5 Take-Aways from First Trump v. Clinton Debate
October 3, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
1. Lying About How the System Works...There’s No Such Thing As “American Jobs.” The debate was an exercise in lying about and covering up how this system of capitalism-imperialism actually works. Take jobs. People need jobs. Clinton promised “an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top,” with “new jobs, good jobs, with rising incomes.” Trump argued “Our jobs are fleeing the country. They're going to Mexico. They're going to many other countries.” He said America was getting ripped off and he’d bring the jobs “back.”
There’s no such thing as “American jobs.” Jobs are created when—and where—it fits the needs of one capitalist or another to maximize profits, gain market share, and position themselves against competitors. The system of capitalism-imperialism compels U.S. capitalists to circle the globe to exploit labor, dominate markets, and plunder resources in ruthless competition with other capitalists. This is backed and enforced by enormous military violence. This predatory system creates misery and suffering for billions around the world and is destroying our environment. Both Clinton and Trump represent this system. Its workings will mainly determine the “state of the economy,” not campaign promises.
2. Ugly Americanism Run Wild. Everything was about America this, America that. Keeping Americans safe. Strengthening American power. Healing divisions within America. Keeping America great or making American great. The sick message: only American lives counted. There wasn’t a single expression of concern—much less outrage—about the plight of anyone outside U.S. borders, never mind the actual truth about how the U.S. creates many of these horrors. Clinton and Trump are vying to be Commander-in-Chief of America’s global empire, and are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the U.S. remains the world’s dominant power, no matter how many lives are destroyed around the world. For all Trump’s bullying and bluster, it was Hillary Clinton who spelled out the most ruthless program, including an “intelligence surge”—spying on steroids—and escalation in Iraq and Syria. She refused to reject the first use of nuclear weapons, and threatened cyber war and outright war: “We cannot let those who would try to destabilize the world to interfere with American interests and security...”
3. Police Murder & Terror: Neither Can or Will End It. In the segment on healing “racial divisions,” Trump called for “law-and-order” fascism under the banner of keeping Black communities safe. In the midst of an ongoing epidemic of police murder, he called for giving the police free reign ,including through racial profiling and stop-and-frisk.
Hillary Clinton helped expand mass incarceration and police terror in the 1990s, and during the debate she defended that: “violent crime is one-half of what it was in 1991. Property crime is down 40 percent. We just don't want to see it creep back up. We've had 25 years of very good cooperation. But there were some problems, some unintended consequences. Too many young African-American and Latino men ended up in jail for nonviolent offenses.”
Unintended consequences? Are you fucking kidding? The whole point of your crime program was locking up tens of thousands of youth. The whole point of putting 100,000 more cops on the street was to criminalize and terrorize whole generations. And you think you can wash away all the tears, the pain, and the shattered lives by talking about “unintended consequences”?
Now Clinton claims she’s concerned about police killings. But during the debate she whitewashed the police murders in Charlotte and Tulsa by labeling them “tragedies.” She whitewashed the nature of the police, saying there are “so many good, brave police officers” and told people they should respect this pack of racist brutalizers, murders and liars, who she claimed someday would respect them. Her plan for community policing isn’t about ending police murder and terror—it’s about trying to legitimize it and make it more “effective” for the system.
Both covered up the truth that police murder and terror and the oppression of Black and Brown people is built into this system, and can’t be ended without ending this system.
4. Anti-Immigrant Deporters Both. Donald Trump is notorious for his racist attacks on Mexicans and immigrants, calling them drug-dealers and rapists. He repeated that shit Monday: “We have gangs roaming the street. And in many cases, they're illegally here, illegal immigrants...And they shoot people.”
Clinton claims to stand for the humane treatment of immigrants, but Monday she said nothing to refute Trump’s racist, anti-immigrant rant. But then she was part of and still supports President Obama’s administration which has deported over 2.5 million people, mainly Latin American immigrants. That’s more than any President in U.S. history. And what did Hillary Clinton say in 2014 when thousands of children were fleeing from gang and police violence in Central America (“fallout” in part from U.S. wars against Central American countries and rebellions in the 1980’s) and trying desperately to find sanctuary in the U.S.? Clinton said they should be deported: “Just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay... they should be sent back.”
5. This System Has No Answers. During the debate, Donald Trump’s racism, misogyny, and law-and-order fascism were hanging out all over the place, along with his lunatic self-promotion and shameless lying and bullying. Did Hillary Clinton condemn Trump, arguing that all this made him an illegitimate candidate? No. She welcomed him: “Donald, it's good to be with you.” Any system that treats someone like Donald Trump as a legitimate candidate for President demonstrates its utter illegitimacy.
Billions around the world are suffering terribly. The Middle East has been turned into an inferno of death and destruction, thanks mainly to decades of U.S. domination and aggression. In the U.S., Black, Brown, and Native people are being relentlessly murdered by police. There’s nowhere on the globe—including America—where women aren’t subject to abuse and dehumanization, whether modern or medieval. And the planet itself is in the grip of an environmental crises more threatening than anything we’ve ever faced since modern humans first emerged 200,000 years ago.
And what did we get treated to at this most serious, perilous moment? Ninety plus minutes of lying, deceit, rank chauvinism, empty promises, self-serving manipulations, personal attacks, and bullshit trivia that made reality TV look deep and meaningful. When all was said and done, not a single real answer or real solution in the interests of the people to any of the multiple crises imperiling humanity was offered. Instead, the candidates’ proposals and the debate itself was designed to strengthen and legitimize the very system responsible for all these nightmares, and channel peoples’ anger and aspirations into its killing confines.
STOP THINKING LIKE AMERICANS AND START THINKING ABOUT HUMANITY
WE NEED TO OVERTHROW, NOT VOTE FOR, THIS SYSTEM
More debate analysis at revcom.us
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