Blacks, women, Native Americans and other minorities were treated as less than fully human.
To be blunt, in the U.S. context, this is a recipe for modern day fascism. The simplistic argument that ”every capitalist party is the same” casually writes off every reform and advance won through bitter struggles over the course of two centuries: the abolition of chattel slavery, the right to organize trade unions, Roe v. Wade, and much, much more.
This is not to argue that Hillary Clinton is a progressive alternative. Clinton has been pushed to adopt elements of the Sanders platform, and she would not appoint racist, misogynist thugs to the Supreme Court. But she remains a proponent of neoliberal austerity, and a hawkish advocate of militarism and interventions to overthrow governments which dare to challenge Yankee domination. Trump must be defeated, by the largest margin possible. But this election proves again that creating a true people’s alternative to the parties of big business remains a crucial task for the U.S. working class and its allies – and the sooner the better, for the sake of the entire world.