Sanders Beats Trump
US politics The democratic field of presidential candidates is larger and more feminine this time. But 2020 suddenly seems like 2016: the Democrats underestimate Trump. Again
by savinh0 | Community 26
[This article published on Jan 30, 2020 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.freitag.de.]
For Donald Trump everything could go back to the way it was in the last election
Every year is different, I know. But a short review in 2016 can't hurt. Back then, for example, the Guardian wrote: "Trump won't win". Or left-wing The Nation magazine, "Relax, Donald Trump can't win." Welt.de was also amazed at how Trump was able to win at all.
But it's the year 2020 and he has no chance of being re-elected, right? Yes, yes. Donald Trump is the favourite for re-election when the 46th President of the United States is elected in November. And there are several reasons.
But the main reason is certainly the weakness of his political opponents and the media coverage of him.
The Democrats in 2020 are like 2016: see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing - like the three monkeys.
But everything in sequence.
The Democrats underestimated Trump as early as 2016, when Hillary Clinton, for example, as the then presidential candidate, bet her campaign on an opponent Trump because the belief prevailed that Trump would be easier to defeat than other Republicans. This was referred to as the pied piper strategy, which relied on candidates like Trump with extreme positions. But the belief that these were easier to beat proved to be false.
But it did not stop there.
A second mistake, for which Clinton was largely responsible, was certainly that of the wrong campaign strategy and the selection of its personnel: Vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine was not only a center-right politician without any charisma, but also far too far from the Democratic base in terms of content. This is also demonstrated by the topics that are particularly popular with democratic voters. He is not in favour of a so-called Medicare-for-all system, i.e. general health insurance based on the European model, nor of an end to military operations abroad. He also voted in favour of a faster voting procedure on the controversial TPP trade agreement, which would have given multinationals extensive powers in trade law and further curtailed workers' rights. He also agreed with Trump's positions in 30 percent of the votes so far. Sanders, as another example, is only 13 percent.
Clinton refrained from focusing his campaign on the particularly important Rustbelt states, which were decisive for the outcome of the election by their electors: Wisconsin, Michigan or even Pennsylvania. This arrogance of power proved fatal to their chances of winning the election.
Of course it also played a role that Clinton was the most unpopular presidential candidate of all time - after Trump.
But now to look at the present: 2020 feels like a replay of the 2016 election campaign. The Democratic Party and its candidates are making the same mistakes as they did then, the media are getting upset by Trump's tweets, and the economic elites continue to benefit from the inequality of the political system, which according to the latest figures has created the greatest income inequality in the US since records began.
Surveys of republicans, Democrats and independents alike show that issues such as universal health insurance, free college education and a higher minimum wage are becoming increasingly popular across all walks of life and national boundaries.
Democrats lose the overview
But instead of the Democrats focusing on it, or denouncing Trump's policies, courting tax breaks for the rich, or cutting more and more people off from the health insurance system, all eyes are on the impeachment proceedings in the Senate. The question of whether Trump was acting illegally when he made military support dependent on campaign assistance against political opponents leads to a simple answer: Of course the conduct was illegal. However, the Democrats' strategy is a completely wrong one: why, for example, do the Democrats not focus on Trump's illegal war in Yemen that was not sanctioned by Congress?
Trump has had several hundred thousand dollars of Saudi funds funneled through his hotel in Washington, D.C. and then approved arms shipments of record value to the Saudi royal family? This smells like Emoluments Clause offences, which states in the US Constitution that no president may accept gifts or amenities from foreign countries.
Or, if impeachment proceedings are underway, why not take a look at his hush money, which he has paid to several women to settle investigations. Instead, the Democrats are going all in on the Biden affair, even though it is obvious that Joe Biden's son only got the highly paid job in Ukraine because his father was then vice president of the United States.
Democratic candidates such as Biden or Pete Buttigieg focus their election campaign entirely on Trump. According to the motto: if Trump disappears, the problems disappear from the country. Amy Klobuchar or Elizabeth Warren argue that they are the best candidates because they belong to a different gender. Kirsten Gillibrand or even Hillary Clinton have shown that Americans do not want an identity policy. For often the use of gender serves only one purpose: to cover up the emptiness of content.
But the media, above all the country's major private television stations such as CNN, MSNBC or CNBC, do not know what the concept of the control function in journalism actually means between impeachment proceedings and mean words from the president. The grandiose economy that Trump always praises offers room for criticism and a target for attack by both the Democrats and the media. Yet this space is not used; either because there is no interest or because it is not recognised.
