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:


triangleSouth-East London Socialist Party: USA - Resisting Trump and fighting for socialism

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


triangleItalian elections create huge political shake-up

triangleSocialist Party congress 2018

triangleMay's EU speech kicks the can down the road

triangleBlairite mayor faces open election after democratic 'irregularities' - fight for a no-cuts mayor


triangleTrump v NHS

triangleNHS we're ready to fight

triangleWelsh NHS crisis - we cannot go on like this


triangle15 years since the invasion of Iraq: what we said

triangleSocialist anti-war exhibition opens in Kingston





Spain: millions on streets against sexism and capitalist oppression



Italian elections create huge political shake-up



Japan - toxic legacy of the Fukushima disaster



Syria: No ceasefire for 'hell on earth' eastern Goutha



United States: young people demand change after latest mass shooting



Russia: Ali Feruz, journalist and human rights activist, freed from jail


South Africa

South Africa: Ramaphosa is a safe pair of hands for capitalism



France: rallies in support of oppressed Kurdish people



Big political strike against Finnish government's attack on unemployed



Brazil: Lula conviction confirmed


South Africa

Cape Town drought



May's silence is a green light for Chinese repression


Tamil Solidarity

Protesters denounce oppressive Sri Lankan regime



Sudan: Mohamed Satti released - global solidarity campaign gets results!



Stop the war on the Kurds

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018