President Donald Trump used his State of the Union address to Congress Feb. 4 as a reelection rally, boasting “jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging, and our country is thriving and highly respected again.” And he claimed he was “working to end America’s wars in the Middle East.”
The next day he got a boost when the Democrats’ impeachment drive to oust him before the 2020 elections went down to defeat. This deepened the crisis wracking the Democrats, who along with the Republicans have been the main parties of the capitalist rulers. The president’s poll numbers are now at the highest level since he was elected.
In 2016 Trump won the votes of millions of working people fed up with the disdain of successive administrations towards their deteriorating conditions of life. His Democratic opponents — from Hillary Clinton in 2016 to the dozens of rival candidates they’ve fielded this year — are desperately looking for a way to prevent those “deplorables” from electing him again.
The president told Congress and the others invited to the State of the Union speech that his administration was “relentlessly pro-worker” and had engineered a “blue-collar boom.” He pointed in particular to the drop in unemployment, including for African Americans, women, youth and veterans.
It’s not Trump’s policies — which he says are geared at strengthening the bosses and bankers, then “trickling down” to you and me — that caused the uptick in jobs. It’s a cyclical economic upturn that takes place within a long-term crisis of capitalism in which a broad carnage still bears down on workers and farmers.
Trump claimed average household income was the highest ever, but millions of workers know from experience that prices of basic necessities are climbing too. Last year health care prices rose by 4.6% and housing by 3.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And millions still struggle paycheck-to-paycheck as household debt is rising.
The president said he was “curbing the opioid epidemic,” pointing to the first drop in 30 years in the numbers dying from overdoses in 2018. But that drop — a mere 4% from the previous year — still saw 67,000 people die of drug overdoses, part of the broad social crisis bearing down on working people.
“America is the place where anyone can rise,” Trump claimed, hoping to blunt workers’ struggles by offering the illusion that workers should strive to climb out of their class by looking out for number one. This is one thing both Trump and the Democrats can agree on — working people shouldn’t look to themselves to fight the attacks of the capitalist rulers.
Only the Socialist Workers Party ticket — Alyson Kennedy for president and Malcolm Jarrett for vice president — tells the truth about the U.S. It’s a class-divided society that rests on the exploitation of workers by the bosses here and ruthless efforts to oppress workers and farmers abroad.
The SWP campaign presents a fighting program through which workers and our allies can transform themselves in struggle, gaining the capacity to replace capitalist rule with a workers and farmers government and run society in the interest of the vast majority.
The president touted his administration’s expansion of military spending aimed at ensuring Washington can defend the interests of the U.S. rulers around the world. He has increased the deployment of U.S. forces in the Middle East in recent months.
And he reiterated his determination to overturn the revolutionary government of Cuba, and to attack the sovereignty of Venezuela. He invited Juan Guaidó, the pro-imperialist Venezuelan opposition leader who Washington seeks to impose as the country’s president. Guaidó received a bipartisan standing ovation.
Democrats’ crisis deepens
As the Democrats’ impeachment crusade crashed and burned, they remain in a frenzy, continuing to treat the president as a criminal who is unfit for office. At the end of Trump’s speech, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi threw a tantrum, ripping up her copy of the talk he had just given.
Their drive to oust Trump by any means possible flows from the fact they’re convinced he’s likely to win the election in November.
The Democrats are wracked by divisions over who to run against him. Some say they should try to reach the workers who took Trump over the top last time, which, they say, means to be more conservative. Others claim they should simply forget those they consider deplorables and try to win by assembling a new demographic coalition based on color and gender.
Party officials began scheming about how they can broker the Democratic party convention to block Bernie Sanders after he surged in the polls before the Iowa primary. Former Secretary of State John Kerry and others say a Sanders nomination would destroy the party.
Sanders says he is a democratic socialist. He tries to appeal to workers and middle-class radicals with a program of patching up capitalism by reforming some of its abuses.
The Democrats’ Iowa primary turned into a debacle, with the results still unknown after several days. They blamed it on a faulty cellphone app, further discrediting the party. This just increases the malaise in the party about its future.
Despite the Senate clearing Trump, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler says they’ll try to keep their witch hunt going. Hope springs eternal, despite failing in every effort to impeach or indict the president since the day he was elected.
Nadler insisted Trump is a “lawless president,” and that Democrats would likely keep their impeachment hearings going regardless of the Senate’s vote.