Bernie Sanders can beat Trump
See nothing, hear nothing, say nothing: the Democrats and the media behave like the three monkeys who don't want to hear anything from their surroundings and therefore close themselves off from the truth. But it is as it is: Trump is the favourite for re-election in autumn. And a look at the Democratic candidate field shows that there is only one candidate who can challenge Trump. Strangely enough, this is a 79-year-old white Democratic Socialist from a mini state on the East Coast: Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont. Why Bernie Sanders and not Joe Biden, Buttigieg or Elizabeth Warren?
Not only is Bernie Sanders the most popular politician in the USA according to surveys. He also combines all the strengths that all the other candidates don't have and also has no obvious weaknesses like the others.
Sanders already marched in Washington in the 1960s with Martin Luther King and, moreover, for decades he has represented the same progressive positions that have now found their way into the mainstream of American politics. He has also collected most of the small donations in the previous election campaign and most volunteers who support his grassroots movement. Unlike Joe Biden or even then Clinton, he has neither voted or campaigned for the Iraq war nor for neoliberal trade agreements such as NAFTA or TPP. This has been especially fatal to Clinton in 2016, when Trump repeatedly attacked her with it and cost her votes in the Rust Belt.
Sanders is also particularly strong in this part of the country, where the former steel and coal industry has suffered particularly from the policies of recent decades: Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio. Sanders not only won the 2016 primary elections in Michigan, Wisconsin or Kentucky and West Virginia, but his positions best reflect the needs of the local population.
Joe Biden, with his conservative, status quo and center-right policies, is a candidate of the past, just like Clinton. Pete Buttigieg offers no real substantive positions, apart from a youthful appearance and empty phrases, which could attract especially lost voters back to the polls. He is also supported by large corporations and billionaires. Elizabeth Warren's price swings in recent weeks on issues such as general health insurance or her numerous lies of the past prove that she is an untrustworthy and vulnerable candidate. As can be read in more detail in the article in Current Affairs, she has claimed, among other things, that she did not accept funds from corporations and major donors for her presidential campaign, even though she simply channeled such funds from her Senate campaign into her presidential campaign.
Class politics vs. oligarchy
The conclusion is therefore that the following should be noted: Yes, Trump is the frontrunner for re-election. He can continue to attack all democrats except Sanders with trade agreements and their corrupting campaign contributions, and brag about his upbeat economic figures like low unemployment or high stock prices. Sanders knows how to counter such figures: with class politics that unites the workers and shows that the whole political system, with its US campaign financing, needs renewal, not just individual elements. And above all: Trump is the septome of a corrupted system, not the disease itself.
Sanders points out that most Americans live from month to month and have no savings. Or that according to figures, about 40 percent of the country is in debt due to medical costs.
Sanders not only calls for the cancellation of all medical debts, but is the only one of the candidates to advocate general and free (tax-financed) health insurance. And this is a popular position.
He also attacked Trump as the only one for his hand policy, which continues to cut jobs in the Midwest states.
With Sander's election as the Democratic Party candidate, the US would have been the only country to have had a free health insurance policy since Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s, the United States would for the first time again have the choice between a left-wing progressive candidate and a right-wing demagogue. Clinton and Trump were more similar to each other than many had thought. Both support US imperialism. Sanders does not.
Trump's chances for re-election are - despite poor popularity ratings - nevertheless favourable, as his support for Electoral College remains strong, especially in the states that are decisive for the election outcome.
Michael Moore, the famous filmmaker and activist from the USA, who himself comes from Michigan, predicted Trump's victory as early as 2016 and sees him as the favourite this year as well; except for Bernie Sanders, who is running.
The final question remains: eyes, mouth, ears: are the Democrats imitating the three monkeys again or are they nominating Bernie Sanders?
The future of the next four years depends on this decision - not only in the USA, but also in Europe and the world.
Trump throws dynamite into the powder keg. New Danger of War at the Gulf
by Friedrich Steinfeld
[This article published on January 6, 2020 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.sozialismus.de.]
While parts of the bourgeois-liberal press were still dreaming of the possibility, in view of the world's entry into the 2020s, that unlike the Roaring Twenties in the 20th century, this could not be another dance on the volcano but a truly golden age, the world is holding its breath again thanks to US President Donald Trump.
