Over 150 people packed a lecture hall at San Diego State University to hear Socialist Equality Party National Chairman David North speak on the significance and implications of the election of Donald Trump. When the chairs were filled, some students stood in the back of the room while others sat on the floor to hear the lecture.
The meeting took place amidst a politically charged climate on campus and in San Diego. On the day of the meeting, over one thousand college and high school students walked out of their classes and demonstrated in San Diego’s downtown.
David North is the chairman of the WSWS International Editorial Board and recently authored a book titled A Quarter Century of War: The US Drive for Global Hegemony, 1990-2016.
In his report, North explained that the election is the product of the protracted decline of American democracy. He warned that the Trump administration would be the most right-wing government in American history and told the young people in attendance that the election had set into motion a series of events that would determine the course of their lives for years to come.
North said that the response of the Democrats—who have rushed to declare that they will work with Trump—showed that there is no constituency within the political establishment for the defense of democratic rights. In particular, North attacked the racialist narrative of the Democratic and pseudo-left press, which has sought to blame the result on the “white working class.”
“The racialist narrative of the 2016 election is fundamentally false,” North said. “The attempts to view the election as the product of ‘white supremacy’ or the ‘white working class’ are dispelled by the actual breakdown of the vote. This identity-based narrative has its base in the upper-middle class, which is shown by the shift among wealthy voters toward the Democrats and away from the Republicans.”
North documented the fact that the total vote for Trump was comparable to the vote for previous Republican candidates, while Clinton’s vote fell dramatically. Workers of all races saw little reason to vote for Hillary Clinton, who ran a right-wing campaign combining militarism, scandalmongering, and identity politics.
He explained: “What does a woman who works at this university making $10 an hour cleaning classrooms care about Hillary Clinton’s ‘glass ceiling?’ She cannot even see the glass ceiling because she spends every night looking at the floors she must clean to make a living.”
Katherine, a freshman majoring in political science, said after the meeting, “I really thought the presentation was done well and found the graphs to be very helpful in showing that Trump’s election wasn’t a race issue.
“I didn’t go into the elections very hopeful. I am interested in entering politics and even thought that Clinton didn’t paint women in a very good light. I felt she made it worse for us, and I learned from the presentation that the issue of making the election solely about race or gender is divisive.
“Following the presentation,” Katherine added, “I now feel bad for Trump supporters. They can’t express their real views because they unknowingly supported a candidate who didn’t stand in their economic interest. They saw their lives collectively declining, which led them to vote for Trump, and felt they couldn’t vote for Clinton because she represented the establishment.”
Charles, an SDSU alumnus and a retired coach and teacher, said, “I think the Electoral College is an historical anomaly and no longer has a purpose. I thought when North brought up Black Lives Matter and identity politics it was very courageous, explaining how nationalism is a bourgeois ideology.
“The real issues in this country are health care, affordable housing and education. I paid more and more for health care, and I got less and less, so I dropped it. I was as shocked as anyone when Trump won. I went to his rally and left so unimpressed. This man [North] speaks ten times better. Trump never spoke on any issue. The New York Times called him a ‘juvenile vulgarity’, but everybody knows that.
“North was an enthusiastic speaker. I saw a poster for the meeting in the library, and I’m glad I came.”