‘Obama can work well with Republican majority, did nothing substantial when had Democratic’
An increasing number of Americans are not voting or turning to smaller parties, yet with the mid-term elections little will change in US domestic or foreign policies even if Republicans grab a Senate majority, activist and author David Swanson told RT.
RT:We spoke earlier to a couple of representatives from the smaller parties and they say that the voters are turning away from the Democrats and the Republicans and turning towards them, would you agree with that?
David Swanson: Well it remains to be seen what happens today but certainly the majority of voters, and its growing at each election cycle, its tending to grow, will not vote at all. So they are turning away from the two choices, that they know about, that are in the debates that we in the media, that have the money in the elections. To some extent they are turning to other parties. I think Howie Hawkins, the Green candidate for governor in New York will make a good showing and some people will notice that and think about it and say may be next time we could have a good governor of New York.
But it’s a steep hill to climb. And most of the House districts you don’t just have two lousy choices, but they have been gerrymandered to pretty much guarantee the race for one or another, the districts have been shaped to guarantee that outcome. So it’s in the Senate, the larger races, the whole state races that you have legitimate contests where people are really wondering whose going to win.
RT:David, how do you expect the balance of power in Congress to change after this election?
DS: Well of course relatively little, the Republicans have had the majority in the House and will keep it. The Democrats have had a slight majority in the Senate, not used it for anything substantial, and the Republicans may take it. Or they may not, that’s the question mark.
But either way you have a party, which favors massive unprecedented military spending, either way you have a party doing nothing to halt the destruction of the natural environment, either way you have status quo that is quite similar and while there is this grid lock and disagreement on other issues, the general direction of the country in terms of the inequality of wealth and where the investments are going and not going is the same, whichever of the two parties has the power.
There are some issues where people think that President Obama is actually waiting to work with a Republican Senate: the transpacific partnership, the pipelines, the net neutrality issue. But the Democrats are going to work with him almost the same as the Republicans.
RT:If the Republicans do get both chambers of Congress, will it really change much? Things are difficult for Obama now, then he’s going to have the entire Congress on the opposite camp, it’s going to make things impossible?
DS: The opposition camp on certain issues, they’re not on other issues, it’s a question of where you think Obama really wants the country to go. If Obama really wants, as he seems to want, a fast track, pushed through of a disastrous corporate trade agreement for the Pacific and potentially expanding to the world in the transpacific partnership, it may be that the Republicans are slightly better for him on that than the Democrats, and it may be the same on a number of other issues.
Obama has worked quite well with the Republicans, and when he had Democratic majorities, he didn’t do any of the things that he’s long advertised as wanting to do: closing Guantanamo, restoring our civil liberties, scaling back the militarism etc, didn’t happen when he had Democratic majorities.
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