Right at the beginning of the New Year, he had one of Iran's highest-ranking leaders, General Qassem Soleimani, killed by an American drone attack on his arrival at Baghdad airport, thus escalating the conflict with Iran once again. For its part, Iran announced revenge and retaliatory strikes.
The logic presented by the Trump government, that the killing of Soleimani had made Iraq and the Middle East safer and increased the chances of a life in freedom, can no longer be surpassed in its absurdity. In fact, the U.S. government has already ordered the deployment of an additional 3,500 soldiers to the Gulf region in anticipation of a military counterstrike by Iran, and has threatened Iran with military attacks on 52 military and cultural (!) targets within Iran in the event of retaliatory strikes against American facilities and soldiers.
Soleimani was not just any Iranian general, but as commander of the Quds Brigades, the part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards responsible for military operations abroad, he set up and controlled the extensive Shiite network of militias outside Iran. This arc, also known as the Shiite crescent, which stretches from Tehran to Baghdad and Lebanon, is intended to strengthen Iran's power and influence in the struggle for regional supremacy in the region and weaken the power and influence of its regional rival and arch-enemy Saudi Arabia and its main allies, the United States and Israel.
Among other things, Soleimani played a key role in saving the Syrian Assad regime from being overthrown by the Syrian opposition, which was permeated by many Sunni Jihadists, with the rapid build-up of powerful armed militias, and in the reconquest of Aleppo, which had almost completely fallen into the hands of Sunni fighters. At the same time, he built up the militias of the "people's mobilization" in Iraq and, after the fall of Mossul to the "Islamic State", stopped its advance for the first time. He was the Iranian key actor in the Near and Middle East and thus more important than the Iranian Foreign Minister.
Within the religious-political hierarchy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, he was not subordinate to the elected President Hassan Rohani, but to Ali Chameini, who had been in office since 1989, and was considered one of the possible successors of the 80-year-old revolutionary leader. In the war between Iraq and Iraq Soleimani became a "hero" and therefore enjoyed a lot of sympathy among the Iranian population. With his killing he receives the highly emotionally charged status of a martyr in Iran.
It is to be noted that the previous policy of "maximum pressure" by the USA on Iran through the extremely harsh economic sanctions has indeed plunged the Iranian economy into a severe crisis, but so far has not brought any success in the sense of a change of policy or even regime in Iran.
At the same time, Iran's religious and political leadership is under massive domestic political pressure due to the extremely harsh US economic sanctions. The Iranian population is suffering from the social consequences of the economic crisis, which is not only sanctioned, but also home-made, among other things because of a bloated military-political-religious sector, to which the Revolutionary Guards also belong, and which, quasi as a state within a state, has eaten up much of the wealth that has flowed into the country through oil exports and has enormously hindered a modernization of the Iranian economy.
There have been repeated protests against the government, but so far the Iranian repressive apparatus has been able to keep them under control. The targeted killing of Soleimani will rekindle the anti-American emotions in Iran that have existed since the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Mossadegh in 1953 through the intervention of the US secret service and will cause the Iranian population to once again or even more strongly support the religious and political leadership of the country. According to Iranian sources, hundreds of thousands took to the streets in numerous cities after the Friday prayer, chanting "Death America" and "Revenge, Revenge".
Against this background, the Iranian regime is challenged to a military counter-reaction to the killing of Soleimani that is effective in the sense of the military logic and that will possibly not remain on the previous escalation level but will exceed it. Now that the waves of conflict following the successful missile attack on Saudi Arabian oil plants in early 2019, to which the Yemeni Houthi rebels admitted to, initially seemed to have calmed down somewhat, the danger of war between the USA and Iran and the resulting danger of a conflagration in the entire Middle East region is once again rapidly increasing.
Iran will probably not carry out an open, direct attack along the lines of traditional warfare, because the Iranian armed forces will not be able to stand up to the US forces in a military conflict. A military counterstrike will take the form of asymmetric warfare, which is favoured by the low-cost construction of unmanned drones, among other things.
Iran has various options for attack; for example, it could block the Strait of Hormuz by mines or by blowing up ships, as it has threatened to do several times in the past. Iran itself would no longer be affected by such a blockade of the bottleneck of the global oil transport after the US sanctions, since at least Iran's official oil export of formerly about 3 million barrels per day is now tending towards zero.
