What Hath Trump Wrought?



Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.

— Macbeth

Mass protest demonstrations have been taking place across the United States after dangerous right wing billionaire Donald J. Trump unexpectedly defeated Hillary R. Clinton in the U.S. election Nov. 8. She was the first woman candidate of a major party to run for the presidency in the 227 years since American elections have been held.

The protests will continue indefinitely in one form or another and movements will develop over the next four years in strong opposition to the far right wing takeover of the White House, Congress and soon the Supreme Court. Both left and right will grow.

Many existing social programs that serve the interests of the people will be overturned. The police state will be strengthened. Racial minorities are justly worried about their safety and rights under a Trump regime. The rich, as usual, will get richer as the needs of the poor will be further neglected. The working class as a whole will be set back, despite the illusions of the white sector of that class who mistook Trump for a savior who would extricate them from decades of neglect, low wages and an increasingly stagnant way of life.

All this is a difference in degree, not kind, within the existing neocapitalist system. The right wing Republican party was horrendous well before this election. The far right takeover by Trump and his minions is not fascism. But it contains elements of proto-fascism. That is, it harbors fascist leanings in its ideology that in time could meld into the basis for full fascism under different circumstances. It must be fought with this in mind.

The reactionary Christian radical religious right wing strongly backed Trump and is represented in the new government by Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who will oversee all policies and programs. The alt-right is ecstaticabout the election outcome and is is well represented by Steve Bannan, Trump’s Chief Strategist.

The Democratic party is just beginning the process of reinventing itself after a humiliating defeat that basically repudiated the way it has governed from the center-right for decades — financed by and principally serving the interests of Wall Street, the big banks and the 1%.  The Economist magazine, a strong backer of Clinton during the campaign, noted with British pride that she was politically like a member of their Conservative party. At the same time of course the Democrats constitute the lesser evil to the far right in our restrictive two-party system.

At issue is the degree of change that is coming from the left. It may amount to quite little if the Democratic party establishment remains in control of the politics. The designation of New York Sen. Chuck Schumer to be the Senate Minority Leader is an unfavorable sign. The website Wall Street on Parade reported Nov. 17: “Schumer is considered the poster boy for Wall Street — as their mouthpiece for lax regulation and a reliable Senate confirmation vote for Wall Street cronies to lead regulatory agencies….”

Fight The Right

Why shouldn’t the Democrats fight the far right from at least the center-left and do something for the masses for a change? The forces around social democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders want this to happen. The Democrats were center-left for part of the 1930s and the 1960s under reformist Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lynden B. Johnson. These were periods of exceptional social reform. Some of these reforms and the impetus behind them  — a basic sense of caring about the people — were explicitly repudiated during the eight Bill Clinton years in the 1990s.”

Very little has been accomplished in the last eight years under Democrat Obama. Republican obstructionism was a factor but his center-right politics, pronounced anti-liberal bias and willingness to bend the knee to Republicans was another reason. Remember, he even offered to cut Social Security. As the Washington Post reported July 6, 2011: “Obama is pressing congressional leaders to consider a far-reaching debt-reduction plan that would force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican support for fresh tax revenue.”

Obviously, a new and fairly large left wing third party would shake things up, but it will take considerable left unity to do so, and that’s a rare happenstance. The last time a truly left Progressive party participated in a national presidential election was in 1948 when it gained 2.4% of the of the popular vote despite intense red-baiting. The party opposed the nascent Cold War with Russia, called for an end to Jim Crow segregation and sought equality for women.

While we have criticized Hillary Clinton politically — particularly for supporting U.S. global hegemony, regime change and war — we respected the importance of her intention to become America’s first woman president. It is certainly well past time. Misogynist Trump treated the first woman candidate for this office like trash. “Lying Hillary. Lock her up. Nasty woman.” His abuse of Clinton, backed by many of his benighted supporters, was shocking and unacceptable. And just because more women voted against her than for her doesn’t mean there’s no enormous constituency and an absolute need for a woman to seek and gain the highest office as soon as possible, either as a Democrat or third party candidate.

Clinton was not the only woman seeking the presidency. Of the others I’ll mention two. The Green party’s Jill Stein ran throughout the country and garnered 1% of the national tally with 1,310,929 votes. This is more than double her vote in 2012. Gloria LaRiva, the left socialist candidate of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (for whom I would have voted were she on the New York ballot) ran in California and seven other states. Votes are still being counted in California but her total so far is 64,918.

