The Fog that Blinded the 2014 Electorate

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by: Rick Nagin

People’s World, November 7 2014

assets/Uploads/_resampled/CroppedImage6060-Nagin2.jpgThere were local and geographical peculiarities, but when an election was as uniformly one-sided as this one was, deeper explanations are required. In the most general sense it can be said that the electorate does not yet recognize or understand that the enemy they face is right wing extremism; that this is the fundamental source of the insecurity they feel as their living standards and democratic rights are besieged. It is the Republicans, not the Democrats, who have blocked programs to create jobs, raise wages, strengthen unions, who have cut taxes on the rich and shifted the burden to working people, who have slashed funds for education, health care and local government services, who have launched an unprecedented assault on the right to vote, on the rights of women, on equality for gay people, on immigration reform and on defending humanity from a climate catastrophe.

All this begs the question as to why the people were not able perceive the mortal danger from the right. The answer to this, I believe, was the ability of the right to unleash unprecedented resources to roll out a dense fog, as thick as pea soup that covered the South, blanketed the Midwest and reached even into the far recesses of New England, a fog that terrified, blinded and paralyzed the Democrats and had them running for cover. It was the fog of racism.

The demonization of President Barack Obama and, by extension, the Democrats who "voted with him," has been building for years in the nether world of right wing hate talk radio and Fox News and was unleashed full force in this election. Since it is forbidden to mention racism in polite company, the corporate media referred to the GOP strategy as the "nationalization" of the election. Tom Cotton, GOP candidate for senator in Arkansas, avoided state issues but used Obama’s name 79 times in his televised debate with Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor.

The most notorious use of this tactic, as well as the classic capitulation of the liberal Democrats was in Kentucky where Allison Lundergan Grimes responded to Mitch McConnell’s relentless race baiting by first saying she was a "Clinton" (i.e. not an Obama) Democrat," then by protesting in a debate that "Obama is not on the ballot" and finally by refusing to say whether she had voted for Obama in the presidential election.

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A Few Quick Thoughts on the November 4th Election

By Bill Fletcher, Jr

http://billfletcherjr.com

(1) There is almost always a low turnout during a midterm election and the party which controls the White House tends to lose.  This is definitely true but should not let us off the hook.

(2) The Democratic base largely stayed home except in certain important races, such as in North Carolina.  I think that we have to face the reality that the base that would be expected to vote Democratic was dis-spirited.  It is not just the ads that the Republicans ran.  The Obama administration has not led in a progressive direction.  There are certainly some major accomplishments, but there had been great expectations by many that after the 2012 election he would come out swinging.  I never had such expectations, but many people did.  Instead the administration continued to be stuck in various crises but also was not articulating a clear direction.  The Republicans were able to make Obama out to be the problem despite certain important facts, e.g., the economy has improved; troops had been pulled out of Iraq.

(3) Though the economy has improved, the condition for the average working person has not.  Yes, unemployment is down but we are still dealing with structural unemployment that is weighing on everyone.  The damage from the foreclosure crisis is far from over.  And the rich are the ones who are benefiting from the improved economy.   To turn any of this around masses of working people need to be organized to fight for a division of the wealth.  Yes, that means building and supporting labor unions.  But when the President does not make that a clarion call–except when speaking with union members–he has no answer to the public that is asking for their share.

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NYC Workers Target Walmart in $15 Hourly Wage Fight

By Pat Fry

Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism

Oct 18, 2014 – The fight for a $15 minimum hourly wage escalated in the streets of New York City Oct 17 with several hundred union and community allies demanding the right to organize and a living wage.

The two largest retail workers’ unions joined forces in support of organizing drives at Walmart, a campaign supported by the UFCW and Zara’s, a national women’s clothing store chain, where workers are organizing a union of the RWDSU.

The march in midtown Manhattan stopped at Zara’s across from Bloomingdale’s Dept Store whose workers are represented by RWDSU and delivered petitions to management in support of the union campaign.

The protesters then marched to the Park Avenue address of Alice Walton, heiress to the Walmart fortune – worth an estimated $35 billion. In front of Walton’s posh penthouse building, protesters chanted, “Alice, Alice, You Can’t Hide – We Can See Your Greedy Side.”

A delegation attempted to deliver 1,600 signatures on a petition in support of Walmart workers. Then in planned civil disobedience several workers and supporters sat in the street until they were taken away by police.

The campaign now is gearing up for another Black Friday protest at Walmart stores around the country on Nov. 28, the biggest shopping day of the year “to hold Walmart and the Walton family publicly accountable for their poor treatment of Walmart workers!”