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Fact Checking Democratic and Republican Conventions

Photograph Source: ctot_not_def – CC BY 2.0

When capitalism’s billionaire twin parties convene every four years to select their would–be head-of-state, it’s important to get the facts straight. Critical readers in my near-octogenarian generation – the same as Donald Trump’s and Joseph Biden’s – should have a basic familiarity with historically established facts. I leave it to younger observers of these two historic parties of the ruling rich to research for themselves.

The Democrats nominated Donald Trump as their presidential candidate; the Republicans nominated Joseph Biden, or was it the other way around?

The Republicans are known as the billionaire party of war, racism, sexism, poverty, tax cuts for the rich, climate catastrophe, environmental destruction, the COVID-19 pandemic, mass deportation of immigrants and big capital, while the Democrats are the billionaire party of war, racism, sexism, poverty, tax cuts for the rich, climate catastrophe, environmental destruction, the COVID-19 pandemic, mass deportation of immigrants and big capital. The differences are important!

The facts are important! Here some fact checking is in order, lest my “lesser evil” friends charge me with misrepresentation.

War

Trump touted a long list of generals as his ardent campaign supporters in the run up to the 2016 elections. In the run up to the 2020 elections Biden cites a long list of former Trump-supporting generals as his own. Biden is clearly the leader in this prestigious category of military-industrial complex contractors and Pentagon tops.

Both parties nearly unanimously approved the 2019-2020 war budget of $1 trillion annually, counting the unmentioned extra money for the CIA’s secret wars. To be more fact-checking precise, the Democrats upped Trump’s original war budget request by some $40 billion which the Republicans graciously accepted. Trump’s war party continued in slightly different forms all seven U.S. wars, most of them initiated by Barack Obama.

Afghanistan War

Said Obama in Jan. 2014: “With Afghan forces now in the lead for their own security, our troops have moved to a support role. Together with our allies, we will complete our mission there by the end of this year, and America’s longest war will finally be over.” Yet Obama had upped U.S. troops in Afghanistan to 100,000, half of them the privatized mercenary troops of the Erik Prince-led Blackwater Worldwide type, the largest privatized mercenary army in U.S. history. Trump, on the other hand, employed a renamed Blackwater operation for the similar reasons. After 19 years, under Democrats and Republicans, U.S. troops, covert and overt, remain in Afghanistan.

Yet Obama declared he was a man of peace and was accordingly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Trump has declared that he is a man of peace and will bring some troops home from Afghanistan. He has been nominated by a two Norwegian parliamentarians for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Obama maintained the largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world. Trump, a “fucking moron,” according to his former Secretary of State and former ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson, proposed to a private National Security Council meeting that the U.S. increase its tactical nuclear weapons capacity “one hundred fold.” Trump proposed to the Congress a sixth arm of the U.S. military, the Space Force, to weaponize outer space. By a vote of 377–48 the Democratic Party-controlled House of Representatives approved the bill creating the Space Force, passing it on to the Senate. Trump signed this largest bi-partisan war budget to date.

Electoral College

The Republicans stole the 2016 election with resort to the anti-democratic Electoral College system, wherein the Southern states of the old segregationist slaveocracy can garner enough delegates for a candidate to win the presidency without winning the majority of all votes cast in the nation. The Democrats, on the other hand, held sway in the Electoral College for 75 years by resort to their control of the racist segregationist former slaveocracy Dixiecrat states up until the Nixon era. Before Nixon, the Democrats held sway by running a Northern “liberal” for president and a Southern racist bigot in the V.P. spot to “balance the ticket.” When the overtly racist Southern Democrats jumped ship to the Republicans in the 1960s, the Democrats looked to the heirs of the “Old South” to win elections and ran former Georgia segregationist-turned-liberal Jimmy Carter for president. Al Gore Jr. — son of Al Gore Sr., a historic Tennessee racist bigot — was also slated for the Democrats’ top spot as was Arkansas’s Bill Clinton, whose Southern roots were touted to win the white racist Southern vote.

Complicated? Yes, but the end result is that both parties maneuver to govern in the interests of the billionaire elite. The Democrats are the party of these billionaire elites while the Republicans are the party of these billionaire elites. My fact-checking here is more precise. According to Forbes Magazine, Biden’s billionaire supporters total 131 while Trump’s total a mere 99.

Climate crisis/Global warming

Trump is the candidate of the oil monopolies while Biden is the candidate of the oil monopolies. Trump, the Republican, is a climate crisis denier. He withdrew from the UN’s COP-25 in Madrid, Spain. With regard to the U.S. imperialist war against Syria he bragged, “We got the oil.” Obama-Biden were the world’s greatest frackers. They granted the oil monopolies unprecedented rights for offshore drilling. They drilled the Arctic Circle. They killed 500,000 people in Syria to control the oil. They supported the fascist-led coup in Ukraine to secure fracking and pipeline rights in Eastern Ukraine.

Immigration

Trump is a racist bigot, demanding a wall to keep immigrants out while banning Muslim immigrants. Obama-Biden deported three million immigrants, more than any president in U.S. history before or since.

