Since the beginning of the US election campaign, there has been a great interest about its results worldwide. In the last mile of the election, the Covid pandemic started a new growth, the economy had signs of recovery in the 3rd quarter and the polarization and division of the country intensified, which could take the result of the election to the US Supreme Court.
Trump’s nationalist geopolitics undermines American prestige
In 2016 Donald Trump was elected with a clear geopolitical definition: “America (US) first”. This meant a clear option for nationalist populism and a disregard for the neoliberal multilateralism of its predecessors. Under the Trump administration, the United States withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement, boycotted the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body, questioned NATO’s role, demanding greater contributions from member countries, and also withdrew from the World Health Organization in the middle of the pandemic.
As a result of Trump’s foreign policy, the prestige of the American government among his allies has fallen to very low levels. According to the Pew Research Center, the average distrust of Donald Trump in 13 allied countries, including Germany, France, the UK, Spain, Canada, Japan, South Korea and others, reached 83%. This situation does not satisfy the majority of the American bourgeoisie, because it hinders their dispute for the world market with China, particularly at this time of worsening of the economic crisis.
American foreign policy with Trump moved away from the 2017 national security strategy (NSS), which had to tackle terrorism as a priority, and started to confront states, particularly powerful ones like Russia and, mainly, China, which are considered the biggest threats to US global hegemony. It can be said that this strategy, especially in relation to China, initiated by Obama, although not escalated to national security level (NSS), shown results across the country: 73% of Americans see the Asian country in a negative way. In 2017 this rate was at 47%. Another initiative of American foreign policy was that the NSS framed Iran, North Korea and, also, Venezuela as countries included in the “evil axis”.
Trump’s promise to “stop the endless wars” has not been delivered. There are indeed fewer military conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, but there are still American troops in those countries. In the South China Sea, the route for 30% of world maritime trade, the presence of the USA has intensified even further, causing strong regional skirmishes. In his confrontation with North Korea, Trump failed to end the Korean nuclear testing and further increased Kim Jong-un’s prestige. In Latin America, Trump’s policy of attempting to overthrow the government of Nicolás Maduro was an important failure, even with the support of the main imperialist powers and most Latin American governments, such as the Brazilian Bolsonaro. In the Middle East, Trump increased even more the unconditional support for Israel and has sought to form an anti-Iran axis among the countries in the region.
Under Trump, the protection of American jobs, in addition to an alleged protection policy for the US industries, which brought down existing trade agreements, was marked by a xenophobic persecution of immigrants, promoting the building of the wall on the Mexican border, separating parents and children who illegally entered the United States, preventing communication between families, sending hundreds of children to Mexico unaccompanied by their parents or guardians, and making it difficult for the Muslim citizens to enter in the United States.
The double health and economic crisis and the anti-racist uprising turn Biden into favourite
From all perspectives of the electoral possibilities’ evaluation, Biden appears as a favourite. So it is in polls, where Biden has 52% of voters’ preference, against 43% for Trump. Biden is also a favourite at the electoral college, as analyses project 290 delegates for Biden (the winner needs 270 votes to get elected) and 125 for Trump. There are still 123 delegates in dispute, in the so-called “swing states”, where the voters’ vote fluctuates between the Democratic and Republican Party in each presidential election. In these states the advantage between Biden and Trump is much closer, with a statistical tie between both in most of them.
Before the pandemic, the American electoral scenario was quite different. Trump enjoyed popular support based on a sustainable economic growth for 10 years in a row, which guaranteed a very low unemployment rate of 3.5%, the lowest in 70 years. Everything indicated that Trump was the favourite to be re-elected.
However, everything changed with the arrival of the Coronavirus in the country. Today, the USA is in the first place in the world in number of people infected, and in death toll. There are already more than 9 million people infected, and the country is already experiencing a second wave of contagion, with 100,000 cases notified on October 30, a record of new cases in a single day. The deaths already sum up to 229,672 people, mostly black and Latino women and men. This tragedy in the largest imperialist country, which has unlimited resources, is the sole responsibility of Donald Trump, who did not face the pandemic, preferring to spread mistrust in science and producing an avalanche of fake news, since his option was for profit above life. That shot backfired. Polls show that only 21% of the people rate Trump’s performance as positive in tackling the pandemic. We must not forget that health in the USA is private, which means that millions of poor Americans cannot afford adequate treatment without incurring huge debts for the rest of their lives.
The economy showed signs of recovery this week, with the announcement of a relative GDP growth of 7.4% in the third quarter, compared to the 9% drop in the second quarter of this year. This growth was driven by the strong ramp up in consumption (40.7% in the annualized rate), thanks to the stimulus programs, which today benefit 23 million Americans.
Even with this positive economic result, many analysts say it is too early for any celebration. First because the economists’ assessment is that the economy will slow down until 2021, as some structural problems persist: an increase in Covid 19 cases and deaths, which caused a drop in stock markets worldwide, and an unemployment rate of 7.9 % or 12.6 million people, in addition to another 6.3 million who are part-time due to the economic crisis. Unemployment among the black population is at 12.1%. According to market analysts, the recovery of jobs in the US will take at least 16 months to return to the level it was before the pandemic.
