America’s mid-term elections confirmed predictions with the Democrats regaining control of Congress while the Republicans consolidated their hold on the Senate. The new Democrat majority in the House of Representatives will allow them to block any proposed Republican legislation they don’t like. But the Republican grip on the Senate leaves Donald Trump still able to make ministerial appointments without hindrance from his Democrat rivals.
Though widely billed as a referendum on Donald Trump, and the “America First” agenda that swept him into the White House in 2016, the mid-term results merely confirm the fact that the political debate has still not gone beyond the confines of the bourgeois consensus.
It’s certainly true that a record number of women on the Democrat slate have been elected to the House of Representatives including two 29-year-olds, the youngest women ever to win House seats; along with two Muslim women and two others from Native American communities.
But Trump’s drivel about the “socialist threat” that he claims lies behind the Democrat agenda was just bluster for his red-neck fans who are still waiting for his Mexican wall to be built.
Some Democrats and their supporters in the unions have embraced the social-democratic trend elevated by Senator Bernie Sanders during his abortive bid to get the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. But their demands for the sort of state welfare most Europeans have taken for granted since the Second World War were not taken up by the grandees who chose to fight the Republicans on the usual grounds of minority rights and regional demands.
The Democrat hold on Congress does mean that every aspect of Trump's presidency will face hostile examination – from his “colourful” private life to his elusive tax returns and possible business ties with Russia. But the Republican Senatorial majority means that threat of impeachment, which was never high in the first place, has dashed any Democrat hopes of trying to force Trump out before his term expires in two years’ time.
Though Trump’s wings may be clipped he can always count on some Democrats to back him when the chips are down. Some of them were the loudest in support of his decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and defend his links with the odious House of Saud.
Trump claims that the Republicans want to “Make America Great Again”. But that is exactly what the Democrats want as well. The entire American ruling class wants to establish US hegemony over the world. What divides them is how to achieve it.
When the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union they all supported the American bid to rule the world under the banner of the “new world order”. The Democrat grandees still do though they now prefer to call it “globalisation”. Trump, on the other hand, represents those American circles who want to cut back US military expenditure in Europe and north-east Asia so that they can concentrate on controlling the global energy market by taking over the entire Middle East and restoring US imperialism’s hegemony over south America.
What goes on in the United States is, of course, ultimately a matter only for the American people to decide. But British workers can, and must, have a say in future Labour policy towards US imperialism and the “special relationship” that supposedly binds us together. In the past the Blairites used to hold up America as some sort of model for the “free world”. Thankfully those days have gone but we still need to fight to scrap the US Trident nuclear missile system and start a campaign to close the American bases and get Britain out of NATO.