Historically, the Republican leadership was worse than the Democrats, managing to be overtly anti-working class without interruption for more than 100 years. They were as surprised as the Democrats when Trump, a former Democratic himself, entered that party’s primary and crushed at least 15 viable ultra-conservative opponents in a series of debates, including supposed front runner Jeb Bush. Trump had not thought he would win when vanity impelled him to enter the race but it quickly became apparent that a large white working class and white middle class GOP constituency was strongly behind him.

Left And Right Populism

Indeed, the two ruling class-approved parties were the subjects of two populist uprisings, one from the left, the other from the right. Populism arises in distressed societies where there is considerable discontent and opposition to the national leadership and its economic and political programs. In this case neither party had any intention of improving the appalling plight afflicting over half the population.

Left wing populism, such as the liberal uprising in the Democratic party led by Sanders, generally seeks to improve the lot of all the people in multinational America with concrete social and economic programs financed in part by taxing the excess wealth of the ultra-rich. It is not an anti-capitalist movement but it contains elements of democratic socialism, that could in time expand. After Bernie was defeated in the primary, Clinton proceeded to wage a conventional Democratic campaign with big money, big talk and big names but which hardly addressed the problems afflicting working people.

Right wing populism, such as the anti-liberal uprising for social change in the Republican Party, seeks to improve the lot of white American workers, who indeed have been exploited and pushed around for decades. This movement, however, shows no concern for the many millions of non-white workers experiencing even worse conditions. It is heavily imbued with racism against blacks and Latinos, with colossal misogyny, contempt toward immigrants and refugees of color, abhorrence toward the LGBTQ community, and with Christian prejudice against Muslims and a touch of anti-Semitism, among other deficits. The KKK and most extremist hate groups support and are part of this coalition directly or indirectly.

I am sure there are voters for Donald Trump who do not share any or many of these negative aspects but who believe he will at least take some action to alleviate the problems confronting workers.

This article will cover most of the details of Trump’s calamitous victory, including the fact that while at least 90% of his program is a racist, sexist, anti-gay assault on working people in the U.S., about 10% seems to contain positive aspects. This is because he rebelled against the Republican leadership and disregarded some of its favorite programs, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Also in this category is Trump’s expressed willingness to make peace with Russia, his critique of NATO, and inclination to end Washington’s support for regime change in Syria. Anti-imperialists support this aspect of Trump’s program as has this writer beginning years before Trump made his views known. I have deplored the bipartisan hatred of Russia and President Vladimir Putin a number of times in recent months out of a concern for the possibility of blundering into a war. For readers who have an interest in U.S.-Russian relations see the article in the September 26 Activist Newsletter titled  “Must They Be Enemies? Russia, Putin And The United States.” The article notes that both governments have shortcomings but that “There should be a closer relationship and far more cooperation between Washington and Moscow instead of ever greater hostilities that could eventually lead to a most regrettable conclusion.” (http://activistnewsletter.blogspot.com/2016/09/09-25-16-newsletter-russia.html)

The Telegraph (UK) reported Nov. 14: “Putin and Trump spoke for the first time today and vowed to establish a new relationship between the U.S. and Russia based on ‘mutual respect,’ the Kremlin has announced. The Russian president and U.S. president-elect agreed to ‘assess the current unsatisfactory state of bilateral relations,’ develop trade and economic ties and establish joint efforts to fight international terrorism.” Warhawk Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Nov. 15 that any attempt to “reset” relations with Russia is unacceptable.

Trump is alleged to have supported a working class uprising for better pay and jobs, but this is nonsense. He is a lifelong enemy of the working class. Trump exploited a spontaneous uprising of disgruntled white workers to attain power for himself. In the process he appealed to every vulgar instinct possible to convey the impression that their main problem derived principally from a decline in “white power” (during eight years of a black president), from workers of color, from Latino immigrants, from Muslims, from Syrian and other refugees, and from the rights of women, including the right to become president.

He also blamed the banks and Wall Street with about the same degree of sincerity required for him to declare, “This was locker-room banter,” instead of the braggadocio of a male supremacist serial molester.

