The recently concluded US midterm elections were supposed to be that nations repudiation of the Trump administration. For nigh on a year the US political media has been hyping up this blue wave, and for three years (since he announced his candidature) have been heaping scorn and ridicule on president Trump. After labelling his administration as a tool of foreign agents, after his blatant racial, religious and xenophobic rhetoric and after his toadying towards the uber-rich one fully expected the Democratic party to win it all. After all the online protests, after all the marches and all of the tears, I expected to wake up on Wednesday to see the Democratic party controlling both sets of the house as well as many local seats.
Sadly, the US media has once again failed to accurately take the pulse of their people and as such the much-hyped Blue wave turned out to be more like a blue drizzle. Instead of the Democratic party cementing both houses and many states, they have been left with a decent (not super) majority in the lower house while losing seats in the upper. Things at the state and local level also mirror the federal level with Democrats and Republicans having about half of the respective seats and governorships up for grabs.
This election far from showing that the American people are sick of the racism, classism, eternal warfare and creeping fascism has shown that they are in fact comfortable in their current situation and simply don’t wish to rock the boat. That may seem a shocking statement, especially as we saw persons protesting spontaneously in defence of the fired AG, but the results of the elections prove the statement correct.
The fact is, after all of the demonising and after all of the media hype, the Democratic party won the lower house with a majority of 32. In other words, with over 400 seats up for grabs, the party representing the far-right barely lost. Put another way, the party which has seen its supporters send out mail bombs and shoot synagogues in the lead up to the elections almost won. Even accepting the fact that there was massive voter suppression, one would think that the masses of persons who oppose far-right principles would flock to the polls thus rendering voter suppression difficult (but not impossible).
Instead, with a fifty-year record turnout for midterm elections, the party representing the far-right sits safely in control of the upper house, real leverage in the lower house and in control of dozens of state capitals. This does not strike me as a people disavowing the far-right, this instead strikes me as a nation comfortable with the rightward drift only wishing to rein in its more unseemly features. The retort may be, ‘but half the electorate stayed home’ and to that, I say that is further proof that the people are simply comfortable.
France in the second round gave the people a choice, the centre-right Macron or the far-right Le Pen. With more than half the electorate staying home the centre-right candidate won, the same thing happened in the local and parliamentary elections, even as Macrons popularity rates plummeted. If given a choice between crypto-fascists and the centre-right, normal people vote in the majority (even if the majority stays home) for the non-fascist. You don’t vote for the far right or enable it by allowing it to keep the upper house etc unless you are comfortable with it and the promises it makes to you.
The levels of comfort could also be seen in the types of candidates which won on the Democratic ticket. These were not men and women who for example stood up and called for an end to the military industrial complex, foreign wars, economic imperialism, the starving in America, the un and underemployed in that nation or the millions who are shafted by the joke of a healthcare law. No, rather than do those things they called for bipartisanship, fence-building and reaching out to the Republicans in the house and the president.
These representatives, after calling the Republican party out for what it is, a bastion for the far-right are seeking to work with it. That alone tells you that the issue is not the far-right and the policies which it brings forth, rather the problem is the face which delivers those policies. Nobody batted an eyelid when Obama suspended posse comitatus (a truly far-right move) and hardly anyone chirped when GW Bush passed the Patriot Act (again something from a far-right dream), nobody cried out when HR Clinton cackled when Gadhafi was murdered so we shouldn’t be shocked that the American people have left their government basically split down the middle.
Both parties and it seems that the voting public in the US are fine and dandy with the far-right. They are comfortable living in a land of racism and anti-Semitism, they revel in the fact that they murder children in schools and patrons at bars. They hoot and holler in joy when their nation holds 25% of the world’s prison population and they find joy in the fact that they cause so much death, destruction and misery around the world.
We who live outside the land of the free must not put our hopes in either the Democratic party or the voting public in the US. Both have no interest in global justice and as has been shown over the past 30 years (and more specifically the last four election cycles) an open fascination for the far-right. Things in that county will get worse before they get better, the Democratic party is too far to the right to be any less reactionary than it already is, what we can only do is sit back, watch, prepare and hope like hell that the majority who do not vote in that nation one day soon wake up and vote in the global interest (which is also their interest too) and seeing as how the latter won’t happen any time soon, I suggest we batten down the hatches as the US gets comfortable in its long ride with the far-right.