Two major polls made public Sunday project a sizeable Democratic Party victory in the US midterm elections set for November 6. A Fox News poll found a seven-point Democratic Party lead in the generic congressional ballot, while an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll found a 12-point Democratic lead among registered voters, and an eight-point lead among likely voters. Both polls found that opposition to President Trump is the driving force in the election, with particular hostility to his persecution of immigrants and his tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.
The likely swing to the Democrats comes as the two-party system as a whole faces mounting popular opposition. According to another recent poll, nearly two-thirds of voters want an alternative to the two existing parties, whose candidates are reviled as corrupt representatives of the rich who lie shamelessly and have nothing but contempt for ordinary working people. Other polls show a rising interest in and support for socialism, particularly among young people.
The Democratic Party is now expected to make the gain of 23 seats needed to win control of the House of Representatives, and perhaps much more than that, while a Democratic takeover of the US Senate, previously thought unlikely because only nine Republican-held seats were up for election, is now considered a significant possibility. The Democrats are also projected to win a large number of Republican-held governorships, including nearly every state in the industrial Midwest. What would such a political shift mean?
While working people are looking for an alternative to the reactionary policies of the Trump administration, they will not find it in the Democratic Party, a political alliance of Wall Street, the military-intelligence apparatus, and privileged sections of the upper middle class. Congressional Democratic leaders have chosen to focus their efforts first on promoting the Russia investigation, based on bogus claims of massive Russian intervention in the 2016 elections. More recently, they sought to link Republican candidates to the Supreme Court nomination of reactionary jurist Brett Kavanaugh, who is under attack due to allegations of sexual misconduct in high school, invoking the themes of the #MeToo campaign.
Neither campaign has evoked any popular enthusiasm. Only 38 percent in Sunday’s polls said that it was important that a congressional candidate share their views on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. An even lower number, 34 percent, said that a candidate should share their views on the Russia investigation. Large majorities said that healthcare and the economy—issues of class, not race or gender—were the most important.
The clearest demonstration of the political trajectory of the Democratic Party is the array of former CIA agents, military commanders and State Department officials who are its candidates in the congressional districts that the Democrats aim to capture from the Republicans. As an analysis posted Friday on the World Socialist Web Site detailed, in the 115 seats which the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has designated as competitive, 30 are national-security operatives, the largest single group.
With only two exceptions, the CIA Democrats are not drawn from among the rank-and-file soldiers who comprised the bulk of those sent as cannon fodder to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and came back, in many cases, damaged in mind and body, and hostile to the wars in which they fought. Thirteen had roles as intelligence agents, war planners or diplomatic apologists for war. Fifteen were officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines—commanders, captains, majors, a lieutenant-colonel.
Not a single one is running as an opponent of the wars in which they fought/led, or of new wars against Iran, Russia, or China. One actually demands as part of his program, “an uncompromising victory over Russia and its tyrannical regime.”
While the WSWS has consistently called attention to the CIA Democrats, the corporate-controlled media has been largely silent about the friendly takeover of the Democratic Party by the military-intelligence apparatus. In its lone reference, the New York Times referred last month, in a gross underestimate, to “more than a dozen Democratic candidates this year with strong background in national security through service in the military or at the intelligence agencies.”
In another exception to the media blackout, NBC News noted, under the suggestive headline, “Their New Mission?” that “an unusually large number of former intelligence officers and operatives are campaigning for office as Democrats in this fall’s midterm elections.” This is the only time that the corporate media has even raised the most urgent question: whether the influx of state agents into the Democratic Party is itself an operation by the national-security apparatus.
The rise of the military-intelligence candidates in the Democratic Party shows the false and cynical character of the claims by “left” politicians like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of the Democratic Socialists of America that the Democratic Party can be reformed and turned into an instrument for social justice and peace.
The handful of “lefts” like Ocasio-Cortez will be dwarfed by the dozens of military-intelligence Democrats in the new Congress, to say nothing of the millionaires and political hacks who constitute the bulk of the Democratic caucus. More fundamentally, the role of the DSA and the other political appendages of the Democratic Party is to justify and provide a left cover for this fundamentally reactionary party of imperialism.
Asked by a WSWS reporter how she could square her ostensibly “antiwar” politics with so many running mates from the CIA and Pentagon, Ocasio-Cortez replied that she did not believe “a person’s life experience in one way or another necessarily precludes them from running for office.” Even if that “experience” includes, like Elissa Slotkin, the Democratic candidate in Michigan’s Eighth Congressional District, three CIA tours of duty in Baghdad where she was a top aide to Ambassador John Negroponte, a war criminal many times over.
There is nothing socialist about a campaign that is waged shoulder-to-shoulder with CIA agents, war planners and military commanders—and with multimillionaire capitalist politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Dingell. The only socialist campaign in the 2018 elections is that of Niles Niemuth, the Socialist Equality Party candidate in Michigan’s 12th District, who is challenging the Dingell family dynasty that has held the seat for 85 years.
As the WSWS has warned, the 2018 election campaign marks a new stage in the growing influence of the military-intelligence apparatus in American life. The Democratic Party is not a lesser evil, compared to Trump and the Republicans. If Trump represents the danger of authoritarian rule based on appeals to racism, anti-immigrant bigotry, and police violence, the Democrats are paving the way to a regime in which all political dissent will be branded the product of “Russian meddling” and anyone to the left of the Democratic Party will be censored and suppressed.