[Marxism] Fwd: The Republicans Have Been Trumped | Jacobin

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Oct 14 14:55:32 MDT 2016

(Interesting article from Charles Post but I am afraid he like most 
leftists takes Trump at his word that he is hostile to the neoliberal 
agenda. Those rants against NAFTA, etc. have about as much value as 
Nixon's vows that he would bring peace to Vietnam.)

For over eighty years, the reformist left in the United States has 
sought to transform one of the capitalist parties into a “people’s” 
party. Both the Communist Party’s popular front strategy and the 
social-democratic strategy of “realignment” (formulated by the brilliant 
ex-Marxist Max Shachtman) sought to transform the Democratic Party. The 
Democrats, through the 1950s, were a coalition of urban real estate 
developers, Jewish and Catholic capitalists, and southern planters who 
enjoyed the voting support of northern industrial workers, black and 
white, middle-class liberals, and most southern whites.

The reformists’ goal was to drive out the conservative, pro-capitalist 
elements — especially the Dixiecrats — leaving the labor officialdom and 
middle-class liberals to dominate a “labor-liberal” Party. As Paul 
Heideman recently pointed out in a recent essay in Jacobin, there was a 
realignment in the Democratic Party in the 1970s — but not the one the 
reformists hoped for. The southerners abandoned the Democrats for the 
Republicans, but with urban growth the non–White Anglo-Saxon Protestant 
(WASP) capitalists were joined by new capitalists in high technology and 
the media, and an increasingly neoliberal urban middle class. Rather 
than becoming a labor-liberal party, the Democrats moved sharply right 
in the 1980s as the official leaders of the labor, civil rights, and 
women’s movements were marginalized.

Today, we are seeing a realignment within the oldest party of industrial 
capitalism in the United States — the Republicans. The party 
establishment — those with the closest historic ties to old-line, WASP 
manufacturers, bankers, and financiers — have lost control of the party 
to a right-wing populist, Donald Trump.

Since the 1960s, the mass voter base of the Republican Party has been 
made up primarily of older, suburban, white middle-class small 
businesspeople, professionals, and managers, many of whom are 
self-described Christian fundamentalists, and a minority of older white 
workers, including a minority of union households. Until recently, the 
party’s base’s particular passions — especially its hostility to the 
democratic gains of people of color, women, and LGBT people — could be 

Minor concessions to the social conservatives on abortion, affirmative 
action, voter restrictions, and same-sex marriage/legal equality 
maintained their loyalty, while capitalists set the substantive 
neoliberal agenda for the Republicans (and the Democrats as well). As in 
the Democratic Party, the noncapitalist elements of the Republican 
coalition were clearly junior partners to capital.

In 2016, a radical, right-wing, middle-class insurgency that began in 
the wake of the world economic crisis of 2007–8 has displaced, at least 
temporarily, the hegemonic capitalists in the Republican Party. Donald 
Trump’s nomination as the Republican presidential candidate is the most 
recent act of a struggle for the leadership of the party that began in 
the aftermath of the global recession and the election of Barack Obama 
and Democratic majorities in both the US House and Senate.

While capital did push back against the first wave of middle-class 
radicalism in the Republican Party — the Tea Party — during the 2014 
Congressional elections, these rebels were not vanquished. In fact, they 
have become even more radically nationalist and populist, imposing a 
presidential candidate hostile to the neoliberal agenda.


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