Saturday, November 11, 2006

Election Aftermath: Crisis for the Democratic Party

This is part of an article from The World Socialist Web Site, written before the final results were known in the US elections.

While the election result is a debacle for the Bush administration and the Republicans, the Democrats are far from satisfied with the political situation that they presently confront.

The Democratic Party is the beneficiary of overwhelming antiwar sentiment that it did nothing to encourage and which stands in stark opposition to its own pro-war policy. There is a vast chasm between the massive antiwar sentiment within the electorate and the commitment of Democratic Party leaders to “victory in Iraq” and continued prosecution of the “war on terror.”

As the evening wore on and the political implications of the massive anti-Bush and antiwar vote became apparent, both leading Democrats and the cynical spinmeisters of the media sought to interpret the election results in the most conservative and innocuous terms.

New York Senator Hillary Clinton, considered to be the frontrunner to win the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, declared in her victory speech that American politics had to return to the “vital center,” and pledged her commitment to work with the Republicans in prosecuting the “war on terror.”

Needless to say, had the Republicans retained control of both houses of Congress, the media would have portrayed the election as a powerful popular endorsement of the Bush administration’s war policy.

In fact, the vote reflects the broad and deep popular opposition not only to Bush, but also to the media and the Democrats, both of which backed the administration’s war drive, promoted its lies about weapons of mass destruction and Iraq-Al Qaeda ties, and continue to support the mass slaughter being carried out by the US in the devastated country.

The outcome of the elections has revealed that the American people overwhelmingly stand to the left of the entire political establishment. It signals an intensification of the political crisis in the United States.

Those who voted for the Democratic Party in order to express their opposition to the Bush administration and the war will rapidly discover that a Democratic electoral victory will produce no significant change in US policy, either abroad or at home. Millions of working people and youth will sooner rather than later come into direct conflict with the Democrats.

I would add, that the people who will come into conflict, with what they thought the Democrats would deliver, are going to be fooled again as the US presidential election season starts. Expect a Feingold, Edwards, or even Hillary Clinton, to make the Democratic base, think they are listened to.

There was an American president who supported "The Philadelphia Plan", an affirmative action program to increase Afro-Americans getting jobs in construction on federal projects, a full employment budget that ran up deficits, raised Social Security benefits by 20% indexed to the cost of living, created the Enviromental Protection Agency etc. That president was Richard M Nixon. He didn't do that because of discovering social-democracy, rather for the US international image abroad. The point is that whoever is in power, it's the mass movement that applies pressures to get reforms.

In the future I'll post what I'm for electorally, not just attacking Democrats. I do believe the Democratic Party is the main enemy of the left. I would support a labor party based on the working class. I also would support an Afro-American or Chicano nationalist party. The goal is to get people into politics independent of Democrats.RENEGADE EYE


MR said...

It's not going to be Hillary in 2008, it's going to be Al Gore, hopefully. I wrote a long piece on this at

Lew Scannon said...

The Democrats need to be reminded how they got there and why they're there. And they need to be reminded that they can just as easily be replaced next election cycle if they ignore the will of the people.

ramo said...

Well, I do not think, Americans voted to stop war. They still support the larger war on terror. The one that is being waged in Afghanistan.

What they voted against was the mis-management of Iraq war, constant lies, scams, corrupt power politics by incompetent Bush admin. Basically Bush didn't have any credibility left.

The war on terror is important to safe guard from Islamic terror. Not just USA but most other secular countries.

And never forget that islamo-fascists are the number one enemy of secular-left also.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

It's all shades of grey.

I don't think that the current vote was just Iraq, it was a combination of many issues that are going on over there and to call it a war vote is overly simplistic.

beatroot said...

While the election result is a debacle for the Bush administration and the Republicans

After six years of a GOP presidency and 12 years of GOP control of congress etc, plus Iraq etc what is more interesting is that the Republican meltdown was so mild. In fact the number of seats lost in both Congress and Senate was about average in the circumstances.

And there lies the problem: Americans didn’t vote for democrats they voted, a bit, against Republicans – which shows you how exhausted and meaningless US party politics has become. No vision, no real idea of social change. And there is nothing coming from outside these lame parties to challenge them. Nothing.

Jim Jepps said...

I agree with Daniel HG in that the anti-war movement is over keen on saying this was simply about the war. It may be true to say in some places that the "Democratic Party is the beneficiary of overwhelming antiwar sentiment" and there were ballots on withdrawing the troops in some parts that won hands down

BUT what about Lieberman the pro-war democrat deselected by his party who ran as an independent and won a convincing victory against the anti-war democrat. It's hard to see how that fits into the anti-war explanation.

Why did Arnie win?

The war was an important factor, of course, I'm not denying this - but what about the fall out from Catrina. The sex scandals. Corruption scandals. Bush being a moron. And a modest shift against socially conservative policy.

I think there are lots of reasons why people are turning against the republicans and I think we need to take heart from that - people are not one dimensional puppets dancing to the same concerns but are more rounded and care about international affairs and domestic.


Frank Partisan said...

Welcome Ripper. If Hillary wants the nomination, she'll kill to get it.

lew scannon: The left-liberals won't remind the Dems. They always will go with the lesser evil.

ramo: No argument that Islamism is a threat. It is great that you visited. You haven't been here for awhile.

