AMERICA REACTS TO A LOW POINT
By Daniel Haufler
[This article published on 12/13/2017 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://gegenblende.dgb.de.]
Donald Trump and the Republicans had to swallow a sharp election defeat in Alabama. But that did not stop them. In a few days, they will make the rich even richer with a tax reform. The end of the Trump era moves a little closer.
Alabama's citizens set a sign of resistance before the absolute low point in US politics. Alabama is such a conservative state that it makes Bavaria look like a hippie gathering. No Democrat had won an election there in 25 years. A democratic candidate won in the Senate bi-election in Alabama. To understand what an incredible success this was for liberal America and the Democrats, one only needs to know Donald Trump defeated his rival Hillary Clinton in this state in the 2016 presidential election by nearly 30%. In Alabama as in the whole South, the Democrats were a corpse. But now Doug Jones, a civil rights activist and enemy of all reactionary racists in the state and hardly known in Washington, will be the US Senator from Alabama.
This is not a little sensation - but an absolute debacle for US President Donald Trump. Trump vehemently supported the Republican candidate Roy Moore although Moore was accused of sexual harassment or molestation by nine women. The reproaches were very explosive because Moore was the district attorney while the women were teenagers and students. Even the second senator from Alabama, the ultra-conservative Richard Shelby did not vote for Moore on account of these credible accusations.
The left and moderate can only win together
Jones' victory gives hope to Democrats - for three reasons. The Republicans are divided more than ever. More top politicians breaking with Trump seems only a question of time. They could stop Trump's bills or the Republicans' bills since they do not have a majority anymore. On the other hand, the Democratic Party is intent on overcoming the division from the election when Bernie Sander's leftist supporters and moderates from the Clinton camp were feuding. On top of everything, it now seems possible Democratic voters - above all women and African-Americans - vote even when Barack Obama and Bill Clinton are not on the ballot.
Certainly, there were many low-points in the past months: Trump's sexist, racist and anti-foreigner rhetoric that cause a sensation worldwide in his tweets, the president's smear campaign against the media as "Fake News" that has its models in autocrats like Putin and Erdogan; the loss of all authority of the US in western democracies because of the erratic foreign policy of the White House with view to North Korea, Iran and Jerusalem.
A social and political-economic catastrophe
The absolute low-point will be reached in a few days. Hurriedly and against all warnings, the Republicans will carry out a disastrous tax reform. The rich and the richest will be given permanent Christmas presents while the middle class is punished with higher taxes in the long-term. At the same time, 13 million Americans will lose their health care since the law restricts Obama-care. (Translator's note: In the GOP tax heist, $5 trillion is given to households with over a million dollars income.) The state will lose $1.5 trillion in the next ten years because of this reform. As a consequence, the government in Washington will take away so much money that it will only be able to act restrictedly in economic and social policy. That is a catastrophe from which the country will not recover for a long time, if at all.
The newly elected senator Doug Jones shows how the Democrats can defeat Trump & Co.
This week is an important milestone in Trump's presidency. On one hand, the resistance against the racist and sexist in the White House is clearly growing. On the other hand, he carries out a neoliberal agenda with his party that benefits himself above all. He shreds environmental- and consumer protection and America's political culture. This polarization could continue to the end of his term in office and tear the US to pieces.
A chance for the Democrats
But the milestone could also be a turning point in US policy when the Democrats finally achieve what they neglected after Obama's early successes: acting as the party of the poor and the lower middle class and creating stable organizational structures from the local to the national plane. Obama knew about the organizational weaknesses of Democrats and created his own grassroots movement parallel to the party. That was clever and necessary. He could only prevail first against the Clintons in the primaries and then against the Republicans with their rich donors that way. The party now again needs a broad, functioning and well-financed organization so they can reconquer the majority in the Senate at the end of 2018 - and with a charismatic candidate chase Trump from the White House in 2020. The chance of a victory exists. Alabama showed that.