Socialist Worker

More struggle urgently needed after US elections

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2630

Higher turnout saw long waits to vote - three hours at this Atlanta polling place

Higher turnout saw long waits to vote - three hours at this Atlanta polling place


The results of the United States mid-term elections saw both the Democrat and Republican parties claiming victory.

The Democrats won a majority in the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years.

But the Republicans increased their majority in the Senate.

That’s partly because of the absurd and unfair electoral system that gives every state, whatever its population, two seats in the Senate. The overall vote for the Senate was 55 percent for the Democrats and 43 percent for the Republicans. But the Republicans won extra seats.

The US Congress is made up of two bodies—435 representatives in the House, and 100 senators in the Senate.  The Senate has to agree to any laws put forward by the House.

Democratic dominance in the House will make it harder for Trump to pass laws—although he will continue to try to do so through executive orders that by-pass Congress.

The Senate also confirms judicial appointments, meaning Trump can further entrench his control of key legal posts.

Democrats will also seek to use the House majority to launch investigations into Trump’s tax records, other aspects of his shady business affairs, and alleged links with Russia.

Facing that prospect Trump responded, “If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level.

“Two can play that game” he said.

Alternative

A higher voter turnout in many areas and some advances for the Democrats are positive signs that people rejected Trump. But the Democrats offer no real alternative. 

Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats House leader, used her victory speech to call for a “bipartisan marketplace of ideas that makes our democracy strong. We have all had enough with division.”

Working with Trump and the Republicans is the last thing that’s needed. There needs to be a remorseless assault on his racist, anti-worker, women-hating regime. There needs to be more division with Trump, not less.

The elections saw a record number of women enter the House—including the first Muslim and Native American women to be elected.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a supporter of the Democratic Socialists of America, was elected as a Democrat to the House, the youngest ever person elected to Congress.

But the party’s leaders are a corporate cabal and it is still the second party of US capitalism. 

Referendum

A piece of good news was that in a Florida referendum a constitutional amendment to abolish Florida’s policy of imposing a lifetime voting ban on anyone with a felony conviction, was passed by 64 percent to 36 percent.

This will allow nearly 1.5 million people, nearly half of them African-American, to regain voting rights.

However, Arkansas and North Carolina voted to pass voter ID laws that discriminate against minorities and are arbitrarily enforced. A federal court said a past version of North Carolina's law targets African Americans "with almost surgical precision."

And Trump will think he could still be on course for a second run at the president in 2020. He boosted the republican vote in areas where he did rallies, whipping up a racist frenzy and boosting turnout among some sections of voters.

The Democrats did poorly in some states that Barack Obama won twice but Trump won in 2016.

Trump won’t be stopped by manoeuvres in Congress or the politics of the Democrats. The feeling against him has to be focused by action building on the wave of teachers’ strikes, the protests against the Muslim ban, and the action against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.


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