As the U.S. election saga comes to a conclusion Donald Trump has been defeated and Joe Biden installed as U.S. President. Trump has plenty to say about the defeat and he and his Republican machine are already planning a number of legal challenges. His claims of election fraud have so far not been backed up by any concrete evidence. While many of us will welcome Trump’s defeat this is less a comment on ‘Biden as alternative’ than on Trump himself. He is a particularly revolting character by any standard and would put a positive gloss on most candidates regardless of Party affiliation (Unless, of course, you are Hilary Clinton).To say that there is no difference might be going too far but it is certainly a difference of degree rather than kind.
Much has been made of the contrast between ‘Biden the unifier’ versus ‘Trumps politics of division’. This somewhat nauseating trope of bi-partisanship and ‘bringing the country together’ is a typical centrist mantra. While it functions to reduce what are fundamental social contradictions and divisions to personal idiosyncrasies it also reveals a point of confluence between the two Parties.
There is very little to choose in point of principle between Republican and Democrat. As Julius Nyrere once stated: ‘The U.S. is also a one party state. But with typical American extravagance they have two of them.’ Both are Parties of the capitalist class and this is the main factor which unites them. Even a moderately left candidate, Bernie Sanders, was a no-go. Both Parties are adherents of the dogma of American exceptionalism and are guilty of supporting and encouraging ‘regime change’ – whether directly or by proxy – across the world; from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria to Venezuela and Bolivia. The disastrous consequences of these interventions have been well documented.
Trump, of course, is not the anti- establishment figure that many hold him to be. He has proven adept at exploiting the fissures in American society by appealing to the basest of human motivations whether it be xenophobia, racism or the narrow egoism of the petty-bourgeois. However, like the Democrats, the blame is always placed on the outsider upsetting some mythical unity to be restored. If it’s not Russia it’s China and if that doesn’t work insert crazy conspiracy theory here. It is symptomatic that it fell to Donald Trump, possibly the most fitting archetype of American capitalism, to expose for all to see the bankruptcy of this narrative.
Both Democrats and Republicans are representatives of the capitalist class and imperialism. Neither Party is a friend of the working class or the workers movement. Neither Party will effectively tackle the climate crisis. Neither Party will substantially improve the lot of workers or the masses of American poor. The Democrats are simply the Dorian Gray of the bi-partisan consensus; Trumpism its rotten visage.