Donald Trump and the GOP-led Administration has been on the hot seat since day one. The Administration has yet to pass any substantial domestic legislation despite significant foreign policy moves. Most notably, the Administration failed after numerous attempts to pass its healthcare reform bill at the same time that it was able to end the CIA’s covert training program for “rebels” in Syria. This apparent contradiction must be placed within the context of the decrepit state of US politics. Because even while the Trump Administration suffers from a crisis of legitimacy in its own right, the Democrats cannot escape the fact that their party has zero alternatives to the rule of the orange billionaire.
The Democrats are gasping for air on a sinking ship and the voting population is well aware. In a recent poll, Donald Trump’s declining popularity numbers still placed him above those of Hillary Clinton. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Trump is currently embattled with a crisis-ridden system and a divided party all the while facing Cold-war accusations of collusion with Russia. A large number of voters didn’t want Trump and a large section of the ruling class didn’t want him either. So Trump has attempted to curry favor with the GOP through right-wing domestic policy and appease his voters by carrying out whatever campaign promises that the Deep State allows.
These competing forces have created an equal and parallel political stagnation alongside what is now years of economic stagnation under US capitalism. The Democrats have time and again shown they have no solutions to the crisis in front of the millions of destitute workers and poor people in the US. Much of their time has been spent trying to connect Trump to Russia in an obvious drive to war. When the Democrats are not beating the drums of war, they are busy promoting the very capitalist system that has created a desperate economic state for millions of their voters.
Bill Clinton and his consortium of ruling class partners have stepped up their defense of capitalism with the creation of a website dedicated to the efforts of a coalition called “Inclusive Capitalism.” The coalition allegedly formed in 2014 and has held three (secret) meetings in as many years. The participants, who range from executives of JP Morgan Chase, Aetna, and other giant multinational corporations, discussed the prospect of revamping capitalism’s image in the world after the 2008 economic crisis severely damaged its reputation. According to the coalition, capitalism “has been attacked as a system that had failed to create broad based prosperity.” This has led to a “withering public distrust” in business that the capitalists behind the coalition hope to rectify, and ASAP.
The laughable call for “inclusive capitalism” is an admission from the Democratic Party that it cannot operate independently of monopoly capital and the rich. It reveals the depths of bankruptcy of a party that once prided itself, at least rhetorically, of being the political expression of social welfare. It indicates that no matter how much their popularity wanes, the Democrats will continue to seek even stronger ties to the ruling elites. A brief look through the website reveals a level of secrecy characteristic of bourgeois circles. Conference headlines have no videos or transcripts, just short summaries and password protected archived material for “members” only.
The ruling class knows, maybe better than anyone, that the system of capitalism is far past the stage of reform. US capitalism has always been predicated on the exploitation of labor. Only through the process of extracting surplus value, or free labor, can the capitalist or owner make a profit. Eventually, the contradiction between the rate of exploitation and the increased productivity of the system leads to economic collapse as workers are unable to absorb the fruits of their labor that have been usurped under the private ownership of the capitalist. In prior periods, war and social welfare policy were the primary reforms that gave the ruling class respite from the investable crises of the system.
These options are no longer available. US capitalism reached its monopoly phase over a hundred years ago. Since that time, US monopoly capitalism has expanded to the point of no return. The development of high-tech production has increased worker productivity (exploitation) and at the same time forced a large section of workers into a state of redundancy and permanent unemployment. This has resulted in the decline in the rate of profit as well as an intensified attack on exploited and oppressed people generally. It has also precipitated a heavy reliance on finance capital to account for losses. The system has thus become more volatile and crisis-ridden despite technological advance.
The Democratic Party’s downward spiral fits neatly in the context of the current state of the system they struggle to rule. A party of social welfare is not acceptable in a period when the ruling class requires an ever fiercer rate of exploitation to maximize profit. A battle between the Democrats and Republicans has ensued over which is the most effective servant of the ruling class. Over the last four decades, the Republican Party has acted as the party of white supremacy in hopes of keeping its broad base of white voters satisfied. The Democratic Party has played the part of the more sophisticated representative of the rich, employing Black, LGBTQ, and other leaders in service of a corporate, pro-war agenda.
And just as the economic system of capitalism is unable to pull itself out of crisis, the political apparatus in the US is unable to maneuver in any other direction but madness. The Democrats are on the war drive against Russia while the Republicans are thirsting to dismantle a healthcare bill that they themselves created. Either move would lead to near political extinction for whatever party accomplishes their primary objective first. The bankruptcy of the US two-party system lays bare its capabilities or lack thereof. If mass murder, plunder, and poverty is what you want, the Democrats and Republicans are the representatives for you. You can forget about anything else.
It remains to be seen how this period of history will be remembered. History is written by the dominant class. Efforts to create an “inclusive capitalism” are nothing but an attempt to write history with a ruling class lens. The only way to change history is to become the dominant class. This doesn’t mean that the oppressed rules over the current system’s structure and value system. It means using state power to create a system capable of writing the historical conclusion to the story of oppression of one class by another once and for all.