Democrats to run as party of war and national unity in midterm election

Facing the prospect of losing control of the House and Senate in the November midterm elections, Democratic Party leaders laid out their right-wing midterm electoral strategy at meetings of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives, which included addresses by Democratic lawmakers, party leaders and both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. The main focus was on attempting to “unite” the country on a nationalist war platform against Russia and President Vladimir Putin.

The attempt by the Democrats to foster an artificial unity at home based on the US-NATO-led war drive against Russia comes in the face of mounting domestic social, political and economic crises. In the meetings, held in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia last week, the Democrats signaled their intention to run as a party that has “delivered” for the American people in the face of intransigent Republican resistance while blaming domestic social problems and record inflation on the “worse-than-Hitler” Putin.

Reports in the corporate press, along with the speeches from Biden and Harris, make clear that the Democrats will be eschewing any veneer of social reform and “progressivism” in their midterm campaigns. There will be no calls to “abolish the police” or “defund the police.” Instead Democrats will emphasize the “pragmatic policies” they have enacted, such as passing a nearly $1 trillionmilitary budget, that includes substantial increases to the border gestapo, while omitting any additional COVID-19 funding.

In their speeches, Democratic leaders played down or completely ignored the coronavirus pandemic, instead focusing on Russia and Putin. Speaking at a Democratic meeting last week, New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, head of the House Democratic reelection effort, praised Biden’s economic warfare against Russia and attempted to draw a contrast with former president Donald Trump. He claimed: “The economic bomb that went off inside that dictator’s regime in Moscow would not have been possible without Joe Biden’s leadership.”

Presenting himself as a “wartime” president, Biden told House Democrats, “Putin’s war against Ukraine will never be a victory.” To rapturous applause Biden pledged that the Ukraine military forces will have “the weapons to defend themselves.” While immigrants attempting to cross the US-Mexico border have to contend with robotic dogs and other high-tech weapons, Biden pledged that the US will “welcome Ukrainian refugees with open arms.”

In seeking to blame record gas prices on Putin, instead of the anarchy of the capitalist market and the rapacious demands of Wall Street shareholders, Biden omitted any criticism of the oil companies, although the top 24 posted $174 billion in profits last year. He called the soaring price of gas at the pump “Putin’s price hike.” As Trump covered for the US government’s unwillingness and inability to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as the fault of China and the “China virus,” Biden blames Russia for the slashing of the living standards of the working class. 

“For months, the United States has worked tirelessly to keep our Allies and partners together,” Biden said. “As our former ambassador [Michael McFaul]—who you see on television a lot, thank God—will tell you I’ve spent literally hours and hours and hours and hours keeping the Alliance together—the EU, NATO and all of our allies, including our Asian allies,” Biden boasted on Friday.

The same day Biden “thanked God” for McFaul, the current Stanford professor, apparently “forgetting” that German Jews were slaughtered during the Holocaust, said during a television appearance on MSNBC later that day that Putin was “worse than Hitler” because a “difference between Putin and Hitler, is that Hitler didn’t kill ethnic Germans, German-speaking people. Putin slaughters the very people he said he has come to liberate.”

The desperate attempt by Democrats to paint Putin as the ultimate embodiment of evil is a crude attempt to divert the internal social contradictions wracking US society outwards towards an external enemy.

Beholden to the same financial oligarchy as their “Republican colleagues” the Democrats have been unable and unwilling to deliver on any of their limited campaign promises, despite controlling the White House and Congress. This includes the collapse of the “Build Back Better” social legislation and a bill to protect voting rights; the continued far-right assault on reproductive rights; the failure by Congress to enact a federal $15 minimum wage and Biden’s unwillingness to cancel student debt.

Nonetheless, a recent New York Timesreport revealed that during a meeting in the White House last month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the Democrats’ midterm slogan should be “Democrats Deliver.”

Vice President Kamala Harris tried out this delusional slogan in front of the Democratic National Committee’s Winter Meeting in Washington D.C. Saturday, claiming that the “American people voted” and “got what they ordered.”

“Our task,” before the midterms, Harris told the assembled crowd, “is to show people that, in many ways, they got what they ordered. Right? They said this is what they wanted. They stood in line. They took time from work. It was difficult. And a lot of what they demanded, they got ... so let’s get out there, as we do, and remind them of that.”

There are no doubt millions of Americans who will object to the assertion that when they “ordered” the Biden/Harris government in November, they were not voting on the basis of Ukraine’s inalienable right to join the NATO military alliance, or for nearly 8 percent inflation, record high gas prices and skyrocketing economic inequality.

Many, no doubt, will claim they voted for Biden simply because he wasn’t the detestable and fascistic Trump. Many workers and youth, rightly concerned about the rise of fascism in the United States mistakenly believed the Biden government would “allow space” for social and electoral reform.

More than 14 months after Donald Trump’s failed fascist coup, Biden and his Attorney General Merrick Garland have yet to hold the former president or any other of his high-level Republican co-conspirators accountable for attempting to block the electoral college certification of Biden. Instead, the Democrats along with Republican warmongers Liz Cheney (WY) and Adam Kinzinger (IL), through the mechanism of the House Select Committee, have covered up the widespread support Trump’s coup had within the US government police-military-intelligence apparatus and Republican Party as a whole.

Most egregiously in the eyes of millions of workers, teachers and students, the Biden administration has reneged on their campaign pledges to “follow the science” and enact a robust public health response to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, Biden and the Democrats, with the invaluable help of Randi Weingarten and the corporatist trade unions, have “followed the profits” and reopened schools to in-person learning, facilitating the community spread of COVID-19.

Biden’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, under Dr. Rochelle Walensky, has overseen the elimination of testing and reporting while rewriting mask mandates and guidelines, essentially adopting wholesale former president Donald Trump’s “herd immunity” policies, leading to nearly 1 million coronavirus deaths in the US so far, including 150,000 this year alone.

The Democrats’ failure to deliver on any of their campaign pledges, coupled with record-setting inflation, leading to the highest average gas prices in US history, has further eroded Biden and the Democrats’ already low popularity among the broad population. In a recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, Biden’s overall approval rating was at 38 percent, while his disapproval was 51 percent. 

The prospect of an electoral wipe-out has prompted 31 House Democrats, so far, to announce that they will not run for reelection, the highest number in the caucus since 1992.

Seeking to divide the working class and appeal to the racialist attitudes saturating their upper-middle-class constituency, Harris went on to boast that Democrats should emphasize the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court as “the first Black woman on the highest court in the land.” 

As the Democrats seek to build an electoral coalition based on imperialist war and identity politics, over the weekend, aspiring dictator Trump held a fascist rally in Florence, South Carolina. Trump rehashed his far-right talking points, including that the 2020 election was stolen, and that Biden “abolished our southern border.”

As he did during his 2016 campaign regarding the Iraq invasion, Trump postured as the anti-war candidate, using  Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as an opportunity to bash Biden’s “weakness,” claiming that Putin would never have invaded Ukraine had he remained president.

During his speech he endorsed Republican House candidates Katie Harrington and Russell Fry, both of whom are running against incumbent Republican representatives, Nancy Mace and Tom Rice. Trump denounced Mace as “another horrendous RINO [Republican In Name Only]” and claimed that Rice, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump following the attack on the Capitol, was “respected by no one.”

Calling for his followers to sacrifice themselves in furtherance of his electoral ambitions and the collapsing US empire, Trump warned that the “fate of any nation depends upon the willingness of its citizens to lay down—and they must do this—lay down their very lives to defend their country. If we allow the Marxists and communists and socialists to teach our children to hate America, there will be no one left to defend our flag or to protect our great country or its freedom.”