November 2nd Elections Reveal Increasing Distrust in Electoral Solutions

An election worker counts ballots in Denver, Colorado

By: Red Nesbitt, Red Phoenix Correspondent Baltimore

In the last week, several local elections have been held throughout the country that saw democrats pushed back in Virginia most notably, and in other elections across the country. In Seattle and New York City, “progressive” candidates saw defeats. The measure to defund the police in Minneapolis was also defeated. The mainstream press has exhausted itself wagging its finger at leftist, progressive sentiment in the country, touting the results of the November 2nd elections as a “return to normal” and a clear sign that the American people reject public disorder and the so-called Biden agenda, and its tepid calls for environmental reformism and basic social democratic measures it quickly abandoned when challenged in congress. The recent elections are not a mandate against radicalism, or a clear sign that the American people do not want things like universal healthcare and free community college education. It’s a sign, once again, that workers are disenchanted with democratic compromise and failure.

The ballot measure in Minneapolis was one of the more radical things up for a vote in these latest elections. The Yes campaign of the measure proposed the aforementioned replacement of the Minneapolis Police Department with a civilian-controlled Department of Public Safety, and restricted the $182,000,000 PD budget to an undetermined minimum. Last year, the city of Minneapolis only spent $31,000,000 dollars on public housing in comparison to their outfitting of police departments with assault rifles and armored vehicles to overpolice those housing projects. The No campaign was supported by prominent local business interests and was accused of misrepresenting the proposal by the Yes campaign in its media. The final count revealed that 56% of the 143,000 voters voted down the measure. However, there are just under 300,000 Minneapolites of voting age as of the 2020 census, and so, less than half of the voting-age population turned out to vote for the proposal. Basic math shows that when less than half of the eligible population participate in the vote that the victory or defeat of this or that measure is not reflective of the interests of the majority of the populace. Yet again, establishment politicians will say “the people have spoken” while going out of their way to suppress the working class vote on a workday, Tuesday, November 2nd, when working class Americans are historically overworking in the midst of the “economic recovery.”

No, as easy as it would be to consign these elections and their turnouts to the chaos of chance or to point the finger at this or that demographic, in the revolutionary sense, there is a singular trend apparent in every election, the lower and lower percentage of people turning out to vote. 

In Seattle, moderate Bruce Harrell defeated progressive Lorena Gonzalez with 59.29% of the vote to her 40.41%. These results were particularly relished by corporate pundits given the intensity of the clashes between protestors and the police in the city, as well as Gonzalez’s support for community control of the police and for defunding the SPD. A closer analysis of the election betrays an uncomfortable truth for those same reactionary and liberal pundits-of the 490,000 eligible voters in Seattle, just under 250,000 turned out to vote in this city-wide election. That is a turnout of only 51.01%. Similarly in the NYC mayoral race local moderate Democrat and former policeman Eric Adams made history in making himself the second black man to become the mayor of NYC. In New York City, where there are 4.9 million registered voters, no more than 1.2 million New Yorkers cast their vote in the Tuesday election, and of the 969,608 ballots cast in the mayoral election alone, a little more than 30% voted against the Democrat ticket. The overall turnout for all the offices up for grabs amounts to just 24%, this annoying little detail does not frustrate the Wall St. Journal from declaring that, although Mayor Adams will have a hard battle against progressives in his own party (clearly a decisive and clear victory for moderation), that he has a “clear mandate to do so.” What a mandate to have less than a quarter of the city behind you!

In Philadelphia, progressive Larry Krasner secured victory in the DA race which was pinned on the dreaded “woke, white college youth” of the city by media analysts. It’s certainly a shame they couldn’t turnout in Seattle and New York City, you know, Belltown and Williamsburg, places infamous for the absence of white college youth. No, as easy as it would be to consign these elections and their turnouts to the chaos of chance or to point the finger at this or that demographic, in the revolutionary sense, there is a singular trend apparent in every election, the lower and lower percentage of people turning out to vote. 

In the aftermath of the 2020 US Presidential Election, Joe Biden made history by securing the largest popular vote of any candidate in history, but this is dimmed by the fact that his party still lost seats in the Senate and in the House, and only 65% of the eligible electorate turned out to vote overall. “Eligible” is the key word there, as 5.2 million adult Americans were disenfranchised by felony charges, a great many of those charges matched to the War on Drugs, at the same time, 3.5 million American citizens likewise cannot vote owing to the fact that they live in US “territories” that is over 8,800,000 Americans that cannot vote due to direct disenfranchisement and we cannot calculate how many millions more are disenfranchised indirectly by voter ID laws that add unnecessary time, red tape, and expenditures to the voting process that working class Americans do not have just to tick a box after standing in the line for far too long. What is also lost on the reformists and the Biden administration as it attempts to champion “democracy,” is that Donald Trump lost the popular vote by a margin of over 3,000,000 votes in 2016 and still won, compare that to the coordinated sabotage of Bernie Sanders’ primary bids in 2016 and 2020, one wonders what democracy these columnists are so proud of. 

While the media tirelessly seeks to analyze the results of the election, and cynically devise the “pathways to power” through various demographics, they expose something important for working class activists in the US, the sheer lack of interest of working class people in US elections, in the wake of the George Floyd movement and the COVID-19 pandemic that saw the middle class shelter away and the working class thrown into the greatest danger. It is THIS reality, these trends and polls, this activity and independent organization that sends the capitalist press frantic in their drive to cast some kind of redeeming light, some form of validation for the system that built them up. The solution to the problems we face as a country will not be found in the ballot box or in the endless cycle of media analysis, but in revolutionary organization and working class solidarity, that slow, decades-long process by which the ruling class is challenged and swept aside.Our voices and truths, outside of media punditry, are the first weapons in that struggle. 

Categories: U.S. News

%d bloggers like this: