Once again, the U.S. two-party system has left us with two horrible choices.
Playing on people’s fear and resentment over acute social and economic problems, bombastic bigot Donald Trump has positioned himself as an anti-establishment populist. But he is an enemy, not a friend of the people – a braggart about his sexual assaults and an inciter of violence against Muslims, journalists, and whatever group is the current target of his poisonous diatribes. He has made himself the focal point for a dangerous right-wing movement that could end up laying the ground for fascism.
Thus, the pressure to vote for Hillary Clinton as the “anybody but Trump” candidate is tremendous. And Clinton’s bid for the presidency is a historic one, which she promotes largely with claims to be an advocate for women and children. However, her record and her party’s record show that these claims are false, as are her other promises to workers and oppressed people.
While her husband was in office, Clinton supported the destruction of welfare, the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, and racist crime bills that led to the largest increase in incarceration under any president in history. During the years she served as the only woman on Walmart’s Board of Directors, she did nothing while the company waged war on attempts to unionize its employees, many of them on food stamps. As Secretary of State, she was responsible for much of the suffering internationally caused by U.S. wars, occupations, and trade policies. And these examples barely scratch the surface of her pro-corporate credentials.
As a feminist organization, the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) abhors the sexism against Clinton, including Trump’s misogynist bullying. But there’s no way we could support her for president. The truth is that the “lesser evil” is a myth and a scam, one that keeps the country’s people trapped in a downward spiral as the Democrats and Republicans both keep moving rightward. The most effective vote in November is a protest vote — and, fortunately, there are socialist candidates running who are well worth supporting.
Cast Your Ballot for Working-Class Champions Who Stand for Real Change
FSP is offering critical support to Socialist Action (SA) write-in candidates Jeff Mackler for president and Karen Schraufnagel for vice president. Their far-reaching platform includes abolishing the U.S. war machine; getting rid of racist, sexist and homophobic laws and practices; providing amnesty and equal rights for all immigrants; and defending labor. However, FSP is critical of such things as SA’s opportunism in the anti-war movement, where it has opposed taking an anti-capitalist stand, and its position on Syria, which underestimates the role of genuine popular revolt there.
SA’s Syria position comes close to that of two groups whose candidates FSP is not recommending, Workers World Party and Party for Socialism and Liberation, which go farther than SA by supporting dictator Assad on the false grounds that he is “anti-imperialist.”
The Socialist Party (SP) and Socialist Workers Party are also fielding candidates, but their programs suffer in comparison to Socialist Action’s — and, in SP’s case, their electoral representatives don’t seem bound to a party platform in any case.
The Bernie Sanders campaign raised important reforms and the earnest hopes of many supporters. At bottom, however, it was never more than a vehicle for the Democratic Party to hold on to progressive voters. Now some Sanders enthusiasts are turning to Jill Stein of the Green Party. But Stein’s solutions — like making “Wall Street, big corporations, and the rich pay their fair share of taxes” — are a pallid answer to a fundamental crisis of the profit system.
The Libertarian Party of Gary Johnson, meanwhile, attracts interest because it purports to stand for individual freedoms, but its basic support is for the capitalist freedom to exploit without fetters of any kind.
It’s Time for an Independent Labor Party
Whoever wins the election, everyday people are in for a continued rough ride, with fights looming against everything from union-busting to environmental despoliation and killings by police.
Our fights should include ending the two-party lockdown of U.S. elections. We need reforms that would give minor parties a chance — changes like eliminating the myriad of restrictive ballot access laws (see Seven steps for ballot access reform) and instituting instant-runoff voting and proportional representation.
These reforms would help to make possible what we need more than ever — the development of a mass anti-capitalist party that truly represents the working class, especially its lowest-paid and most-abused members. An independent labor party based in the unions, but representing both organized and unorganized workers, could fight in the here and now for things like full employment and universal, not-for-profit healthcare. It could also be a huge step toward upending the whole exploitative system that depends on this two-party scam for its survival.
Enough of the trap of “lesser-evil” voting!