Nearly all sectors and centers of ruling class power are now mobilized to defeat or eliminate the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. This is a truly bi-partisan effort. The handful of establishment holdouts who hadn’t yet abandoned him have now joined the dump Trump effort following the release on October 7 of a 2005 hot mic audio recording of Trump talking about women in the most dehumanizing and abusive manner. This audio confirms something that is well known: that he is a pig, a vile male chauvinist and misogynist. But naturally the release of the 11-year old audio tape of Trump completely dominated all news coverage. His initial defense that Bill Clinton talked “worse” about women when they played golf together is probably true but it hardly helps him.
The timing of the release of the Trump audio tape also totally overwhelmed news coverage of another sensational story – the long awaited “October Surprise” release by Wikileaks of hacked emails revealing for the first time what Hillary Clinton said behind closed doors to Wall Street’s biggest banks. These emails are also damning in many other ways that could have doomed or deeply damaged the Clinton campaign. But with the Trump audio tape release, the emails about what Clinton said became a small side story.
Even in the second televised debate that took place October 9, the Wikileaks email release, which could have helped unravel the Clinton campaign, became just a footnote. In the three minutes minute devoted to the subject, Clinton cited the words she spoke to the bankers to compare herself to Abraham Lincoln and then blamed Russia and Putin for releasing the emails, hoping to change the subject from what the documents showed about what she actually said in the private speeches.
Obama administration and Clinton’s counter-measures against Wikileaks
The Clinton team and the Obama administration knew that the Wikileaks “October Surprise” release was coming. Assange had been announcing they were coming all week. The Obama administration and the Clinton campaign were preparing for it and looking for ways to discredit the damaging information or inoculate public opinion about the revelations which came from the hacked emails of John Podesta, the chairperson of the Clinton campaign. Early in the morning of October 7 the White House made the announcement that U.S. intelligence agencies had confirmed, without providing any hard facts or evidence, that the Russian government was responsible for the hacks of Democratic Party email servers and that “Russia was trying to influence the U.S. elections.” The timing of this remarkable and unsubstantiated announcement could not be coincidental coming just hours before the Wikileaks release.
The assertions that the hack of various Democratic Party email servers over the past months was the work of Russia provided the Clinton camp a way of turning attention away from the content of the emails. It also further activated the surveillance state, the FBI, CIA and NSA to go into high gear against Wikileaks now that they had been characterized as a proxy for Russian espionage. The surveillance state and the Military-Industrial Complex, not to mention the neo-conservatives from the George W. Bush era, are working together to elect Clinton.
The Wikileaks release of the hacked emails was finally set for October 7 in the late afternoon.
The Washington Post version of how the Trump audio tape story broke is that they received a call at 10 am on the Friday morning from a source who had access to the tape. The Post says that they know who the source is but they won’t reveal the name. If the intelligence services did not facilitate the leak of the Trump audio they certainly know the identity of the source. Regardless, there are many other revelations to come from Trump’s rotten portfolio that will be used against him in the coming weeks if he abides by his promise to stay in the race.
The Post story at 4 pm thus coincided almost exactly with the long awaited release from Wikileaks of hacked emails. These showed that what Hillary Clinton said to the biggest bankers in private, when they paid her and Bill Clinton tens of millions of dollars in speaking fees, completely contradicted her campaign speeches. The sensational emails confirmed the main charge made by Bernie Sanders and his supporters: that the release of the transcripts of these speeches would prove that Clinton was a double dealing politician who said one thing in public but was really a servant of the biggest Wall Street bankers whose greed and criminal conduct destroyed the lives of millions of working class families.
What John Podesta’s emails show
The hacked emails from John Podesta reveal that Clinton was telling Wall Street behind closed doors that they needn’t be concerned about what she said about or against them in public. In an April 2013 speech Clinton explained that politicians “need both a public and a private position. If everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least.”
None of this matters now in the election. The capitalist ruling class in America does not want Donald Trump to be their president, the CEO of the state that looks after their vast interests, here and abroad. He is a narrow, unpredictable megalomaniac who only looks after himself. They don’t trust him to manage their common affairs. A Trump presidency would strip the U.S. state of any remaining legitimacy in a world that already resents the bullying and domination projected by U.S. imperialist power.
Patriarchy, misogyny and chauvinism are the norm in capitalist political circles
Trump’s disgusting comments about women are typical from the privileged and powerful men of the upper classes. Trump is like Bill Clinton and JFK in this regard. And while rich and famous men “can do anything” to women as Trump states in the audio tape, the reality is that the objectification, harassment and abuse of women is epidemic in bourgeois society–one in four women workers in fast food experience sexual assault or harassment–and involves men in all classes. This is known. In the military the issue is especially pronounced. In 2012, the Pentagon issued a report on the 20th anniversary of the Tailhook scandal during which 87 women were the subjected to violence and abuse at a Las Vegas hotel that was the site of a convention of air force admirals and other officers. The 2012 report stated that at least 26,000 military personnel, mostly women, were the victims of sexual abuse in just the past year which was undoubtedly an underestimate.
How many of these sanctimonious politicians who are now denouncing Trump also talk and act like him toward women or enable other men to do so? Joe Biden denounced Trump’s language as a form of sexual abuse but it was Biden who shielded Clarence Thomas during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings from law Professor Anita Hill as she tried to document the torment and abuse Thomas inflicted on her. Misogyny, degradation and violence against women are commonplace in capitalist America but these same politicians from both parties who are announcing their “shock, outrage and indignation” over Trump’s vile comments don’t give a damn or say anything every other day of the year. That goes for the Clintons too.
As a New York Times article of October 2 reports, Bill and Hillary Clinton and their aides used private investigators, media smear campaigns and many of the most aggressive attack tactics against multiple women who claimed that they were having affairs with Bill Clinton or had been the target of unwanted sexual advances and sexual assaults by him while he was Governor of Arkansas or while running for President.
“ … privately, she [Hillary Clinton] embraced the Clinton campaign’s aggressive strategy of counterattack: Women who claimed to have had sexual encounters with Mr. Clinton would become targets of digging and discrediting — tactics that women’s rights advocates frequently denounce.
“The campaign hired a private investigator with a bare-knuckles reputation who embarked on a mission, as he put it in a memo, to impugn Ms. Flowers’s ‘character and veracity until she is destroyed beyond all recognition.'” (NY Times Oct. 2, 2016)
That Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the candidates of the two dominant political parties is evidence of the profound lack of leadership from within the capitalist establishment. Both are deeply unpopular. Both are correctly viewed as rank opportunists. Both are reactionaries and imperialists.
For the last 18 months the attention of the country has been glued to the election process and the election outcome. It has gone on and on. More than $2 billion will be spent by the competitors by the end. Third party candidates have been excluded from the mainstream media and as a consequence there is no genuine representation from within the political process for working class people. There are no workers in Congress. The great U.S. labor movement has been reduced to a lobby and donor for the capitalist politicians. The real political power in society resides with the generals, admirals and intelligence services.This is a brand of democracy that is so twisted, so stifled and so unreal that it calls out for radical and revolutionary change. For the socialist movement a new day has begun and it will represent a major break from both of the political parties whose grip on society is gradually ending. It will find its voice in the streets.