What do the Nov. 2 election results mean for poor and working people?
In the Virginia governor’s race, Republican Glenn Youngkin beat Democrat Terry McAuliffe by 80,000 votes. In New Jersey, the Democratic incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy narrowly defeated Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli.
Joe Biden beat Donald Trump by 450,000 votes in Virginia and by 725,000 votes in New Jersey. A year later, Biden and the Democratic majority in Congress have done nothing that would inspire people to go to the polls.
No increase in the minimum wage. No expansion of Medicare and Medicaid. No cut in prescription prices. No subsidies for child care.
Congress is refusing to pass these items that are needed by people.
Biden could still issue an executive order to freeze payments on student loans. Over $1.5 trillion is owed by 43 million people. That’s an average of $36,510 of debt per person.
Wall Street would howl. Forty-three million voters would feel some relief.
Republican candidates instead felt free to use racism and attacks on transgender people to win votes. That’s what Glenn Youngkin did in Virginia.
Youngkin’s campaign ran a TV ad featuring a white woman lamenting that her son was forced to read “Beloved” in school. The famous novel was written by the late Toni Morrison, the only Black woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in literature.
Meanwhile, Fox News and Republicans across the country attacked immigrants. Yet it’s the Biden administration that has sent refugees back to Haiti.
Both Youngkin and Ciattarelli attacked “critical race theory.” That’s teaching the truth about the African Holocaust and the Holocaust of Indigenous peoples.
It wasn’t accidental that on the same election day, the Virginia counties of Mathews and Middlesex voted overwhelmingly to keep their confederate statues.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic helped Youngkin and Ciattarelli as well. Both candidates attacked the safety measures that are needed to defeat the coronavirus.
As racist as Youngkin’s campaign appeals were, he also said he would abolish Virginia’s sales tax on groceries. People have to pay a 2.5% tax on food.
A dozen other states outrageously tax food, including Mississippi. The poorest state in the U.S. makes poor people pay a 7% tax on food.
When McAuliffe was governor he kept this awful tax. So did the other Democratic governors in Virginia.
Democracy for the rich
These elections proved once again that the United States has the best democracy money can buy. Youngkin poured $21 million of his $480 million fortune into his campaign. The Democrat McAuliffe had billionaire donors as well.
Youngkin was the co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, a Wall Street outfit that has $16 billion in assets. He praised Virginia’s union-busting “right-to-work” law and opposed a $15 minimum wage.
New Jersey Gov. Murphy also made a fortune on Wall Street. The Democrat ran the Frankfurt and Hong Kong offices of Goldman Sachs, a bank with assets of $2.1 trillion. Murphy poured in $20 million of his dough to win the 2017 Democratic primary.
Besides the Republican victory in Virginia, Republicans also defeated Democrats for several offices in Nassau and Suffolk counties in New York. Both counties are suburbs of New York City.
The Democratic Party establishment will use these defeats to attack the “Squad” and any other progressive member of Congress. This turns things inside out.
What were the Democrats doing running former Governor McAuliffe in Virginia? He was known for being a longtime fundraiser for the Clintons and chaired Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign when she ran against Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination.
McAuliffe also carried out the last three executions in Virginia. The state’s death penalty was abolished under current Gov. Ralph Northam.
How was McAuliffe’s record supposed to motivate people to vote? If the Democrats had run a Black candidate in the state that established slavery in 1619, it would have been harder for Youngkin to launch his racist appeals.
Particularly painful was the defeat of India Walton, who was running for mayor of Buffalo, New York. Although the Black woman won the Democratic primary, Walton ran as a socialist with a progressive program against displacement and development for the rich.
Walton was defeated in the general election by the incumbent mayor, Byron Brown, who waged a write-in campaign. Millions of dollars were spent on ads attacking Walton.
The capitalist media is also emphasizing that a measure to abolish the police in Minneapolis and replace it with a Department of Public Safety went down in defeat. But this measure won 62,813 votes, nearly 44% of the total.
Who would have thought a few years ago that an anti-police initiative would have gotten so many votes? George Floyd’s death was not in vain.
The future can be seen in the socialist campaign of Cathy Rojas for mayor of New York City. The candidate of the Party for Socialism and Liberation got over 25,000 votes — 2.5% of the total.
Rojas and her supporters distributed leaflets and put up posters throughout the city. The campaign called for defunding the police and housing for all.
The racism and bigotry peddled by Glenn Youngkin and other reactionary candidates is dangerous. But it won’t create jobs with decent wages or prevent inflation.
The future is struggle. Striketober is becoming Strikevember. We need to organize more than ever before.