After a mock debate at Albuquerque High School, students cast ballots. The results were 52 votes for Party for Socialism and Liberation, 18 for the Democratic Party, 14 for the Green Party, 7 for the Republican Party, 2 for the Constitution Party and 1 for the Libertarian party.
Members of the PSL presented its party platform and candidates Gloria La Riva and Dennis Banks. They participated in a faculty-organized debate with campaign representatives from five of the eight certified parties on the ballot in New Mexico.
Republicans, Democrats, the Green Party, the Constitution Party and the PSL clashed for several hours, responding to student questions about racism, LGBTQ rights, poverty, U.S. war, funding for education and politics.
When the floor was opened up to student questions, an LGBTQ student fired the first shot in what became a student body war waged against the Republican party reps. “Does Donald Trump care about human rights for anyone but cis-straight white men?” the student asked to uproarious laughter.
Nationally, New Mexico ranks 49th in education. Governor Susana Martinez recently implemented a 5 percent or $137,950,000 cut from public education spending. Schools in New Mexico and the Albuquerque Public School system overwhelming are graded with C’s, D’s and F’s from elementary through high school. Albuquerque High is a victim of the cuts and ranked C in 2016. Such school rankings are based on standardized test scores which in turn generally reflect the socio-economic status of the students’ families rather than the quality of teaching.
Many students raised questions about funding for public education, the high dropout rate and how parties would address the issue of access to public education. While the school has been given a C rating, the students’ critical and piercing questions to the campaign representatives led to their intelligent engagement being acknowledged by each party representative.
Students saw through the lesser of two evil politics and challenged racism and war in many of their questions. Socialist student Amara Tankersley asked the democrats, “So you claim Hillary Clinton is most qualified for the role of President, despite the fact that as Foreign Policy manager for
Obama, she signed for the Iraq war without U.N. endorsement, contributed greatly to needless wars in the Middle East, and has been in favor of huge mistakes that have not only endangered American lives, but have also fueled tensions with countries like Syria. These issues could very possibly lead to the next World War.”
U.S. presidential debates are organized by a private corporation that intentionally excludes third parties who challenge the dictatorship ofcorporate America. The debates are merely a performance where Democrat and Republican candidates don’t address real issues like universal healthcare, free and quality public and higher education, or ending unemployment and poverty. Their platforms barely differ and candidates perform a “debate” by boasting who is more ready to go to war in Syria and accelerate aggression towards Russia. They attack each other only to assert that Americans should vote for Clinton, because she’s not Trump, and Trump because he isn’t Clinton. The result is an inescapable “corporate echo chamber.”
Imagine if revolutionary socialism had mass media visibility and the opportunity to present such politics nationwide. This mock election at Albuquerque High School was a small experiment that exposes who people would vote for if there were open debates between all parties. Students were free from fear mongering and got to vote for whichever candidate’s platform made the most sense. Despite the bourgeois media’s negative representation of socialism, when presented with the PSL’s socialist
program, students voted for it by a large majority. Tens of millions of people in the United States would break away from the two parties and not vote for the lesser of two evils or abstain from voting but rather be drawn to third parties, like the PSL.