Wednesday, October 27, 2010

5 days until the election

It looks now as if  the Democrats will lose the House, and they may lose the Senate. In either case, most of the limited progress we have seen will stop.  Anti immigrant forces are mobilizing in Arizona and some 20 other states.  See Arizona's law SB 1070. The current governor- who was not elected as governor, was well behind in the polls. She polled at less than 40%.  Then she began her anti immigrant rants and promoting SB 1070.  She now has an over 60% support. 
Anti Mexican racism works.  Here is how it happened in California in 1994.
 "In the Summer of 1993, a failing economy and governmental retrenchment combined to make Governor Pete Wilson the most unpopular governor in recent history.  By November of 1994 Wilson won re-election with over 56% of the vote.  Two factors combined to deliver victory to Wilson; a mean spirited, divisive, and racist campaign directed against Mexican and Mexican Americans, and an inept campaign by Democratic Candidate Kathleen Brown.
    In 1994 The voters of California voted 62% to 38% in favor of Proposition 187, the Save Our State initiative to restrict illegal immigration.  A number of groups including FAIR, the Republican Party, and the Perot organization worked together to qualify the initiative.

    In 1994 California has a population that is 56.3 % White, 26.3 % Latino, 9.4% Asian, 7.4 % African American, and 0.6% other.  However, according to exit polls, the voters in this election were 80% white, 9% Latino, 7 % African American, and 4 % Asian. Exit polls show that Latinos voted against Prop. 187 by 3 to 1, African Americans split their vote 50 -50, and the Anglo electorate passed the proposition by over 60%." From Our Struggle/Nuestra Lucha.  Vol.13. No. 1. Winter 1995.
            There are several good posts on the Arizona dispute on this site;
Over 20 states currently have bills similar to Arizona SB 1070.  The Republicans are using this just as they used Gay bashing in prior elections.
So, the Democrats may well lose.  That is, the Democrats will lose – not DSA. But a Democratic loss will cause great pain.
I have been through these kinds of elections before.   1972; Nixon v. McGovern. Several elections of Ronald Reagan in California.  1980 Reagan for President. And 1984.  2000 George Bush, 2004, George Bush.
Here is my assessment of the Obama Administration.
The economic crisis was caused by finance capital and  the stimulus was too small.  It was small because that is all they could get through the Senate.   But, the stimulus  was still the biggest jobs bill in U.S. history, and the biggest investment in public goods (schools, teachers, roads, bridges, clean energy, firefighters, cops, etc.). The health care bill has big flaws, including the lack of a public option. We should have gone for Single Payer to save money and to improve the system.  But, Single Payer could not get through the Senate- it didn’t even pass the House.  Obama and the Democrats  succeeded at extending health  coverage to virtually everyone and reining in major insurance abuses (on pre-existing conditions, lifetime caps, etc.) . Every  prior Democratic president for almost 60 years had tried and failed.
The financial reform bill is a good start. There were very significant victories in reigning in the financial sector, and the Administration moved toward more  financial regulation .  ( See my essay “The best way to rob a bank is to own one.” In the recent D.L> ) The financial reform bill should have been stronger, re-implementing Glass-Steagall type protection, but the Republican Senators would not permit it, and they would not permit a vote on it.

The federal budgets Obama submitted have been the most progressive in decades . Progressives  won a major victory on, and expansion of, the student loan program for college students. Tobacco is regulated by the FDA for the first time. The Lilly Leadbetter  Equal Pay law got passed, S-CHIP got expanded, the hate crimes bill got signed.  And, Obama has  pushed for other big legislation on climate change, and more jobs programs.  And, U.S. combat forces are leaving Iraq.
Last week the Senate and the House passed, and President Obama signed an additional stimulus of 26 billion dollars to fund teachers, Medicaid, and public service jobs.  (see posts below) None of this would have happened if the Senate were in Republican hands.
 We are now entering another slow down of the economy.  This slow down was caused by the Republicans refusal to pass additional stimulus money for jobs, health care, and public works.
The Obama Administration has provided  a moderate, centrist government.  To me, the major failure has been the continuation of U.S. policy of imperialism and hegemony in the world.  This policy is most clearly revealed in the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but also clearly visible in Honduras , Columbia, and other areas.  There is no major political party nor candidate opposing US imperialism and global domination.  The Administration has also failed in educational policy working with Arne Duncan  where they have extended and accelerated Bush policies.
 There is much more on this on my blog at
MY question. What is the role of a democratic left, of a democratic socialist organization in this situation?
Duane Campbell.

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