Sen. Bernie Sanders likewise rebelled against the Democratic leadership, but with concrete liberal program including several social democratic elements, but lost the primary — and now he is back in a stronger position, not least because the party establishment has been weakened by the defeat of Hillary Clinton. In hindsight there is speculation that Sanders — who was passionately devoted to positive social change for the masses and had a program to prove it — may have defeated Trump’s far right Republicans. He probably would have received many votes that ended up in Trump’s camp. Bernie would have been red-baited and the target of anti-Semites, but this isn’t 1950s America when such prejudices could destroy a candidate.

The Main Reason This Happened

There are many reasons why Trump won the U.S. election and we will discuss them all. But the main reason is that various Democratic and Republican parties have systematically ignored for 40 years the mounting needs of an increasingly desperate working class, lower middle class, sections of the middle itself, and of course the millions of people who now are low income or poor.

Keeping in mind that one-tenth of the top one percent of American families possess almost the same household wealth as the bottom 90%,  read these figures:

In 2014 — and the statistics are about the same or worse this year — 38% percent of all American workers made less than $20,000 a year; 51% of all earned less than $30,000; 62% received less than  $40,000; 71% of all earned less than $50,000.

Referring to the 51% majority of Americans who occupy the lowest two categories, Oxfam America puts it this way:

“Today, millions of Americans do arduous work in jobs that pay too little and offer too few benefits. They serve food, clean offices, care for the young and elderly, stock shelves, and deliver pizza. They work these jobs year after year, while caring for their children and parents, trying to save for college, and paying their bills. And yet despite their best efforts, these low-wage workers fall further and further behind.

“In the past 35 years, the very rich have seen an astronomical increase in income, while the middle class and low-wage workers have seen their wages stagnate or even decline. As this divide has grown, the wealthiest people and companies have gained disproportionate power in our economy and our government; low-wage workers have seen their access to power and their ability to influence dwindle.”

The Democratic party remained functionally indifferent to this growing reality for four decades until last year when independent Sanders became one of six Democratic candidates seeking the nomination. He soon began amassing millions of primary votes from liberals long suppressed by a party establishment determined to nominate Hillary R. Clinton, of whom President Obama insisted at the Democratic convention that there was “nobody more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.”

Clinton swiftly and opportunistically adopted a number of Bernie’s programs even though she opposed them until that moment and in my opinion had no intention to seriously fight for them when elected. Party leaders sought to undermine Sanders’ campaign, as the Wikileaks documents showed. They had no desire to oppose Wall Street and the big corporations that were going to heavily bankroll her primary and election campaigns, as they did the two terms of her predecessor, Obama.

In the end voters didn’t believe the widely distrusted and strongly disliked center-right Clinton would change the intolerable status quo.

Historic Reasons

There is a long history behind these current developments. Between the end of World War II in 1945 to about the mid-70s there were sufficient jobs, unions were relatively strong and pay and benefits were basically acceptable for most workers. Then began the reversal — by design. Big capitalist corporations decided the unions were too strong and workers were taking home too much pay. They then separated pay raises from increases in productivity, which had been more or less keeping pace for 30 years, and cut back on new benefits. The White House and Congress contributed with an unwillingness to create important new social service programs that benefit working people.

By the time the Great Recession started in late 2008 scores of millions of Americans were experiencing depressed economic straits. Over 4 million families then lost their homes before it ended. Obama dithered about the problem but hardly did anything for the most afflicted. The biggest government program was to bail out the banks. No big banker, corporate boss or Wall Street hedge fund manager ever went to jail for causing the recession, but the working class paid a terrible price.

At that point many people began to wise up. They heard about the 1%, the big bonuses, and the CEO salaries. The new jobs were scarce, and pay was low. They realized that the factories where workers made things were gone for good due to trade deals that created billions in profits for U.S. corporations paying a pittance to foreign workers in several countries. Workers held their anger back and reelected President Obama in 2012. But nothing changed. This year members of both parties demanded change.

No one can predict what’s next and next after that, but more surprises are on the way. The political left and progressive forces had best get their act together and work in relative concert toward defeating the far right, winning over and enlightening a sector of the white working class now backing Trump, and pushing the Democratic party as far left as possible.

