Elizabeth Warren is seen as a counter Bernie Sanders, but she will melt (like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris) if she stops raising Democrats’ expectations to bust corporate power.
If BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon had not passed away in June, he would be having a field day with Monday’s New York Times article describing Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s assiduous “courting” of big-wig Democrats, assuring them of her rock-hard loyalty to the party, in supposed contrast to Bernie Sanders’ call for “a mass movement, a political revolution in this country.” The Time s makes a convincing case that Warren–now in a three-way tie with Sanders and Joe Biden, according to a new Monmouth Poll–is craftily courting the super-delegates that will cast decisive votes on the second ballot of a brokered convention. Bruce would call it the barking of rival sheep dogs, both of whom are committed to keeping left-leaning voters safely within the Democratic herd.
If the Democratic contest were really about determining which candidate was best-suited to defeat Donald Trump and send a Democratic majority to the Senate, Sanders would be the nominee by acclamation. He and Biden are the only Democrats that polls show beating Trump – but Biden is melting like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz, and will soon be nothing more than a puddle of gaffes, lies and smirks on the pavement of history. Warren wants to convince the party’s gate-keepers that, despite her numerous “plans” to curb corporate power and her recent “I’m with Bernie on Medicare for All” declaration, she can be trusted to put the party’s cohesion first.
I have little doubt that Warren, who was a Republican until middle-aged, is capable of jettisoning Sanders’ and much of her own campaign promises to get party honchos’ nod for the nomination. But, despite the Democratic Party’s institutional interest in winning elections, it remains a bought-and-paid-for instrument of the corporate ruling class, whose pocketbooks are paramount. The Lords of Capital would rather the Democrats lose yet again to the unpredictable Trump, than win with Sanders or any other candidate that would seriously challenge the prevailing order: endless austerity and war. Not only do the rulers have no other vision for the future, but they have done fantastically well under perpetual austerity and global warfare, having added nearly 200 billionaires to the ranks just since 2012.
Capitalist economies are not doing well, mired in a “neollberal dead end,” as described by John Bellamy Foster in a Monthly Review article, reprinted in this issue of BAR. But, stagnating growth, chronic unemployment and declining worker wages and living standards coexists under this stage of capitalism with the escalating enrichment of the top feeders in the system, as mega-corporations devour all the others in a frenzy of consolidation. Stagnating economies can, indeed, be very good for the rich, who feast off the carnage–but only as long as the populace is convinced that no other alternative is possible, and that they must accept whatever the system offers. Therefore, no break with the austerity regime is permitted, period.
That’s why Bernie Sanders is unacceptable to the Lords of Capital–and so is Elizabeth Warren, unless she can convince the ruling oligarchs that she is the biggest fraud since Barack Obama (albeit not nearly as talented) who will renege on every implicit and explicit promise she has made to disrupt the capitalist equilibrium and ameliorate the suffering of the working classes. However, Warren will also begin to melt (like Kamala Harris) if she stops raising Democrats’ expectations by joining Sanders in promising to bust corporate power and trash the austerity regime.
The Democrats cannot beat Trump, whose white supremacist bloc is the largest coherent electoral force in the nation, unless they run on a program of austerity-busting. But the capitalist order is too fragile to entertain, and then attempt to crush, popular expectations that have been excited by the nominee of a duopoly party–even if that nominee has sworn to betray her supporters (as Obama did) at the earliest opportunity. A Warren candidacy would only work for the oligarchs if she publicly jettisons her own multitudinous “plans” before the Democratic convention. Otherwise, the people’s expectations that the super-majority-backed programs she and Sanders have endorsed could become reality, would soar out of control, creating an unquenchable political crisis for the austerity regime.
The corporate rulers want to run against Trump’s racism — and Russia. Trump wants to run against minority encroachments on white space and privilege–and China. Neither corporate party will tolerate threats to austerity, a stagnant stage of capitalist “equilibrium” in which billionaires multiply as a direct result of the Race to the Bottom that has been imposed on the rest of humanity.