In response to Obama’s recent comments about him in his DNC speech, Trump said the only true words I think I’ve ever heard him utter: “The reason I’m here is because of President Obama and Joe Biden, because if they did a good job I wouldn’t be here….but they did such a bad job that I stand before you as President.”
As much as it kills me to agree with anything Trump says, in this case he’s right. The Democrats created the conditions which led directly to his rise because Obama’s presidency was the last straw for millions who had felt ignored and betrayed by the Democrats for years. By ignoring these voters, the Democrats rolled out the red carpet for Trump and his sycophants and handed them the keys to the White House on a platter.
Obama the Great
To be fair, it didn’t start with the Obama but his presidency marked the end of an era.
When he first came on the scene, I fell for the man’s charms too and hoped, despite everything I knew about politics, that he really did represent a new time of enlightenment and equality. It seemed racism might finally be consigned to the dustbin of history where it belonged. Seeing the genuine affection the president and his wife shared in glossy magazine spreads made it easy to hope that love could heal a nation.
But I should have known better. For the darlings of the Left, Obama was the pinnacle of everything they’d been aiming for. The only thing better than a black man in office would have been a black woman. Secure in the knowledge that their concerns were finally being addressed and the world was moving in a positive direction for them, they willfully ignored all the signs that it was business as usual in the White House.
For the ruling class, Obama’s particular function was to fuse in his person and his administration identity politics with the absolute domination of Wall Street and the military-intelligence apparatus. The “change” Obama was to represent was in the color of his skin, not the content of his policies. From wsws.org
Behind the Curtain
Obama was the first president to serve two full terms with a nation at war. In 2016 America had a military presence in 70% of the world’s countries. The conflicts started under Bush were not wound down but expanded by Obama. Millions have died and been driven from their homes as a result. Obama was the master of drone executions, overseeing more than 3000 killings in the Middle East, including of American citizens.
His administration prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other administrations combined. What does that tell you about his commitment to democracy? On the other hand, not a single person has faced charges for the vast breaches in privacy revealed by Edward Snowden, and the NSA’s spying programs continue unabated.
In the interests of ‘harmony’ he pardoned those who had institutionalized torture at Abu Ghraib and gave some involved, including CIA Director John Brennan, posts in his administration. While terrorising sovereign nations, he simultaneously ramped up militarization of the police on American soil, arming them with combat weapons which are now being used against protestors. Obama has deported more immigrants than any other administration.
Wages under Obama remained stagnant or declined, and most job growth was for temporary or low paid part-time work. The assault on public education continued and the opioid crisis, created by an unregulated pharmaceutical industry and fueled by alienation and despair, ravaged regional areas. Life expectancy fell between 2014–2015 for the first time since the AIDS epidemic.
Those rusting at the bottom of the pile, the ones in towns that had been decimated by the closure of industries, who saw their communities blighted by drug abuse and suicide, didn’t give a fig about the politics of race. They had no common ground with the Democrats and the identity politics they championed. Nothing had changed for them and they’d seen enough by then to know nothing was going to. The Democratic party had turned its back on them long ago, driving them straight into the arms of a charismatic salesman who acknowledged their pain and promised to make it better. This is how the ‘forgotten’ Americans became Trump’s people.
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
It’s one of the most absurd features of contemporary politics, that the Democrats, who have never been further to the Right, are being portrayed by Trump as rabid enemies of capitalism. The aim of this smear is twofold: to confuse his followers, many of whom don’t have any real idea about socialism’s history, and to make even mild criticisms of capitalism seem illegitimate.
The truth is the Democrats would rather see another four years of Trump than bring the question of class to the table. They won’t touch this subject because they have no solutions to offer. The millions who have lost their jobs and who don’t know if they can feed their families next week, barely rate a mention in their campaign. Biden is attempting to capitalize on Trumps colossal mismanagement of COVID, but the Democrats should have Trump by the jugular at this point.
The high level of support Trump still enjoys can only be understood in the context of the deep distrust and contempt many feel for the Democrats. This contempt can’t be simplistically dismissed as ‘racism.’ It’s been exploited on racial grounds without a doubt, but the initial impulse lies in the recognition among millions that the political system the Democrats represent does not represent them.
Trump supporters know their lives are dictated by shadowy figures who control the world’s economy, that there are conspiracies and human rights abuses taking place on a mass scale. They’re aware they’re being manipulated like puppets, and this is why they are so susceptible to QAnon theories and other far-fetched conspiracies.
The irony is that their feelings of alienation and despair, channeled into the echo chamber of social media, can only feed back more confusion, division and hostility. Social media acts like a safety valve to protect the system. This is the inevitable outcome when humans are sold as commodities and all information is collated and dissected to manipulate us more effectively. And let’s face it, why wouldn’t the tech giants want to protect a system that has made them the wealthiest people in human history?
One of the reasons so many people cannot see what’s happening right in front of them is because they don’t believe there’s any alternative. The two-party system has brainwashed those on both the so-called Left and Right into thinking that nothing exists outside the narrow vision offered by the ruling class. In this world the main priority is wealth creation for those at the top, resulting in further misery for those at the bottom. The urgent collective action needed to combat climate change isn’t even a remote possibility.
The Democrats don’t have Trump by the throat because they share his basic perspective. They make no attempts to speak to the people who turned against them in 2016 because they have nothing to say to them. The so-called Liberal establishment, including Hollywood, is very happy with the way things are. Its members have no desire to acknowledge the very real grievances of those at the bottom of the pile. This is why they so vehemently try to keep the debate confined to race and gender.
Without class consciousness, America and by extension the world, will remain mired in unresolvable contradictions, leading to chaos and destruction. The state of decay is already advanced, as evidenced in the continuing support for Trump despite all his lies and betrayals, not to mention almost two hundred thousand deaths and counting on his watch. His followers continue to back this bloated clown who doesn’t bother to hide his contempt for democracy and human life for one main reason: he is still preferable to the Democrats in their eyes. That says a great deal about where responsibility lies for the current political crisis.