Trump has modified some of his rhetoric in an act of deception to appear “presidential,” the way a growling dog emits tranquil tones when offered a juicy slab of meat. President Obama evidently served the slab in his historic meeting with Trump in the White House Nov.10 when he declared: “I want to emphasize to you, Mr. President-elect, that we now are going to do everything we can to help you succeed because if you succeed then the country succeeds.”

Succeed in what? He plans to attain as many reactionary goals as possible — from ending all measures to reduce global warming, to terrorizing immigrants and Muslims, to legalizing torture, ending the right to abortion and breaking the Iran agreement — and that’s just the beginning. The President-elect was so flattered by what he construed to be the president’s public surrender to his self-promoted significance that he promised to retain one or two provisions of Obamacare while he destroys the rest and announced he would also include some smaller fences along with his huge wall between Mexico and the U.S.

Obama continued his ruminations on Trump when he told reporters Nov. 14: “I think it’s important for us to let him make his decisions…. I think the American people will judge, over the course of the next couple of years, whether they like what they see and whether these are the kinds of policies and this is the direction that they want to see the country going… I think he’s going to try as best he can to make sure that he delivers not only to the people who voted for him but for the people at large.”

What are we to make of this?  Tens of millions of Democratic and left voters have been listening to this uncouth narcissist for a year and a half and are well aware that most of his program amounts to a vicious right wing attack on our ever-withering democracy. Why should they sit back calmly and wait to see how all turns out over the next four years?

The First 100 Days

Trump’s original plan for his first 100 days in office starting Jan. 20 has undergone some revision, with certain programs moved back and others forward; Here is how it was a month ago: Take away almost all of Obamacare insurance from millions Americans. Nominate a Supreme Court justice who will vote to end legal abortion. Pass new libel laws targeting critical journalists. Begin mass deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants, starting with over 2 million alleged criminals. Enact national “stop-and frisk” laws. Prosecute and potentially jail Hillary Clinton.

The impending regime also has its eye on nullifying or gravely weakening a number of President Obama’s executive orders and departmental rules early in first term if possible. These include at least four environmental and energy measures, Dodd-Frank regulations, overtime pay for somewhat higher earning workers, Labor Department’s rules requiring federal contractors to disclose past labor violations when they compete for government business, a ban on mandatory arbitration, rules on payday loans and debt cards, Net neutrality, menu labels, and expanded tobacco rules.

Judging by Trump’s selection of top officials and advisers he has every intention of fulfilling most of the program he campaigned about. Were Shakespeare designated to describe the president-elect’s top seven executives named so far he would undoubtedly turn to his playMacbeth for the appalling ingredients in the witch’s brew being steeped where “Fire burn and caldron bubble” in the dark of night at Trump Tower:

Wool of bat: Steve Bannan, Trump’s Chief Strategist, the wealthy alt-right extremist and former head of Breitbart News, known for his adherence to white nationalist ideology, anti-Semitism, anti-Islamic attitudes, rudeness toward women and more. Of Bannan, Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi observed: “There must be no sugarcoating the reality that a white nationalist has been named chief strategist for the Said Michael Keegan, president of People for the American Way: “By choosing Bannan… Trump has made clear that he intends to carry the racism and anti-Semitism of his campaign straight into the White House.”

Tongue of dog: Reince Priebus, Trump’s Chief of Staff, former head of the Republican Party who is considered a go-between the new party leadership and the old. Supposedly they are co-equals.

Lizard’s leg: Vice President-elect Mike Pence is the fanatical Christian fundamentalist governor of Indiana, and a far right conservative who will do most of the administration’s work while Trump — who is mostly ignorant of the issues and solutions and who has a very short attention span — gives orders.

Howlet’s wing: House Speaker Paul Ryan, a far right wing ideologue who will share the work of running the government with Pence. He is most anxious to privatize Medicare.

Adder’s Fork (the forked tongue of a snake): Warhawk Rep. Mike Pompeo, a right wing extremist who advocates the use of torture to extract information from prisoners, will now head the CIA.

Toe of frog: Extreme warhawkJohn Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is under consideration as the next Secretary of State. On Nov. 17 he called for the U.S. to overthrow the existing government in Iran.

