The votes are coming in and every indication points towards another presidency for Barack Obama and the Democrats. Without any last minute surprises that might put the Democrats’ victory in question, by now the Democrats should be preparing for another four years in power.
Many people will be relieved. The Republican Party campaign of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan has shown their absolute contempt for the population. They have shown that they think ordinary working people are to blame for their own problems. They have stated their goals – to cut taxes to the wealthy, to slash social programs, to cut environmental protections, and to attack unions. They have promised to extend U.S. military wars in the world, promising to increase the violence against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition they have hinted that they will roll back women’s rights to safe and legal abortion. The Republicans have shown nothing but arrogance towards the rest of us. Who would not be pleased with a defeat for Romney?
But a defeat for the Republicans won’t mean that we can rest easy. We’ve seen what happens with the Democratic Party in charge. All we have to do is look at the record of the Obama administration in the last four years. In 2008, the Democrats not only won the presidency but they also controlled both houses of Congress. In other words the last four years have been a test of what the Democrats have to offer.
What did Obama and the Democrats do with this power? They maintained the same policies as the Bush administration before them, and in fact they extended these policies. Between Bush and Obama, the Federal government has handed over three trillion dollars in bailouts to the big corporations and banks. In fact, most of that wealth was given to the banks and corporations during Obama’s presidency.
Meanwhile we have seen drastic cuts to social services, education, and all of the programs that we rely on. There are 48 out of 50 states with severe budget crises. In addition, 12 million people have lost their homes to foreclosures. The banks and corporations got bailed out but we didn’t.
Over the last four years, Obama and the Democrats’ record didn’t change a bit. The administration maintained Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. They used the budget crisis to cut funding for schools and hand education over to private corporations. Obama and the Democrats continued the wars against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, expanding these wars to increase the use of missile strikes by predator drones. Obama and the Democrats continued the wire-tapping and surveillance of U.S. citizens. And the Obama administration has deported more undocumented immigrants in four years than the Bush administration did in eight years. In addition, Obama and the Democrats have supported environmentally destructive oil and natural gas extraction, and refused to sign international treaties to limit the environmental crisis. With that kind of record, we know what we can expect from another Obama presidency – more of the same.
This election is just one more question of voting for which party will be in the white house as further attacks are carried out working people. We know from experience what the Republicans and the Democrats have in store for us. Last year, Republican governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin enacted legislation to destroy public sector unions. Thousands of people mobilized to stop this attack. What did Obama do to stop this attack? Nothing. Just last August teachers in Chicago went on strike to stop attacks on their wages and working conditions. What did Obama do? Nothing. In fact the mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, is a Democrat and a former member of Obama’s cabinet. Whether Republican or Democrat – workers are the ones expected to pay for this crisis.
After the elections, in every state in the country, major budget cuts will be underway. The politicians will begin to launch every piece of legislation that they have held in waiting until after the elections. And we know that we can expect no help from another Obama administration.
Nothing could be clearer – if we are going to fight back against the attacks which we know are coming, we will have to rely on ourselves.