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What can Latinos expect from the presidential elections of 2016?

for the Editors  |  Issue: September | October 2016

This electoral campaign reveals an unprecedented crisis and splits within the established Democratic and Republican parties. We have two of the most unpopular establishment candidates ever to choose from. Additionally, Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein are getting unprecedented coverage due to popular dissatisfaction with the establishment candidates.

On one hand stands Donald Trump, the Republican Party nominee, a candidate so vicious and hateful that even his own party can’t unite in supporting him. He promises to deport 11 million “Mexicans,” build a border wall that Mexico will pay for, and attacks even a U.S.-born Mexican American judge, claiming he could never get a fair trial over his Trump University scandal. He directs the blame for the rapidly declining standard of living of the American working class onto minorities, immigrants, and anyone who disagrees with him.

Then there is Hillary Clinton, the first woman ever chosen as Democratic Party nominee. She is still reeling from her own scandals over security breaches. She is closely identified with the Democratic Party establishment that has moved from people’s issues and is more responsive to Wall Street. It was revealed that she had received half a million dollars for speaking to Wall Street firms and that she promised not to go against their interests if elected. Some major conservative Republican politicians have openly supported her, favoring her policies over Trump’s.

All but silenced now, Bernie Sanders’ candidacy for the Democratic Party presidential nomination had unleashed a torrent of support for jobs, education, debt relief, housing, healthcare, and a clean environment — as opposed to government support for billionaires and corporations. The Sanders campaign forced Hillary to give lip service to people’s concerns. Included in this was her promise to deal with immigration reform within her first 100 days. Unfortunately, Barack Obama made the same promise and did not deliver, not even in eight years.

So here we are again, faced with the usual strategy of supporting the “lesser of two evils.” Many will say that we should defeat Trump at all costs. Certainly a victory for Hillary seems to buy us time to promote our interests, such as immigration reform. We shouldn’t be fooled. Both Republicans and Democrats ensure that government benefits the corporations at our expense. They only differ in how to implement their goals.

This economic system is dying because it’s based on people having jobs, but the jobs are being eliminated by labor-replacing technology. No business is going to employ workers if a robot or computer can do the work more quickly and cheaply. They don’t need us anymore. And they won’t feed us. They are removing our rights, even those enshrined in the Bill of Rights, because it suits their interests.

Those discarded by the system as being no longer of use, and those forced to immigrate here, share a common cause. America will no longer offer the promise of peace, abundance, and happiness if we do not act quickly. We need political independence for our class, both U.S.-born and immigrant, to make this vision a reality.

The Bernie Sanders campaign showed us the way, if only for a moment. Its emasculation at the convention demonstrated that we ultimately need to go outside the Democratic Party. The momentum that the Green Party with Jill Stein has captured in the wake of the sidelining of Sanders inspires revolutionaries to continue the fight. Whether it be the Green Party or another third party, only the fight for political independence will guarantee an America governed by and for the people.

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