In the US, the presidential election is forging ahead, full of fanfare, hoopla, moral indignation, insincere promises and, of course, economic ‘analyses’. The hope many have in Clinton or Trump that they would implement policies that will benefit the working class (or as they prefer to call everybody except billionaires, the middle class) is misplaced.
The television news networks, being reflective of the ideological status quo, were keen to present the election as a shining example of American democracy in action, a beacon to the entire world, and an exemplar of sound democratic practice. What they got was an utter farce that could have been scripted by any number of political satirists but rejected on the grounds of its unbelievability. Much of it is a media Punch and Judy show. In reality, this is a typical election under modern capitalism. Media constructed stereotypes, disinformation, mystification and rumour crowding out reasoned argument and the impartial presentation of the facts. In the final analysis, the differences between the candidates were often minimal in principles but more personality.
The US television networks are not content with just reporting on this entire dreadful farrago of democratic malpractice they have to get in on the act by contributing to it as well. The networks are in competition for advertising—their life-blood—and to attract advertising they need to attract viewers. The news networks, some of whom already have niche markets, try to increase their established audience share by being the most up-to-date with the news, marketing themselves as the channel “where it all happens”. The networks have been on a political feeding frenzy.
So the media functions to peddle distortions and untruths that blur reality, to keep public opinion placid and render ordinary working people isolated and ineffective, so leaving the interests of the ruling class unchallenged and supreme. The US media add credence to the myth that the Presidential election carries real choice by eagerly analysing every minute perceived difference between the candidates, bombarding the electorate with patriotic rhetoric and fine sounding ‘promises’ while enthusiastically expounding the lie that the candidates share a common interest with ordinary working people. Their propaganda is heavily loaded with corporate and business ideology and praise for the virtues of the ‘free-market system,’ designed to perpetuate the fallacy that capitalism and democracy are inextricably linked, indeed synonymous. What is incontestable is that the outcome will not be of benefit to the America’s (or the world’s) wage and salary earning class over the next four years.
If anything good comes out of it at all, it may be the re-awakening interest of a lot of workers in America in political matters. And it is only to be hoped that this renewed interest will lead to a questioning of the entire political system in operation not just some of its component parts, a political system which has been revered or ignored in almost equal measure in the US but never seriously and actively opposed by anything other than small groups and parties. We as a class have suffered too much and have too much to lose to leave decisions regarding the future of our planet in the hands of group of arrogant, conceited and profit-crazed individuals. Let's really organise to take their power away, before it is too late.
The outcome of this presidential election carries one truth: namely that whichever candidate becomes president, he or she has but one remit once in office – to further the interests of the US corporate elite. It’s just not a feasible option for any newly elected president to entertain any idea other than guaranteeing a safe playing field for the domestic profit machine and doing what’s needed to try to ensure the US maintains its global hegemonic status. We can predict here and now that neither candidate if elected, will succeed in making capitalism work in the general interest of working people.