Since one fifth of the daily global oil consumption as well as the liquefied Qatari natural gas for the large Asian economies has to be transported through this bottleneck, the consequences of such a military strike for the functioning of the world economy are obvious. A further massive increase in the price of oil and natural gas would have an additional enormous impact on the global economy, which is already in a downturn. Already, stock prices and government bond yields have fallen and the price of oil has risen.
Why is the Trump government pouring oil on the fire again at this very moment?
It is likely that the storm of pro-Iranian militia supporters at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad recently - in response to the U.S. attack on militia positions - has reactivated the old U.S. "trauma" of the occupation of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and the subsequent holding of 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, leading Trump to the decision to launch the deadly attack on Soleimani. Behind this could be the calculation of the campaigner Trump, who has come under additional pressure due to the Democratic inspection proceedings conducted against him in the American Congress, to send a strong signal to the inside with this targeted killing action
The fact that Trump has now announced 52 targets in the event of an Iranian retaliatory strike for a military follow-up operation is a numerically exact reference to the hostage-taking in 1979: an eye for an eye! Tooth for a tooth! is the biblically based American message of revenge against Iran, but it is actually aimed at Trump's regular American voters and possible new voters.
The majority of the American population, however, is still war-weary, a collective mental state to which Trump owed his first election as US president, among other things. He wants to put an end to these ridiculous wars, many Americans don't even know where they are taking place, but have to pay all the more for it, while the nations supported by the USA have kept themselves harmless. The USA's role as world policeman is therefore a thing of the past.
China, too, had ultimately exploited the USA economically in its favour. Trump's skilfully staged lament about the role of the victim, into which the once hegemonic America has increasingly been thrown by the political establishment in Washington in recent years, is what he mantra-like recites to the American public in relation to NATO, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and also China. In doing so, he links up with moods and feelings in broad sections of the American population that are characterized by feelings of loss, sacrifice, and powerlessness, either due to real losses of social status or negative social expectations for the future.
Trump will not declare war in the event of an Iranian counterstrike, but below this threshold will have the American military carry out a whole series of selective attacks ("surgical" operations) on targets in Iran. There should be no illusion that a further escalation in the US power game with Iran could at any time lead to uncontrolled escalation, which would then actually mean war.
The German Federal Government - as always when the Western leading power is about to unhinge the world a bit further - falls into silence at first and then into hyperactivity, which, however, cannot hide the insubstantiality of its foreign policy actions.
They would coordinate with the foreign ministers of France and Great Britain and would do everything in their power to exert a moderating influence, especially on Iran.
The fundamental problem, above all in Germany, but also in Europe, is that the ruling political elites for the most part continue to cling desperately to the transatlantic community of interests and values and its ideological fogging over the defence of the "liberal order", without realising that the global economy and geopolitics in the 21st century will be determined by new rules that Trump now wants to dictate unilaterally in order to regain the former hegemonic position of the USA in the world. "America first" and "Make America great again" are the long not taken seriously fighting slogans of Trump's right-wing populism, which he has translated step by step into real politics. He has "delivered" and will continue to "deliver" - and possibly be re-elected for it.
Anyone who believes that in this complex world of increasing disorder he can remain under the (allegedly) protective umbrella of the Atlantic community of interests and values will possibly pay a high price for his loyalty to his vassals when the USA or other NATO powers such as Turkey, which is currently on the verge of military intervention in Libya, proclaim the "case of alliance" when it becomes involved in military conflicts. The USA and also Turkey have in fact long since left NATO and are following their own interests without taking their previous "partners" into consideration. Even the acquisition of a European "language of power" in order to support the assertion of European interests in non-European countries, if necessary by means of a newly established military power, is a bumpy path and, in view of the geopolitical distortions and the warlike nature of the situation, extremely risky and dangerous in terms of foreign policy.
The only realistic and promising perspective for Germany and Europe remains comprehensive investment in the research and application of new technologies (Industry 4.0, e-mobility, alternative energies), in the expansion of public infrastructure (IT networking and public transport), in housing construction and in education policy, in order to achieve a socially much more equitable and CO2-free production and lifestyle.
This is the only way to deal constructively with the growing right-wing populism and the Chinese "threat". To achieve this, however, the first thing that needs to be done is to break the "zero deficit", that neoliberal blockade of far-reaching social reforms which, in addition to its fixation on the Atlantic community of interests and values, mentally prevents the development of viable alternatives to the prevailing policy of perplexity.