The anti-racist uprising is the third and most important element that hampers Trump’s re-election. Anti-racist protests began in May, in reaction to the assassination of George Floyd. Led by the Black Lives Matter agenda, the demonstrations spread throughout the United States with the support and participation of the non-black population, reaching more than 2,000 cities in 60 countries, and by July it is estimated that between 15 and 26 million people took part on these mobilizations in the USA.
The lesson learned on the streets and in struggles like the education strikes, the women’s march against Trump, the fight against Amazon is far from over. With each new act of police violence against the black population in the US, the demonstrations start again. These mobilizations won important partial victories such as the revision of police conduct and the end of police immunity, generating numerous proposals for Law at the municipal, state and federal levels, which, if approved, will make a profound restructuring of the American police forces.
The growing pandemic, the slowly recovering economy and the working class mobilized against racism, make Biden the most likely winner of the November 3 elections. However, no one dares to state categorically that Trump is already defeated. Firstly, because the elections in the USA are indirect, and polls point to a lack of definition between the two candidates in the key states (with a slight advantage for Biden), with a greater number of delegates at the Electoral College.
Secondly, because the good performance of the economy in the third quarter may influence a large portion of Americans who see this topic as the main issue in the country. The effects of stimulus received by unemployed Americans cannot be ruled out. Let’s remember the effect of the Auxilio Emergencial (Emergency Aid) in Brazil on Bolsonaro’s increasing popularity.
Third, because although more than 85 million people have already voted anticipatedly, out of a total of around 233 million voters, getting voters to go to the polls is a struggle for all candidates in each election, as the voting is not mandatory in the US. In this respect Trump has an advantage over Biden, since Republican voters, in general, are more likely to turn out at the polls, although in the 2020 elections, the majority of those who voted in advance are Democratic voters. Traditionally, states with a republican majority make it difficult for black voters to register, because they vote mostly for the Democratic Party. It was not by chance that Democrats put Kamala Harry, a black woman and immigrant, as Biden’s deputy, and elected the black vote call as one of the main points of their campaign.
Finally, the most likely hypothesis is that given the great polarization in this year’s elections, the process will go to the courts in several states, which could postpone the proclamation of the winner if it reaches the Supreme Court, where Trump has a comfortable majority of 9 x 3. Let us not forget that Trump places conditions on accepting the electoral result and has made severe attacks on voting, as in the case of votes by the Post Office, in which he affirms the risk of fraud by Democrats.
No confidence in Joe Biden or the Democrats’ government
Trump’s defeat is a great victory. Every activist in the world wants to get rid of Trump as soon as possible. After all, Trump’s defeat, if not destroying the spread of neo-fascism in the world, will greatly weaken far-right organizations and governments. It is understandable that Biden’s victory will bring joy and relief to various sectors of the masses around the world. We understand the sympathy that a future Biden-Harris government represents, in the face of the fascist threat that Trump represents. However, we must not deposit illusions in a possible Biden administration.
Biden and Trump are different in the way of governing, because they represent different fractions and interests of the imperialist bourgeoisie. But, from a strategic point of view, to resolve capitalist crises, they do and pursue what every bourgeois government does: attacks to the rights of the working class. It cannot be forgotten that Biden has the support of the largest economic groups in the country and, for example, has already declared himself against the gratuitousness of health or the dismantling of the police as claimed by the social movements in the US. A future Biden government is the chance for the American imperialist bourgeoisie to reunite to dispute the post-pandemic world hegemony, and to better attack the working class, in the USA and worldwide. Biden will make an imperialist and racist government and, therefore, against the working class.
We should expect a geopolitical change with Biden, that would return to multilateralism, seeking a rapprochement with the European Union, would bring the United States back to international agreements and organizations abandoned by Trump, such as the WHO or the Paris Agreement. Some analysts say the relationship with China would make little difference compared to Trump, as the essence of hostilities lies in the fact that China is a strong competitor to the U.S.’s leading global role. This is what underlies the conflicts. It is not by chance that the confrontation with China was started by Obama. Regarding Israel, Biden categorically stated that he will continue with unconditional support for the Zionist state.
In regarding to Venezuela, the policy would be essentially the same: defeat Maduro’s government, in order to be able to materialize the imperialist plans to take possession of Venezuelan wealth such as oil and ores, intensifying the blockade policies to the country, but for the time being, removing the threats of a military invasion on the Venezuelan territory. The relationship with Brazil, despite possible differences with Bolsonaro in the political approach, must be friendly in the economic field, since Brazil is one of the largest economies in the world, and the US needs to recover the lost trade positions for China, which today is Brazil’s main partner.
Thus, from the point of view of the working class, a Democratic or Republican government will be no different when it comes to attacking our rights, wages, jobs, and provoking wars when it comes to defending business in the face of the capitalist crisis. In the same way, it will not put an end to the oppression and destruction of the planet, which are direct products of capitalism. In the oppression and exploitation of the majority of the world population and our planet, the unity of the imperialist bourgeois governments presses to guarantee their global interests and that of their companies.
Our confidence and hope are deposited in the anti-capitalist struggles of the millions of workers, women, in black, white and Latin youth who took to the streets the fight against racism, fascism, misogyny, LGBTphobia, which wants to guarantee the right to health, employment and income, and in defence of the climate. We hope that these struggles will develop and build a political option independent of the exploited and oppressed in the USA, overcoming bipartisanship in the world’s most powerful economy.