Part of an ongoing debate on US politics. Click here to read all the other contributions
A fundamental issue in our debate is the class character of the Democrats. Both the NC position from October 2020 and the “US politics and Trump” resolution state that the Democratic party is a bourgeois party of big business, primarily an electoral machine for those interests. The Democrats are clearly a major party of the US capitalist class. This is clear from the evidence:
As of 2021, the Democrats hold:
· The presidency, vice presidency and executive of the US government
· 222 out of 435 House of Representative seats in Congress
· 50 of the 100 seats in the Senate
· 23 out of 50 state governors
· A majority in 37 of the 100 state legislatures.
Before Biden’s victory, the Democrats held the presidency for:
· Six of the previous ten years
· Sixteen of the previous thirty years
· Forty-eight of the last 100 years.
The Democrat primaries for the presidency were the most expensive individual candidate campaigns ever. Biden spent $165 million and won the contest as the fifth highest spender. Michael Bloomberg spent more than $1 billion. Billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer spent $340 million. Bernie Sanders spent $200 million.
In the 2020 presidential election, Biden spent the most of any candidate in US history. His campaign spent $1.6 billion, exceeding Donald Trump by roughly $200 million. Fundraising for Senate races reached record levels in 2020, with the Democrats raising $809 million (Source: OpenSecrets).
Biden received funding from at least 131 billionaires, a third more than the billionaires backing Trump. The top ten donors included hedge funders, venture capitalists, shopping mall operators, real estate magnates, tech investors and media. Murdoch gave Biden $1.6 million (Source: Forbes).
If these facts are true, then any tactical socialist intervention into the Democrats will go against the grain of this party. Capitalist wealth and state power will set tight limits on what is possible, the risks and the likely outcome. An orientation to such a bourgeois party must be very much the exception to the norm of standing working class candidates. Any comrade who wants to vote for or intervene in the Democrats has to justify how this tactic – at the current juncture and for the period ahead – is consistent with the third camp tradition of independent working class political representation.