Fillet of a fenny snake. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a well known racist, will become the next Attorney General. The Nov. 18 Times reported that George Washington University Professor Jonathan Turley said: “The Justice Department is likely to be one of the most transformed departments in the cabinet in a Trump administration, and with an Attorney General Sessions, you’d obviously see a very strong law-and-order figure at the top,”

Waiting impatiently in the wings for some kind power job are:

  1. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Even though he is the President-elect’s boot-licker par excellence he seems to have been sabotaged by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, who evidently was behind Christie’s firing as chief of the transition team. As a prosecutor, Christie had sent Mr. Kushner’s criminal father to jail.
  1. Newt Gingrich, a hard core rightist who served as House Speaker during part of the Bill Clinton administration in the 1990s, is now awaiting Trump’s decision to name him to a high Cabinet post — or not.
  1. Rudy Giuliani, the former Mayor of New York City and a prosecutor is an extreme authoritarian said to be — according to the Nov. 14 Washington Post —  “a man whose career has been marked by prosecutorial excesses, knee-jerk defenses of abusive cops and an affinity for using the power of his political offices to get vengeance on his enemies.” He wants to be Secretary of State the the odds are heavily against him.

An article in the Nov. 13 New York Times described the extreme importance of these leading appointees: “Trump comes into office with no elective-office experience, no coherent political agenda and no bulging binder of policy proposals. And he has left a trail of inflammatory, often contradictory, statements on issues from immigration and race to terrorism and geopolitics. In such a chaotic environment, serving a president who is in many ways a tabula rasa, the appointees to key White House jobs like chief of staff and cabinet posts like secretary of state, defense secretary and Treasury secretary could wield outsize influence.”

Liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren noted Nov. 16: “Trump ran a campaign that lambasted Wall Street and the established financial elites — but his transition team is chock full of lobbyists and corporate insiders.”

Thomas Piketty, the internationally eminent economist, summed up Trump’s program this way in Le Monde Nov. 12: “Trump’s victory is primarily due to the explosion in economic and geographic inequality in the United States over several decades and the inability of successive governments to deal with this. The tragedy is that Trump’s program will only strengthen the trend towards inequality. He intends to abolish the health insurance laboriously granted to low-paid workers under Obama and to set the country on a headlong course into fiscal dumping, with a reduction from 35% to 15% in the rate of federal tax on corporation profits, whereas to date the United States had resisted this trend, already witnessed in Europe.”

Trump has put forward a privately financed infrastructure plan “to rebuild America” and provide jobs. This sounds good, but the financing and most of the details are missing. Hillary Clinton’s less expensive plan was to be financed by the government. Trump is a famous builder but he also exaggerates an has little use for the truth, so it is best to wait for full information to become available.

Business writer Faisal Hoque wrote Nov. 17 that “within his first 100 days in the Oval Office, Trump has vowed that he’ll not only introduce but sign into law a bill intended to pump $1 trillion in private investment into rebuilding the nation’s roads, bridges, tunnels, and airports. The plan would offer $137 billion in federal tax credits over the next decade to support those development projects and impose a ‘repatriation’ fee meant to lure back corporate profits parked overseas — a strategy similar to the one Obama has unsuccessfully lobbied Congress to support, and which Clinton had endorsed as well.”  Theoretically, this project will create hundreds of thousands of jobs. Obviously, this is not a Republican party plan and there is no certainty it will be successful or even get off the ground.

Trump has also said he would not change Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid — all of which are usual GOP targets. This, too, has to be carefully watched. According to Dave Johnson writing Nov. 17 in Our Future.org: “Now that the election is over things are different. Trump is freed from having to say what voters want to hear. Republicans are talking about privatizing Medicare and replacing it with vouchers to purchase private insurance. (In other words, they want to turn it into programs that work the same as the Obamacare they are vowing to eliminate.) The Republican platform calls for a ‘premium support’ for Medicare, also known as ‘vouchers.’ Under this system the government’s role is eliminated and people get an ‘income-adjusted’ voucher to use to buy private insurance — privatization. Income adjusted means the guarantee of health care for all goes away. The voucher would not necessarily be enough to actually buy a private policy.”

According to Dr. Margaret Flowers, a full-time advocate for a state and federal single-payer health care system, “opening the sale of health insurance across state lines may lower prices (as Trump suggested), but at the expense of coverage. Block grants for Medicaid mean states will sacrifice coverage in times of economic stress.”

