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2016: An Election Like No Other

Tribuno Del Pueblo  |  Issue: December | January 2017
protests against President-elect Donald Trump

NEW YORK CITY – “He’s not my president!” It was the motto of thousands who protested against President-elect Donald Trump.
PHOTO: Jeremy Liebman


The U.S. has entered a political crisis.

The oligarchy is attempting to divide us.

We can win only if we unite.

“Not my president!” With this slogan, thousands of people from New York to California, Minnesota to Texas — men and women, young and old, Latino, African American, and Anglo —have taken to the streets to protest Donald Trump’s winning the presidency.

Truth be told, if Hillary Clinton had won, we would also have seen thousands protesting.

There’s no question that Trump is a racist and that he ran a racist campaign. He used the old ruling-class tactic of race-baiting to divide and conquer the workers.

He promised, “The jobs will come back,” and then he promised to build a wall on the Mexico-U.S. border to stop Mexican “criminals” from crossing into the country. Trump promised deportation of immigrants without papers, and he promised to rescind President Obama’s executive order that affects the Dreamers.

Trump told U.S. workers that undocumented immigrants are to blame for their joblessness and economic insecurity. Some workers, including Latinos, fell for his lie.

What did Hillary Clinton offer? She offered protection for the Wall Street elites — and war — but she offered nothing to workers who are hurting and struggling to feed their families. To the Latino population she offered hope on immigration reform. But 5 million immigrants have been deported under Obama, another Democrat who made the same promises.

This year’s elections have shown that the country is at the beginning of a full-blown political crisis — a recognition that society has become divided into two distinct groups with different economic and political interests.

Those two groups are the tiny Wall Street oligarchy that owns most of the mines, mills, farms, and factories, and the great majority of common people — the workers — who for generations have labored to produce our wealth.

The political crisis evident in this year’s elections shows that the country can no longer be ruled the old way. According to Pew Research polls, “Fewer than 3 in 10 Americans have expressed trust in the federal government in every major national poll conducted since July 2007 – the longest period of low trust in government in more than 50 years.”

The workers’ trust in the oligarchy’s two-party system is beginning to wane. For example, about 90 million registered voters (43%) did not vote in the presidential election at all. Some voters were just apathetic, but a great many felt that neither candidate represented their interests, and they couldn’t hold their noses and vote for either one.

Trump and Clinton each received only about 60 million votes. One-third of those who voted cast their ballots not so much for Clinton or Trump as against the other candidate.

People are hurting in both red and blue states. Their jobs have disappeared. The lucky ones are scraping by with minimum-wage employment to feed their families.

Neither Trump nor Clinton had a real program for jobs for the workers in this new economy.

Neither of them spoke about the effects of the new robotic technology that no longer requires human labor. Go to any auto plant in America, or around the globe, and you will see more robots than humans. Go to any Amazon warehouse or UPS facility, and you will see that human workers are scarce.

This process began decades ago and is now accelerating exponentially. Driverless trucks now deliver beer in Colorado, and the jobs of three million truck drivers are in peril. The high-tech revolution is not going away, and the jobs are not “coming back.”

So the billionaires must keep the workers from perceiving their common poverty and seeing who their real enemy is. The rulers must keep the workers from uniting as a class, the working class.

Going forward means recognizing the racial divide among the workers that Trump is trying to widen. Particularly in the Latino community, Trump’s program to build the wall, deport millions of immigrants, and do away with Obama’s executive orders such as DACA and DAPA is having its effect.

But, difficult as it will be, workers will have to unite — based on our own class interests — if we are going to win this fight and build a world we can live in. If our families are going to have a future, it will be up to us to secure it — together.

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