Criminal Justice

Trump and his Republicans are openly racist bigots. Obama, Biden and Clinton orchestrated “criminal justice” legislation that created the present-day near slave labor prison-industrial complex wherein the U.S. ranks first in the world in the number and percentage of its people in jail – the majority Black, Latinx and Native American.

Tax cuts and “economic stimulus packages”

During 2008-9 recession Obama’s Democrats, allied with the Republicans, engineered the largest corporate bailout and corporate economic stimulus package in U.S. history. During 2020 recession, Trump’s Republicans, joined at the hip with the Democrats, engineered the largest corporate bailout and corporate economic stimulus package in U.S. history. Again, the differences are important!

Unemployment

Using the U.S. Department of Labor’s “Labor Force Participation Rate,” under the Obama-Biden Democrats, the percentage of eligible workers without jobs stood at 35 percent. Under Trump’s Republicans, the figure today stands at 39 percent. Under both parties, today’s “employed” are increasingly part-time, low wage, “gig” or “casual” workers with few benefits or positive future prospects.

Labor rights

Under the Obama-Biden Democrats, labor rights, pensions, overall social services and the percentage of unionized workers declined to historic lows. Under Trump’s Republicans labor rights, pensions, overall social services and the percentage of unionized workers declined to historic lows.

Tax cuts for the rich

Under the Democrats, tax cut legislation for the rich reached new heights. Under the Republicans, tax cut legislation for the rich reached new heights.

Civil liberties

President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act that allowed the military to indefinitely detain without charges terrorist suspects, including American citizens arrested in the United States. Trump, using Obama’s legislation, threatened to deploy the military to do the same in Portland and other cities.

Top Democrats support Biden: Top Republicans support Biden

On August 20 a group of 73 former Republican national security officials and former Republican members of Congress issued a statement in support Joe Biden. Two weeks later, a group of nearly 100 former lawmakers called “Republicans and Independents for Biden” followed suit. The same for super PAC “43 Alumni for Biden,” which consists strictly of former members of the George W. Bush administration. Former NSA and CIA Director and Four Star Air Force General Michael Hayden, who authorized dragnet surveillance of millions of Americans under the rationale that the “unreasonable search and seizure” criteria of the 4thamendment had fluid meaning, and who misled Congress about the extent of the CIA’s torture of “terrorist” suspects, also joined the Biden team. John Negroponte, who served Republican administrations in various capacities including Deputy Secretary of State, Director of National Intelligence, Ambassador to Mexico, Honduras, and the U.N., also declared allegiance to Biden’s campaign. Negroponte served as Reagan’s Ambassador to Honduras (Nov. 1981-May 1985), where he helped orchestrate the covert and illegal funding of the Contra War against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government as well as the notorious Honduran death-squad Battalion 3-16 trained by both the CIA and FBI. My fact-checking arithmetic here tells me that Biden is a couple of points ahead of Trump in the warmongering supporter count. Just a detail!

Personality

Here the Democrats have a distinct advantage; Trump is an openly racist, sexist, anti-abortion, homophobic, warmongering, science-denying bigot. While Obama-Biden-Clinton were closeted racist, sexist, anti-abortion, homophobic, warmongering, science-denying bigots. My “lesser evil” friends might take issue with these last categorical assertions. I would respond that any serious fact checker will find that the rights of the oppressed, the rights of women, including the right to abortion, have been substantially diminished regardless of which billionaire party is in office. The same with warmongering and climate catastrophe, with the Democrats, a Cheshire cat grin always in place to beguile unwary observers, usually in lock step with the scowling Republicans.

Break with the twin parties of capital!

Today, and especially during capitalism’s election-time charade, as witnessed during the DNC and RNC orchestrated online hoopla, we see the drive to impose a Potemkin Village world, a “Truman Show” reality, a happy world of compliant citizens accepting the status quo without question. This charade is running on empty. The COVID-19 pandemic and the mass mobilizations of the nation’s most oppressed — often multi-racial mobilizations of youth — have exposed the horror of systemic U.S. racist brutality for all to see. The DNC media hucksters for four days posed themselves as the instant caring cure to remedy centuries of monstrous slavery and across-the-board capitalist racism and social oppression. The Republicans too had their cure, showcasing Trump’s family entourage and for a few minutes his one Black administration official, while blaming “violence” on “outside agitators” on the far left, socialists and antifa. Both parties lied with impunity to advance their wing of their predatory system into the White House.

That rapacious capitalism has no solutions to the multiple crises confronting humanity is testified to by the unprecedented millions in the streets crying out for justice, affirming Black Lives Matter, while denouncing capitalism’s systemic racism and its myriad inherent evils. The central task confronting socialists today is how best to win the confidence of and unify this newly-radicalizing generation toward a fundamental break with the twin racist-imperialist capitalist parties. For the first time in a long, long while, the fighting forces to do so are in motion as never before. They have appeared in the streets in unprecedented number – estimated at 15-26 million – and won the hearts and minds of tens of millions more. They carry with them the potential to achieve wondrous victories that can be coalesced in new and independent forms of struggle aimed at a direct challenge to capitalist rule, including the organization of a mass, independent Black political party and the rebirth of a fighting labor movement free from its current stifling bureaucracy and advancing on the class struggle road.

Jeff Mackler is a staffwriter for Socialist Action. He can be reached at jmackler@lmi.net  socialist action.org

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