Trump is coming under scrutiny for what Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen,
called Nov. 17 “The Most Blatant Conflicts of Interest in the History of American Politics.” He continued: “As the owner of numerous companies spanning the entire globe, Donald Trump could take office with what might well be the most blatant conflicts of interest in the history of American politics.
The scope of Trump’s empire means that his businesses are impacted by a wide range of government policies, including taxes, consumer protection, civil justice, financial regulation, employee rights, foreign policy and much more.

Trump has proposed transferring control to a misnamed “blind trust” under the direction of his children. That’s more like an all-seeing trust! It would do nothing to eliminate the staggering conflicts of interest. Making matters still worse is that it is apparent that his children will be heavily involved in administration policy making.
The American people need to know that Trump is not running the government to benefit his own corporate empire…. The only solution to this problem – the commonsense solution – is for President-Elect Donald Trump to divest his business holdings.”

Ignoring Climate Change

Trump absurdly claims that the very notion of climate change is a Chinese plot to harm American business interests. He has pledged to withdraw from the Paris agreement by about 200 countries to increasingly replace fossil fuels with renewable sources of energy. In January he will be the only head of state in the world who remains a climate denier.

In contrast, Science Daily reported Nov. 10: “Changes in temperature due to human-induced climate change have already impacted every aspect of life on Earth from genes to entire ecosystems, with increasingly unpredictable consequences for humans — according to a new study published in the journal Science. The study found a staggering 80% of 94 ecological processes that form the foundation for healthy marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems already show signs of distress and response to climate change. Impacts to humans include increased pests and disease outbreaks, reduced productivity in fisheries, and decreasing agriculture yields.”

The UN Climate Change Conference in Morocco that ended Nov. 18 was shaken by the election but remained determined to move forward. Trump won’t find it easy to attain his goal. Many big U.S. corporations have awakened to the danger of climate change and are challenging his intentions.

For example, Trump obtained a large amount of votes from unemployed and desperate miners after he promised to “end the war on coal,” implying that the Obama administration was at fault. Actually, according to Laura Bliss writing in CityLab Nov. 17: “Trump wants to ‘end the war on coal,’ the most climate-unfriendly of all fossil fuels, but the energy market probably won’t let him. In the past two years, wind and solar power have become juggernauts on the energy scene. Prices on these sources have fallen dramatically, enough so that they’re competitive with ‘dirty’ fuels like oil and coal. Capacity for wind electricity generation grew more than 100% between 2009 and 2015 — growth that is projected to continue, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. Solar grew more than 900%. of all the new capacity added to the grid in 2015, nearly one third was solar.”

Clinton, of course, received up to 2 million more votes than Trump and in effect won the popular election — but that isn’t how it works in America. The elitist Electoral College intermediary, based on the state votes and not the national vote, first took effect in the election of 1789 and is still the constitutional law despite being totally out of date. It provides for the indirect election of the president with the states determining how many votes the electors have. Four presidential candidates in history, including Clinton and Democrat Al Gore in 2000, lost with vote majorities. The undemocratic nature of the U.S. system is well known and should be changed.

Almost half the eligible voters in U.S. did not vote. New York Times reporter Michael Wines noted Nov. 13: “So few Americans cast ballots that a new president was elected by barely 25% of registered voters. Some of those who did vote waited in line for hours. Others were told they needed an ID to vote under a law the courts had nullified months ago — and sometimes, under laws that never existed to begin with.

“Amid the ruins of the ugliest presidential campaign in modern history, Democrats are bemoaning an election apparatus so balky and politically malleable that throngs of would-be voters either gave up trying to cast ballots or cast ones that were never counted.

“This was the first presidential election in a half century that was held without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Voting rights advocates spent the year in court battling, with incomplete success, to roll back restrictions on the franchise enacted by Republican legislatures in state after state.”

The most important undemocratic aspect of American elections remains the billion dollars or more contributed to the presidential candidates by a relative handful of donors from the 1% ruling class, corporate and banking leaders and Wall St. They mainly determine who wins and who loses the White House, Congress and many state contests.

Jack A. Smith, editor of the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter at http://activistnewsletter.blogspot.com/, who may be reached at [email protected].

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