Even though the winner of the presidential election hasn’t been officially determined yet, and who knows what is in store for the coming days, it’s clear that the country is very divided, and people have many things to be angry and worried about.
Whether it’s getting sick or dying from the coronavirus as next to nothing has been done to contain it. Or the fear of millions of workers who have lost their jobs and their livelihoods with no idea of when they will find work again. Or the tens of millions of people facing eviction in the upcoming months. Or the millions of families who are struggling to find their next meal right now.
Or it’s the tens of millions of young people, facing an insecure future, drowning in debt and increasingly anxious about our planet being destroyed by corporations. Or the poisonous racism of this society against Black and brown people that fuels the violence of the police and in poor neighborhoods.
Yes, people are angry, nervous and stressed out about what the future will bring. And elections are a time when politicians from both parties play on that anger and fear as they make false promises about how they will fix things for us.
Trump has been able to tap into that fear, ramp it up, and direct it, often fueling the deep-seated racism of this society. He has played on people’s fears of violence, and blamed it on protests against racist police. He has tried to redirect people’s fears about losing their jobs and blamed it on immigrants. As the economy has come crashing down, Trump has tried to blame scientists and health experts for exaggerating the seriousness of the virus and warped it into a complete rejection of science. It doesn’t matter if it is a total distortion of reality. For many people it has worked – for now – because it connects to their real fears.
Meanwhile, Biden has staked his election on contrasting himself to Trump. Biden promised to contain the virus, fix the economy, combat racism, save the environment and more. If elected, he might be able to change some of Trump’s policies. He certainly wouldn’t openly promote racist ideas or just dismiss scientists and health experts like Trump has.
But Biden has been a Democratic politician for 47 years, and for 47 years he has been saying one thing and doing another – Trump has only had three years to do that. Biden has spent nearly five decades defending banks and corporations at the expense of working people. He has talked about saving the environment as the Obama administration helped expand the use of fossil fuels. He has promised to defend immigrants but the Obama administration deported more undocumented immigrants than any other administration. And though Biden has promised to fight for working people, the Obama administration gave trillions of dollars to banks and corporations as they laid off millions of workers and kicked millions of families out of their homes.
The truth is, they can promise all they want, but neither of them are on our side. They both play on our anger and our fears, trying to get us to count on them to change things. Trump and Biden may have their differences, but they both defend this system of capitalism, which profits off the labor of working people and is responsible for the problems we face today.
This election has highlighted the differences that are on the surface. But if we look deeper, we can see that working people, the vast majority of this society and the world, have a lot more in common with each other than with any of these politicians.
Soon this election will finally be over, but the problems will remain. And what will we do? Collectively, the working class holds a tremendous power to change this whole society if we come together. But in order to tap into that power, we have to have confidence in ourselves – not the politicians – to be able to mobilize our forces to bring about the changes we need.
Regardless of who ends up in the White House, what happens next is up to us.