by Jerry White, Socialist Equality Party 2008 Presidential Candidate
6 November 2008
Barack Obama won the US presidential election Tuesday riding a wave of popular opposition to the Bush administration and the Republican Party. Tens of millions of voters delivered a massive repudiation of the politics of social reaction that have dominated America for decades.
The “Obama coalition,” however, is fraught with contradictions. The majority of those who voted for Obama want an end to social inequality, the erosion of democratic rights and militarism. Yet, despite Obama’s rhetoric about uniting “Main Street and Wall Street” and “the rich and the poor,” he is committed to defending the interests of the most powerful sections of the American corporate elite.
The Democratic Party is already seeking to dampen popular expectations about the incoming administration. Obama suggested this himself in his victory speech in Chicago, when he said, “The road ahead will be long…We may not get there in one year or even one term…There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as president, and we know that government can’t solve every problem.”
Leading Democrats have lined up to insist that it would be wrong to interpret the election as a mandate for substantial changes in policy. Instead, they are saying the next administration will have to rule from the “center” and rely on a bipartisan alliance with the Republicans.
Obama’s selection for White House chief of staff—Rahm Emanuel, the chairman of the Democratic Caucus in the House of Representatives—gives an indication of the reactionary social types he is assembling for his administration. As a senior advisor to former President Bill Clinton, he championed law-and-order, “welfare reform” and other reactionary measures aimed at disassociating the Democrats from the liberal reforms of the past.
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