Daniel: It was primarily the war.

beatroot: I actually agree with you. Atleast in the UK, one can work in the Labor Party or NDP in Canada, in a caucas. The Democrats represent big business and sold out labor leaders. No different ultimately than working in the GOP. Every word by both parties is focused grouped. You are correct about there is no vision. The history of US politics, is that of protest. What makes one subversive, is the VISION presented.

jim jay: Lieberman won because in the middle of the race, his opponent stopped talking about the war. His opponent was to the right of Lieberman on other issues.

Arnold won because his program is different than other GOP members. It is more libertarian and for the enviroment. He is married into the Kennedy family.

Minnesota elected to congress the first Muslim. He was a supporter of Louis Farrakhan. He is generally considered progressive. I'm told by friends, in no time he has started to sound like a mainstream Democrat.

There would be a labor party here, only the Stalinists in the Communist Party, when they had a base in the trade unions, encouraged them to be Democrats.

Mark Prime (tpm/Confession Zero) said...

If one thinks the "war on terror" is a worthy cause they are not thinking that it is impossible to "defeat" by "warring" is only defeated when foreign policy across the board are ratified nd in many cases dumped completely. Stating that there is a war against terror or using terms such as a "war against islamo-fascism" are forgetting the other side of the coin- American Imperialism, which is considered the greater threat to nearly all other nations... The "war" must be a dismantling of both. When the American Empire is slowed or stopped the need for such "islamo-fascist" mentalities are diminished. One will never be defeated without defeating both.

We must change the "two-party" system (Democrat and Repubican) in a drastic way or the "war on terror" will never even begin.

mullet said...

I agree with beatroot....the vote says too much about the state of politics - rather that the vote itself

Anonymous said...

Ahh, Renegade,
Thank goodness some minds think alike. I am frankly tired of the Democratic folks I know that think this whole election thing is just a race to the finish line, game over, victory declared. They like to use the sports analogies, yet forget, even in sports, one win of one game is but one small victory. There is much more to be done. I really doubt this cabal of lobbying money grubbing Dems will so very much to rock the boat. They must be forced by their constiuents. Keep on, my friends, the party is over and the games have yet to begin.

Pursey Tuttweiler said...

I posted an off-the-wall but not so far from the truth, as I see it, reason why those Dems won the election. It was about the sex.

Intrepidflame said...

Too busy to write a proper comment, just wanted to say great post and I hope that the American people make the Dems work for their "victory' but I know they won't. A labor party in the US...we can dream right?

k. edward warmoth said...

It'll be Obama in '08. I'll place money on it.

But great post all in all. You're right when you say that the American people are remarkably to the left, hopefully, we don't just stay content and we keep moving.

Tina said...

Of course we have to chose the lesser of 2 evils. Our 2 party system leaves us no other option.
As a Dem, do I wish we had other options? Of course.
But since we are a 2 party system, I'll certainly cast my vote for the lesser of 2 evils and continue to do what I have done since the 2004 election: Refuse to give my money to the DNC and the DCCC and tell them when they call us why they are not getting anymore of our money. I have also faxed and emailed them telling them why I refuse to give them another cent of our hard earned money. The Dems may not be that separated from the GOP in terms of policy, but the Dems know that they do not have the massive war chest that the GOP has, so if enough of us libs refused to fill their coffers, they might be forced to listen to our wishes and wants.

Jeff Richards said...

I disagree with the notion that the election of the Democrats represents no significant shift in US policy. I think there is a major shift underway, not towards something ‘better’ but unquestionably a shift. The United States has been defeated in Iraq, no question about that. The only way they could win would be to reintroduce the draft and start carpet-bombing belligerent Iraqi communities. It would take another 9/11 to do that! (Not impossible… Bin Laden is so useful!!!!). The consequences of this defeat are far reaching in historical and geopolitical terms. What would partition do, for example? Much has been made of talking to Iraq and Syria again… but what about Turkey, whose vast number of tanks, artillery, and army are ready to stomp on an independent Kurdistan. Washington is faced with a geopolitical emergency of its own making, and Washington elites are desperately trying to sort the problem out. Unilateralism, so much a part of the Cheney agenda, is down the toilet.

troutsky said...

Debord said this: "Once the running of the state involves a permanent and massive shortage of historical knowledge, that state can no longer be led strategically." Losing in Viet Nam, people could be convinced, was an aberration. Losing in Iraq, people have an uneasy sense that things are spinning out of control, they couldnt articulate it and there is no political way allowed to express it, but they keep having the curtain lifted to expose the sham which is US "democracy".This is the "terror" to which the "war" is just a flailing , existential lashing out.The Spectacle of voting just reinforces the absurdity of the whole predicament.

SecondComingOfBast said...

Bottom line, nothing was getting done, just constant shilling from both sides, and the American people by and large thought, since the Republicans control all three branches of government, maybe if we give the Democrats more power, maybe they will have to finally work together instead of the constant Republican domination, and it's resultant arrogance and corruption.

Jim Jepps said...

REN "Lieberman won because in the middle of the race, his opponent stopped talking about the war. His opponent was to the right of Lieberman on other issues."

I don't accept that Lieberman won because his opponent didn't push the war hard enough. Everyone knew why Lieberman was running as an independent - he was the pro-war democrat. So people had a clear choice pro- or anti war democrat - they chosse the pro-war candidate, they didn't just forget or think Lieberman's opponent had changed his mind.

IF they choose him because he was to the left on other issues it proves my point that the war was only one of many important issues and it is a good sign that many US voters think progressively on a number of issues not just the war. Hence Arnie's victory.