The Socialist Response to the 2020 Presidential Debate

Tonight’s debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden was testament to how little choice voters truly have in this so-called democracy. Gloria La Riva and Sunil Freeman are running in the presidential election to give voters a real alternative -- one that stands for the rights of the working class and in opposition to war, racism and the destruction of the environment. On these existential issues of our time and so many others, Trump and Biden have more in common than they pretend. Neither have a program to meet the scale of these crises — and under either one, they will only deepen.

One major theme of the debate was taxes, with Joe Biden posturing as the champion of “the middle class” by favorably comparing his own personal tax payments with Trump’s. Of course it is an outrage that someone as fabulously wealthy as Donald Trump paid virtually nothing in taxes for years. But it is also a common practice among the elite that rules this country. 

Notably, one of the key ways that the ultra-rich and their corporations evade taxes is by setting up a shell headquarters in Delaware, a state with no corporate income tax. Joe Biden served as the Senator from Delaware for 36 years, becoming by far the most powerful man in the state’s politics. During these decades, Biden was silent on the issue. Couple that with his record of voting to gut social programs, embracing anti-worker free trade agreements and shielding the big banks from accountability for the 2008 financial crash -- Biden’s sudden change of heart about tax evasion by the wealthy is a display of utter hypocrisy and cannot be taken seriously.

We condemn Donald Trump’s racist attacks on the Black Lives Matter movement and his attempts to portray the righteous uprising as mindless violence and rioting. Gloria La Riva, Sunil Freeman and the entire PSL have been in the streets all summer as proud participants in the movement. But we cannot forget Joe Biden’s record either. Biden was a principal architect of mass incarceration through his authorship of the draconian 1994 crime bill, which he justified with rhetoric demonizing Black youth. Biden launched his political career as an avowed opponent of school desegregation and has repeatedly, publicly praised Senators who were among the most notorious defenders of Jim Crow apartheid -- Strom Thurmond, James Eastland and Herman Talmadge.

Neither candidate is willing to even consider the type of dramatic action that needs to be taken to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic and associated economic crisis. The PSL’s La Riva/Freeman campaign demands the immediate cancellation of rent and mortgage payments with no accumulation of debt, full replacement of all unemployed workers’ incomes, free healthcare for all and international cooperation to develop a vaccine. 

The Gloria La Riva/Sunil Freeman ticket stands for a new system — socialism — where the working class and oppressed hold economic and political power, and the needs of the people and the planet are planned for and guaranteed.