The following is an updated analysis of the 2016 election coming on the heels of Trump’s nomination and Bernie Sanders loss to Hillary Clinton. This was presented at a recent book talk.
That the 2016 election presents a complex political situation is an understatement to say the least. As such it calls for a sophisticated analysis and equally sophisticated tactics, communications and approaches. Most left and progressive analyses I think falls short in this regard. I won’t go into specifics, but it ranges from sectarian responses to the Democratic Party and the nomination of Clinton to an approach that misleads people into thinking the Democratic Party can become a vehicle for a “political revolution.”
Realities and opportunities
A reality is that Bernie supporters in critical swing states may face a choice to vote for Clinton in the general election or risk Trump winning. Discontent with Clinton and the party establishment leaves many Sanders supporters ambivalent or reluctant to cast a vote for Hillary.
Continue reading After Bernie: A pragmatic left perspective on the 2016 election
Missing ingredients of Sanders’ political revolution
A strategy to elect a new congress
A call for a bold new foreign policy
February 12, 2016, Wayne A. Nealis
There has been much talk lately of Bernie Sanders leading a progressive realignment of American politics. Indeed public support for Sanders’ domestic program such as free post-secondary education, paid parental leave and single payer health care represent the political criteria necessary for such a shift. The groundswell Sanders triggered expresses the desire of tens of millions of Americans for far-reaching change.
2016 elections: realities and opportunities
A mass movement approach
Risking a Trump presidency would be to fail those most in need
Dozens of plans to keep the Bern burning “after Bernie” are jogging across the Internet of late. Many are liberal diversions intended to keep a lid on the discontent Bernie ignited and coopt it into the orbit of the Democratic Party. Others suggest forming yet another progressive pressure group with the futile mission of reforming the Democratic Party.
Organizing an offensive from the 2016 election
Toward a people’s program for a peaceful foreign policy, racial justice and economic security
Understanding the Trump vote to build working class unity
By Wayne A. Nealis, November 12, 2016
As the likelihood of a Trump victory settled in election night my thoughts turned to those most vulnerable to the reactionary rhetoric on which he built his campaign. My immediate concern is for my immigrant friends, whose family members and neighbors fear Trump’s call for mass deportations in 2017. I also worry that Muslim residents of my city and state will see an increase in verbal and physical attacks. The potential for police violence to escalate against black Americans as law enforcement officers feel emboldened by Trump’s call for law and order is yet another concern. And of course I’m concerned for women, especially women of color, who will now feel more vulnerable as an abuser of women assumes the presidency.
On another level, I am concerned by rhetoric blaming and disparaging white industrial workers, who by big margins sided with Trump, will create a more divisive political climate. Recall that over 52 percent of white college graduates cast a Trump vote.
On the issue of trade agreements white industrial workers made a rational, self-interested choice. Their Trump vote was a resounding protest vote against both parties support for free trade agreements. Obama’s promotion of the Tran Pacific Partnership (TPP), Hillary’s late reversal on TPP and President Bill Clinton’s betrayal of labor on NAFTA played into Trump’s appeal. Obamacare, another neo-liberal, market-based solution also drove anti-establishment votes against Clinton.
The establishments of both parties have ignored the fears, discontent and declining living standards in rust belt states. These workers feel their hard work is undervalued by those who benefit the most from the new high-tech, service economy. Any new emerging political left-of-center coalition must reach across this political and class/occupational gap with programmatic solutions to these workers’ legitimate grievances in order build bridges for political understanding.
Before and after the election task is the same
To build a broad people’s party of, by and for the interests of our diverse working class in order to forge a future of economic security, peace and racial justice
“The strategic dilemma of the times is not who wins the contest between the Democratic and Republican parties, but how to respond to the yearning of the American people for a different kind of politics that neither party will offer or is capable of offering.” From my 2014 essay, “Occupy the 2016 election and beyond.”
By Wayne Nealis, March 2017
The Trump administration’s actions have unleashed a surge of counter-demonstrations and grassroots political activity unlike any since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Local protests in a hundred plus cities in support of immigrants and in opposition to Trump’s travel ban are unprecedented in size and spontaneity. The million-person women’s march on Washington D.C. a day after Trump’s inauguration was a resounding rebuff to his reactionary thinking about women’s equality and reproductive rights. Hundreds of thousands more rallied in cities around nation and worldwide totaling more than five million.
Independent working class politics in 2018
Fielding 50 congressional candidates for peace, economic security and racial justice
The political landscape after 2016 election:
- A shrinking Democratic Party
- Trump’s GOP: a coalition of warring partners
- The no longer so Grand Old Party
- Sanders’s Our Revolution
- Tens of millions waiting for a real alternative!
In the short time since Trump was elected and inaugurated the Democratic Party establishment as exemplified by the people around the Clintons’ and Obama shows it did not learn the lesson of 2016. Many of its former and current constituents rejected the establishment leadership. They are looking for alternatives. In 2016, voters en masse deserted the party for a new kind of politics they found either in Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders or a little of both. Continue reading
After, or with Bernie, the task remains the same
Building a people’s opposition to the two parties of capitalism
The Bern for Bernie has become much more than a campaign for the nomination. By giving a voice to the widespread discontent in America it is challenging both the GOP’s rightwing politics and the neo-liberal, corporate politics of the Democratic Party. This grassroots upsurge has the billionaire class and their political representatives in both major parties worried. What worries them most, however, is that the politics behind Bernie could coalesce into an independent political movement to challenge the two-party system they control. Continue reading