The best elections money can buy

Graphic: Americans for Tax Fairness

Nov. 10 — After the midterm elections, it looks like the Democrats may keep running the U.S. Senate. The Republicans may take over the House of Representatives by a small margin.

Meanwhile, Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier continue to be unjustly imprisoned. These two political prisoners have each spent more than 40 years in jail after being framed. 

At thousands of food banks across the United States, people will stand in line—sometimes for hours—in order to feed their families. In states that provide deposits on cans and bottles, seniors will collect them in order to eat or pay their rent. Capitalist elections won’t change this misery.

Big capitalists are the real winner of U.S. elections. Over $16.7 billion was spent on them. 

Some 465 billionaires dumped $881 million into the midterms. This dough could house thousands of homeless children. For the super-rich it’s just chump change.

While people voted for candidates, money bags were buying their employees. That’s if they don’t run for office themselves, like the billionaire Democrat J.B. Pritzker, who got re-elected as Illinois governor.

Real-estate tycoon Rick Caruso is dipping into his $4 billion stash to become mayor of Los Angeles. He’s trying to defeat congresswoman Karen Bass, who if elected would be the first Black woman mayor of the metropolis.

Despite most of the polls predicting a Republican sweep of the elections, poor and working people said no. They voted in 2020 for an end to over 40 years of political reaction and cutbacks.

President Biden deserves none of the credit for limiting Republican gains. It was hundreds of thousands of volunteers operating out of Black churches and union halls that defeated Donald Trump’s clones.

Biden could immediately free 78-year-old American Indian Movement leader Leonard Peltier, who has spent 46 years in jail. With another pen, he could largely normalize relations with Cuba. 

The man in the White House refuses to do either. Biden and Congress instead have shoveled over $70 billion into a war against the Russian Federation that could lead to World War III.

A sewer of hate

It’s good that the midterm elections are over. They featured a gusher of racism and bigotry that poisoned millions.

Immigrants with their children seeking asylum were described as invaders.

It was racism that Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson used to narrowly defeat the Black Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. In a debate, Johnson claimed Barnes “incited” the anti-racist uprising in Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. 

Some of Johnson’s ads featured pictures of Barnes that darkened his skin. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers attacked Johnson’s racism. 

While the white Democratic governor was re-elected by an 89,000-vote margin, Mandela Barnes narrowly lost by 27,000 votes.

It was bigotry that re-elected Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with a 1.5 million vote landslide. Voter suppression also helped.

DeSantis spent years attacking Black history—calling it “critical race theory”—and forbade school discussion of gender and sexuality with a “don’t say gay” law.

Most heartbreaking and dangerous was DeSantis forbidding medical and gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

Fox News and the New York Post propelled Trump-supporting Congressman Lee Zeldin’s campaign to be New York governor. Zeldin got 47% of the vote on a lock-em-up, pro-cop and jail-the-poor platform.

Zeldin promised that he would fire Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the first Black person to be elected to that post.

A special target of Zeldin was bail reform, which was enacted after the innocent Black youth Kalief Browder committed suicide. Browder spent three years in jail because he couldn’t afford cash bail.

Rick Caruso’s drive to become Los Angeles mayor was also a law-and-order campaign that featured attacks on homeless people. That doesn’t prevent the pop singer Katy Perry from supporting this billionaire bigot. 

Organize to fight back!

Even in conservative states where the working class is more suppressed, people will vote for progressive issues.

Voters in Kentucky voted against adding an anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution. In South Dakota, voters passed a referendum to expand Medicaid that will cover 40,000 more poor people. 

Many people will feel relieved that some of the worst bigots were defeated in the midterms. But the election results will be used to try to push through more cutbacks, including cuts in social security and Medicare.

That’s what happened after the Republicans won control of Congress in 1994. Then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich wanted to take thousands of Black children away from their parents and put them in orphanages.

It was 2 million Black people coming to the 1995 Million Man March, followed by another 2 million Black people in the 1997 Million Woman March, that stopped Gingrich. Not Democratic President Bill Clinton, who wanted to go along with Gingrich’s reactionary program.

Biden’s Labor Secretary Marty Walsh has already threatened railroad workers with congressional action if they go on strike. All workers have the right to strike!

We need to continue organizing. Social Security needs to be expanded. The minimum monthly benefit should be raised to $2,600. 

Whoever is in the White House, police will continue to kill an average of three people a day across the United States. It was Joe Biden, as a U.S. senator, who helped pass the mass incarceration laws in the 1990s. 

We need to bring people in prison home to their families. Workers at Amazon, Starbucks and every other workplace need union wages, protection and benefits.

Using the excuse of a looming recession, the billionaires will demand more cutbacks. The only answer is more fightback.

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