Important election data

All of what we know about this election so far indicates that it was mostly a media-created, corporate financed coup.

From the moment a few old Republican Party activists started screaming obscenities at politicians during the healthcare struggle to the mammoth injections of hundreds of millions in corporate donations into Republican coffers, the right wing controlled media made American politics a circus in which the right dominated the message.

Simply put, claims that this election signaled a popular mandate for the Republicans or their agenda are ridiculous.

On the other hand, left-wing claims that the President should get militant and offer only the most progressive agenda imaginable – no matter how futile – seem to lack clear, long-term thinking.

Here are just some facts about the election and ways to move forward.

Progressive members of Congress survived the onslaught. While, for example, Reps. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., heroes of the left, were returned for two more years, more than half of the conservative Blue Dog caucus were wiped out. Indeed, one report on Daily Kos revealed that members of the Progressive Caucus in the House number almost two in five of the Democratic caucus.

It might be tempting to conclude that this means voters favor a progressive agenda, but the plain fact is that it really signals that much of electoral politics is fought out in the middle of the political spectrum. The easy conclusion that the return to a majority will come via a lurch to the left is mistaken. For the foreseeable future majorities will depend on center-left alliances, capturing moderate seats, and compromise policies.

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  • Thanks for this article. I think that the author is correct in looking at the electoral landscape nationally as a center-left landscape. The Republican gains in the last elections do not, in my view, represent a swing of sentiment in the electorate. It does reflect the ability to pull out more folks supporting Republican/Tea Party candidates to vote than Democrats could pull out.

    The article discusses what we should expect of the President. I would go a bit further. The President and the Congress are implementation bodies, they should not be allowed to lead the way, for many reasons. In particular, since our elected representatives are, for the most part, dependent on corporate funding and/or ideologically supportive of capitalist interests rather than the interests of working people, we need to think in terms of building a constituency for meeting the needs of working families with enough strength to pressure left-ward direction in the solutions implemented.

    For example, the domination of the health care reform process by the interests of capitalists and corporations (and their money) could only have been limited effectively by a strong countervaling pressure by the voices of working families for our concrete needs. The calculation that we needed to support whatever the President put forward, in that situation, was a disservice to any center-left hopes that the President might have for his supporting coalition, but was a disservice to working families whose needs are immediate and pressing and go way beyond the changes included in the reform passed.

    I would suggest that the progressives give voice to the concrete needs of working families and that we stop negotiating against ourselves by passively supporting the President's positions rather than trying to add our voices to defining those positions.

    A center left coalition needs a fighting left or it becomes a center-right coalition by default. Fighting for a strong and independent left (and anti-imperialist) voice would play a very positive role in the national political dialog, and contribute to building both the enthusiasm and the ground organization that will be required for the left to help keep President Obama in office in 2012.

    Finally, because of the class nature of the state, the domination of the state apparatus by capitalist and corporate interests and money, issue oriented struggles that express solutions outside the capitalist structures play an important role. Nationalizing health care is in fact the only way we are going to win universal affordable quality health care for the working people of the United States. Supporting intermediate goals should be done within the context of building a constituency for the real solution, which won't happen without a Communist Party USA (or other class conscious political party that advocates for the working class on the basis of Marxism/Leninism and international solidarity of all workers).

    Posted by Eric Brooks, 11/07/2010 9:35am (7 years ago)

  • You are correct to note that the right wing of the Democratic Party took a hammering while much of the left wing survived. But there are some points on which I am not sure I agree with you.

    1. You don't say anything about the all-important aspect of TURNOUT. Obama won and the Democrats advanced in 2008 because there was a much higher than usually turnout among young people, African Americans and Latinos and lower income people than is regularly the case. Was the turnout lower among those groups this time? From what I have seen, this may well have been the case. It is certainly the case with youth.
    2. If the Democrats turn to the right, what does this mean in terms of concrete policy? Who, among the people who expected help from the Democrats in 2008 and feel (rightly or wrongly) that they didn't get it, gets thrown to the sharks?
    3. If the Democrats move to the right, what will be the impact on turnout within the group who came out in 2008, on the 2012 elections? Will the impact not be to reduce the turnout even more?

    Posted by Emile Schepers, 11/06/2010 9:32pm (7 years ago)

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