Neither Haley nor Biden Will Save Us

As the mainstream media has focused their attention on the horse race of the early Republican primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire, they and their talking-heads and opinion writers have desperately clung to the hope that someone will come along to save us from Trump.

In recent months, wealthy Republicans and even many rank-and-file Republicans have pinned their hopes on Nikki Haley. The elites of the Democratic Party and many ordinary Democrats have also been hoping that Haley will knock Trump out of his top spot, but are otherwise clinging to Biden, hoping that he will manage to defeat Trump in the general election. Some rank-and-file Democrats are desperately hoping that a new candidate will magically surge forward to provide an alternative to Biden, and many progressive and younger activists will either sit the election out or possibly vote for Cornel West or Jill Stein. 

But none of those candidates or options will save us from the rising right wing that has coalesced around Trump. That’s because the two-party system and the mass media have an iron grip on presidential politics. Trump likes to present himself as an outsider – and many people respond to that. But he is a billionaire and certainly cares nothing for ordinary peoples’ lives; he cares only for their votes.

The rage-filled people who populate the Trump movement are responding with fury to the effects that capitalism is having on their lives and the society around them. They’ve seen factories close and thousands lose decent paying jobs. They’ve seen friends lost to poverty, homelessness, drug use, prison, and “deaths of despair.” If they’re small business owners, they’re likely struggling to stay alive, squeezed between the needs of their workers and the power of the big capitalists who squeeze them from above. They see their tax dollars spent on endless wars or policies that only benefit Elon Musk, or Alphabet (the parent company of Google), or Raytheon, or ExxonMobil. And they are bombarded with propaganda from capitalist-owned media outlets, whether “liberal” outlets that generally support Democrats or reactionary outlets that foment hatred and spread outright myths and lies.

None of the well-known candidates will directly challenge the capitalist system that drives most of the problems we face in our daily lives. In fact, they will only perpetuate the suffering and insanity created by capitalism that allows the right wing to grow even more. With no revolutionary alternative favoring working people and all victims of oppression, those struggling millions will continue to gravitate towards the person who expresses their rage toward a system that they can’t control but that shapes their lives.

None of the Democrat or Republican candidates or elected officials can substitute for a mass movement of working people on a large enough scale to stand up to that reactionary system. Only working-class people, the vast majority of society, can represent their own interests, only working-class people can organize widely enough, and only working-class people can build a mass movement large enough and strong enough to win people back from Trump’s delusions and actually stand up to reaction and defeat it. Working people need a revolutionary alternative that can offer the real change that millions want, including many Trump supporters.

We need to build that movement now. The far right is dynamic and surging. We have no time to waste.