Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 22 November 2007

2008 US presidential election

The twin parties of big business offer no solutions for working-class people

ELECTIONS CAN pose important questions in the minds of workers and youth. With a growing anti-war mood in the US, further signs of a looming recession in the economy and support for Bush at an all-time low many of these questions are already on the table. The fundamental one is will any of the candidates for president provide the answers?

James Kerr

On 4 November 2008 the successor to George W Bush will be chosen. Campaigning has been running for many months now but in January 2008 the official "Race for the White House" begins.

In the New Year, states hold primaries (state-wide elections) or caucuses (in some states a local meeting system) which choose delegates from the respective parties who have pledged support for a particular candidate. At the party conventions a few months before the election the party candidate is chosen by the delegates.

Then in November it is the national presidential election where states vote for "electors" loyal to one of the candidates who through an electoral college confirm the new president. Altogether it is a long process for a choice between two sides Republican and Democrat - of the same coin.

One of the big themes of the election so far has been that of a need for change. In a recent Gallup poll 72% said they were dissatisfied with the leadership of the US government. Will any of the candidates from the Republicans or Democrats provide a change in direction?

Rudy Giuliani is the leading Republican candidate who shot to international prominence as mayor of New York at the time of 9/11. While Giuliani may pose as a man of the people in a time of need his record as mayor was one of cuts and privatisations, ratcheting up healthcare costs in the city's clinics, reducing the city council's workforce by 35,000 and even during the 9/11 clean-up carrying out major cuts in the fire service. For all his posturing he is wedded totally to pro-capitalist politics.

Embarrassingly for Giuliani, on 9 November a close ally - former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik, appointed by Giuliani when mayor - was formally indicted on charges of tax evasion and corruption.

During George Bush's time as president the Democrats have tried to position themselves as a genuine alternative to war and privatisation.

If we look at the record of Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democrat nomination we see this is totally opportunistic. Clinton supported the war in Iraq, although claiming in her campaign that "had she known what she knows now" she wouldn't have backed the invasion.

This hasn't stopped her from ardently supporting the occupation in Afghanistan and backing increases in military spending.

Capitalist Clinton

Clinton has reassured big business that if elected she won't rock the boat. And as a former board member of Walmart, one of the world's most anti-union corporations, she has proved her credentials as someone who will protect the interests of the wealthy. This has paid dividends, with America's capitalist class pouring millions of dollars into her war chest so far $35 million.

Barack Obama, one of Clinton's closest challengers has been looked to by some workers and youth, particularly black people in America, as someone who is going to break with Bush's policies. But those hopes are dashed if you look at Obama's chequered record.

Yes he did oppose the Iraq invasion but supports the so-called "good war" in Afghanistan, backed the Israeli war on Lebanon and instead of calling for an end to military expansion, has demanded an increase in troop numbers by 92,000.

Socialist alternative

Healthcare is one of the issues likely to take prominence in the course of the campaign, particularly as Michael Moore's new film Sicko provides such a damning indictment of the current state of the health system in the US.

Democrats have recently celebrated their pledge for "universal healthcare". In reality the schemes they are proposing will not mean a reduction in health insurance costs in the US with the big insurance corporations able to retain control, and could in fact discourage employer-based health insurance.

So while the TV debates may appear sharp there is a consensus amongst the leading presidential hopefuls. Whoever makes the White House will not challenge the huge profits made by the US multinationals at home or abroad and workers will bear the brunt of cuts and rising food and fuel prices, particularly if the stagnation in US manufacturing industry continues.

So what alternative is there to the "Big Two" parties? Ralph Nader who stood in the last two elections on an anti-war, anti-corporate ticket has not ruled out standing in the 2008 election. Nader polled 2.74% in 2000 and 0.38% in 2004 (having been kept off the ballot paper in many states by Democrat legal action).

These figures may seem small but considering his campaign didn't receive the same levels of big business funding and was on the receiving end of a vicious slander campaign from the Democrats, they demonstrate there is a significant layer of overwhelmingly young people and workers prepared to support an alternative to the main parties.

Dennis Kucinich is running for the Democrat nomination on a programme of withdrawal of troops from Iraq, universal healthcare and free education and has attacked the hypocrisy of the Democrat party leadership. It is very unlikely Kucinich will win the presidential nomination but he will open a debate up amongst those who look to the Democrats as an alternative way forward.

Also the recent announcement that Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war activist who has broken with the Democrats, is to run against Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, in the Congressional elections (also on 4 November 2008) is another significant development.

There will never be the perfect time to build a political alternative in the US no matter how much the Democrats plead they are 'the lesser evil' to the likes of Bush but to paraphrase the commentary of another key moment in US history, 'one small step' is a significant move forward for the American working class and youth.

Socialist Alternative, the Socialist Party's sister section in the US recently stood a candidate in Boston City council elections Matt Geary - on a socialist programme of opposing cuts and privatisations, winning over 3,000 votes.

They will support a presidential candidate if there is one - who is genuinely putting an alternative to the big business politics of the Republicans and Democrats.

A candidate is needed who links the struggle against war, for immigrant rights and for better pay and conditions, to the need to build a new mass organisation of workers and youth. Such a party would represent a massive step forward in the fight against the neo-liberal policies of Bush and Co.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 22 November 2007:

Profit system wrecks climate

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Defend Karen Reissman: Defend free speech and trade union rights

Banking Crisis

Nationalise Northern Rock permanently to safeguard workers' interests

International socialist news and analysis

SOLIDARITY APPEAL: Defend Tukwila Teachers Threatened with Termination for Antiwar Student Walkout

France: massive public sector workers' strike

Socialist Party news and analysis

SNP budget will not satisfy expectations

Detention without trial: Defend civil rights

New attacks on incapacity benefits

'Cheap and nasty' Camden council to shut deaf school

News in brief

Socialism 2007

Socialism 2007: Inspired by past victories, preparing for future struggles


Support the Northern Ireland classroom assistants

Cardiff schools: Parents march against closure threats

Socialist Party features

Rail transport: Overpriced, overcrowded, underinvested

Train drivers strike in Germany

Labour's pensions - a social time-bomb

International socialist news and analysis

Denmark general election: Socialist People's Party doubles its MPs

2008 US presidential election

GM, Chrysler, and Ford's 'race to the bottom'

Workplace news and analysis

Postal workers campaign against "MacMail"

Doncaster Hospital workers on strike for 9,000 back pay

National Union of Journalists: Standing up against the robber barons


Home   |   The Socialist 22 November 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleMobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Socialism in the USA

triangleUSA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

triangleThe fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

triangleChe Guevara 50 years on - revolutionary socialist and fighter


triangleThe Socialist's 2017 quiz

triangleBlairite horror and Labour's divisions graphically exposed

triangleCorbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangleCorbyn must challenge pro-gentrification council leader or others will


triangleSouth London health bosses' cover-up

triangleSave our NHS

triangleKids wait 18 months for mental healthcare


triangleTories Out demo - Photos

triangleAttacks ratchet-up Syrian conflict and fuel tensions between powers





Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict



A world in crisis, ripe for revolution



Trump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse



Irish capitalist state: rotten to the core



Fighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle



Trump's tax attacks



Australia: massive yes vote for marriage equality



Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power



USA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis



US: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis



Sweden: 'Revolution2017' success



Spain: Madrid rally celebrates October revolution



US: Minneapolis Socialist chimes with voters



Ireland: rail workers demand share of 'recovery'



Ireland: dangerous ideas for the ruling class

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle16 Dec Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

triangle16 Dec Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice