Driven by voters who wanted to defend the right to abortion and those who understood that Republican victories on Election Day would lead to a curtailment of democratic rights, the Democratic Party dodged a bullet. With young voters leading the way, a Red Tide was stopped. This was despite the Democratic Party’s absolute refusal to address the economic woes of working class residents of the U.S. Of course, why would they propose a real program to fight inflation, the number one issue for voters this year? The big money donors that fill the coffers of Democratic Party PACs are the ones causing inflation. Consumer prices and corporate profits, after all, are far outpacing wage increases. The DNC would have to bite the hand that feeds them.
Despite their victories in Minnesota and beyond, the Democratic Party’s corporate masters are quickly moving to the right. In Minnesota conservative Democrat Kari Dziedzic was quickly elected as the caucus leader in the State Senate. Across the country the Democrats main refrain was to work across the aisle with Republicans. Before the election Democratic Party pundits were already blaming young people, Black and Brown voters for any losses they might suffer. They were explaining that the Party had moved too far to the left. The unwillingness to tackle issues that are at the top of the list for working class people will leave many to look for other solutions, including fascism.
The danger of fascism in the United States is real. Socialists, leftists and progressives generally recognize this. It’s something that needs to be taken very seriously. Here’s the problem we face as socialists and as critics of the neo-liberal Democratic Party. On the one hand, the election of Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis or any number of fascist minded candidates would be a disaster for the working class of this country. On the other hand, how do we throw everything we have into the fight against fascism without being drawn into the orbit of the Democratic Party and then absorbed by it. This is something history has numerous examples of.
Here are some of the questions we will need to be asking.
In the 2024 election does DSA propose to members and supporters that they vote for the Democratic Party candidate for president? This must be seriously discussed. The 1930’s and 40’s are filled with examples of what happens when fascists take power. Having a center right party like the Democrats in power gives workers far more space to organize unions, political groups and associated democratic activities than a fascist dictatorship. Does that mean we campaign for the neo-liberal candidate? Urge a vote, but don’t campaign? Focus on swing states, but nothing beyond that? Take some other action?
It’s quite likely that the 2024 election will be decided in the streets and not at the ballot box. All we have to do is look at videos of January 6 and imagine that on steroids across the nation. We got a little taste of this with armed right wingers patrolling ballot boxes in Arizona. This means we will need to actively seek out united fronts with all those forces that understand that the ability to vote and have that vote stand will need to be physically defended in 2024. The Democratic Party leadership will try to discourage these efforts.
We also can’t abandon the class struggle. It’s hard to predict whether the current resurgence in union organizing and strike activity will continue or increase for the next two years. Given the fact that the ruling class is pushing to flatten us in their pursuit of super profits, it’s somewhat likely that it will. The closer we get to November 2024, the more pressure the Dems will exert on the trade union bureaucracy to calm things down. You can imagine how that might look by following Biden’s sell out of rail workers or Governor Walz’ lack of support for the educators strike in Minneapolis. We will need to be working to deepen the class struggle despite Democratic opposition to this.
On November 8th 2022 more than 100 DSA candidates won their elections. 2023 and 2024 will provide opportunities for DSA to elect hundreds more candidates. We should devote even more resources to electing socialist candidates who are working class leaders and elect them on a clear program of rejecting the neo-liberalism of corporate Democrats. The pressure on us to move away from political independence will be enormous in the coming two years.
-Kip H, Twin Cities DSA Co-Chair