Democrat election success feeds off resistance to Trump

A voter casting their ballot in the US midterms 2018

The US midterm elections are over. Cynics often joke that the United States has the finest democracy that money can buy. This year’s election cycle confirmed that, raising some $5.2bn – the largest amount ever raised for a midterm election. The Democrats raised $2.5bn and the Republicans $2.2bn. The remaining $450m was spent by third parties and independents. Women gave $300m to Democrats compared with $90m to Republicans. The securities and investment industry – the finance capitalists – contributed $329m, favouring Democrats 53% to 47% for Republicans.

Although not all precincts have yet tallied and counted all their ballots, the overall result is clear for most contests. Voter turnout was the highest for a midterm election in over 50 years. Nationally, the Democrats have taken control of the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, while Republicans still have control of the Senate. While this will make the ability of Trump to get any legislation passed much more difficult, the Republicans’ control of the Senate will allow them to control appointments, in particular of judges, and they will attempt to remake the judicial system by trying to move the judiciary politically to the right.

Over 100 women were elected to Congress. Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland became the first Native American women elected to the US Congress, while Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib became the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Democrat Stacey Abrams was running to become the nation and Georgia’s first black Governor, against Republican secretary of state, Brian Kemp – the man responsible for overseeing the conduct of the election, a blatant conflict of interest. Kemp has taken numerous steps to try to get votes invalidated or prevent them from being fully counted. The race is close, and Abrams has not yet conceded.

The wave of Democrat victories in the House is a clear result of all the activism undertaken by people, mainly young women, drawn in by the struggle against misogyny, which the President clearly symbolises. While this is obviously a good development, the negative side is that this is concentrating activism exclusively around the electoral process, rather than using the electoral process as just one facet of the struggle against women’s oppression. The same thing has happened to many of the young leaders thrown up by the Black Lives Matter movement, who have become co-opted by the Democrats and drawn away from militancy into the narrow constraints of purely electoral politics, instead of supplementing the BLM struggle with electoral activity. There is nothing that would please the Democratic Party more than to head off the resistance on the ground and to channel it into campaigning for a Democratic victory in the 2020 Presidential elections. The way forward is clearly to continue to build the resistance on all issues, using every useful tactic.

Steve Palmer