The following was posted on The Militant, the official newspaper of the Socialist Workers Party:
“I am running for U.S. president on the Socialist Workers Party ticket because the other parties don’t represent workers. They are the bosses parties,” Alyson Kennedy explained to members of the United Auto Workers at the morning shift change at Electro-Motive Diesel in La Grange, Illinois, where railroad locomotives are built. Workers there have been through several rounds of layoffs, as the deepening capitalist contraction of production and trade has hit hard at workers in oil, steel, coal, transportation and other manufacturing.
“Falling profit rates have pushed the bosses to assault workers’ conditions of work and life worldwide,” Kennedy said. This is what underlies the broad discontent among workers and others reflected in the turmoil of the 2016 presidential elections, and especially the response to “outsider” candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.
Trump remains well ahead in the Republican primary, playing on the anxiety, fear and anger generated by the smoldering depression conditions workers and middle layers face when he attacks the lies and hypocrisy of the “establishment” candidates.
Trump’s insistence that as a strong and wily businessman he can “make America great again,” combined with promises not to start any new ground wars, is popular among many workers, including veterans who Trump often points out have been “treated so horribly” by Washington.
Attacks on Trump from his rivals on grounds that he’s not a “real conservative” miss the point. The fact is he’s a New York liberal, a former Democrat. When Ted Cruz accused him of defending Planned Parenthood, Trump responded that it does “wonderful things” for women’s health, though he now says he opposes abortion.
He says while he would have made a better deal, Obama’s moves to restore diplomatic relations and open the door to more trade with Cuba are a good thing.
Following his victory in the New Hampshire primary, Trump said the real unemployment figures are many times the official 5 percent, “I even heard recently 42 percent.” This comes closer to the truth than what most bourgeois candidates will admit. Less than 60 percent of those over 16 are employed today, a big drop from before the 2008 recession.