Democrats’ 2020 campaign takes aim at workers’ rights

By Terry Evans
February 18, 2019

The minute the 2018 midterm elections wound down, the 2020 presidential election campaign — as well as contests for state and city offices in 2019 — got going full speed. As one Democratic aspirant after another throws their hat in the ring, they each say they are the best candidate to lead the “resistance” to prevent the “unthinkable” — a second term for President Donald Trump. Their real target is the working class that the capitalist rulers increasingly fear today.

Kamala Harris, a former San Francisco prosecutor, is the progressives’ front-runner. Over 20,000 people went to her first rally in Oakland.

Harris has been joined so far by Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard and Kirsten Gillibrand. They all view workers, farmers and small proprietors as ignorant, racist, gun-loving sorts, who need to have their rights restricted to prevent them from making “bad” decisions — as they did by electing Trump to the presidency. They think working people need to be “managed” by “smarter” people like themselves, acting on behalf of the capitalist rulers.

These workers are the people Hillary Clinton denigrated in 2016 as “a basket of deplorables.” She said the president’s voters come from the “backward” areas of the country between New York and California — the coastal “dynamic” areas where she won her votes.

Kamala Harris reiterates Clinton’s views. Last March she declared, “California represents the future and if Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions don’t like it, they are in for a fight.”

Liberals’ disdain for working people

Tens of thousands of working people joined in the victorious teachers strike in West Virginia last year, a strike that built on traditions from decades of miners’ battles against the coal bosses. It offered fellow workers around the country an example of the capacities of our class to organize and fight.

Their actions are “a living refutation of the portrait of working-class bigotry and ‘backwardness’ painted … by a broad spectrum of middle-class liberals and much of the radical left,” explains Socialist Workers Party leader Mary-Alice Waters in In Defense of the US Working Class. “It is not only Donald Trump they obsessively hope to impeach,” she adds. “Their target … is that class of people that is rising up, many of whom voted for Donald Trump.”

Like state prosecutors across the country under the capitalist “justice” system, Harris helped implement the massive rise in the prison population, spurred by “anti-crime” legislation from the Bill Clinton administration. In 2014, Harris’ office opposed the release of prisoners eligible for parole on the grounds that the state needed them as a supply of cheap labor. She backed laws to allow prosecution of parents whose children skip school.

Like Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, Harris is a “mainstream” Democratic Party “progressive.” These are the ones — not the “democratic socialists” elected in 2018 like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — who are leading the charge against Trump and working people.

In the eyes of the liberals, anyone who might obstruct the Democratic Party’s path to the White House should be shut up. When former Starbucks boss Howard Schultz spoke in New York after announcing he was considering a run for president as a “centrist independent,” Democrats organized repeated attempts to shout him down.

The liberals are so concerned about potential for unrest in the working class that they’ve moved to criminalize political differences within the ruling class itself. They’ve turned to the FBI — a tool of the capitalist class to frame up working-class militants, Black rights fighters and opponents of the rulers’ wars — to take down Trump. They hope former FBI boss Robert Mueller’s special counsel probe into Trump’s 2016 campaign will dig up enough dirt to oust the president even before 2020.

At dawn on Jan. 25, Mueller sent a 29-member FBI team armed to the teeth with assault weapons, two armored vehicles, an overhead helicopter, drones and an amphibious vehicle as backup to arrest former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone at his Florida home. They cuffed and perp walked him out before a phalanx of press who said they’d gotten a “tip” to be there.

Stone said that he would have voluntarily turned himself in if only he had been asked. In fact, such methods are dangerous for the working class.

The Republican Party is fractured as well. Many “Never Trumpers” view the president as an erratic outsider who threatens their party. Republican leader Mitch McConnell sponsored a bill through the Senate — with bipartisan support — that denounced Trump’s plans to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan.

“The Democrats and Republicans try to trap working people into voting for the ‘lesser evil,’” Dan Fein, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Chicago mayor, told the Militant. “But there is an alternative. Workers need to act independently of the bosses and their parties. The SWP’s campaigns across the country explain that through working-class struggle our class will develop the confidence, courage and leadership to be able to take political power into our own hands.”