How has Donald Trump, a thuggish racist billionaire who boasted of sexual assaults on women, won the US presidency? It is a result that sends shockwaves across the world. It must be met by increased resistance.
Clinton was the choice of the bankers, big business and most of the military establishment. She was hit hard by revelations about her richly rewarded speeches to closed audiences of bankers where she peddled cynical views about politics.
When, on the eve of the election, the FBI announced that it was not pursuing criminal charges over Clinton’s emails, the main stock index soared. When last night there were indications that Trump had won, the financial markets slumped.
Clinton, with her message that the US was “already great” was the worst candidate for a time when tens of millions of people are bitter, angry and frightened about decades of rampant inequality, falling living standards and unending wars abroad.
The era of the richest 1 percent stuffing their pockets has left its mark. Polls showed 53 percent of urban respondents, 63 percent of suburban and 71 percent of rural respondents said they believed the economy was on the wrong track.
An ABC News exit poll asked people what qualities they looked for in a candidate. The biggest factor (38 percent) said it was someone who can “bring about needed change”. Among Trump supporters, it was nearly all about change.
The era of the richest 1 percent stuffing their pockets has left its mark
It is perfectly possible that if Bernie Sanders had stood as the Democrat candidate then he would have beaten Trump. Sanders, who ran in the primaries as a “democratic socialist” and called for a “political revolution” could offer change. Clinton could not.
She did not even mobilise black and Latino voters in the numbers that had been anticipated. One poll showed Trump won more Latino voters that the Republicans grabbed last time.
CNN said millions of voters who supported Obama before voted for Trump this time.
Trump is the enemy of working class people. His main economic pledge was a massive tax cut for the richest people in society and the corporations. His scapegoating of Muslims and Mexican migrants emboldens racists and divides workers when they need to unite.
The racism that has been the common message of both the major parties, was a powerful factor fueling Trump’s vote. But his win does not mean the US has been swept by racism.
Crucial to Trump’s victory were his wins in Ohio and Iowa. Barack Obama won all of these twice, suggesting that voters there are not hard racists. The Republicans have not won Michigan since 1988. Trump won there last night.
US workers will need to mobilise and organise against racism, attacks on their living standards and war. They will have to build on the hope that has come from recent strikes, the campaigns against oil pipelines, the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight for $15 an hour minimum wage.
This is a time of economic and political crisis globally. Mainstream pro-capitalist politics create a space that can be filled by fake outsiders like Trump.
Defending the status quo is not the way forward. The left has to offer its own programme of change, hope and anger against the establishment.
The Democrats offered—and still offer—no effective alternative to Trump. It is only struggle that will stop him, and those struggles must also produce a socialist political alternative to the capitalist parties.