As the 2012 presidential election draws closer, Republican candidate Mitt Romney continues to do something few thought possible: make Barack Obama look like a regular guy from Main Street.
The job of Obama’s campaign team, to paint Romney as out of touch with working people, has been made easy by gaffes such as telling CNN that he’s “not concerned about the very poor,” and saying that he “likes being able to fire people” while at a Nashua County Chamber of Commerce forum. Even Romney’s calculated attempts to relate to workers have often backfired, as was the case when he proclaimed to the Detroit Economic Club that his wife drives “a couple of Cadillacs.” Only days later when asked by the Associated Press if he followed NASCAR, Romney stated that while he doesn’t follow it as closely as the most passionate fans, he “has some great friends that are NASCAR team owners."
Romney’s status as an ultra-rich representative of the 1% isn’t just public perception. His personal financial disclosure forms that he filed with the Federal Election Commission show that his net worth is as much as $250 million. To make matters worse, the majority of his fortune was acquired during his tenure with Bain Capital, which routinely bought out struggling companies and laid off many workers. This earned him the label “vulture capitalist” from fellow conservative and Texas Governor Rick Perry.
While a Romney presidency would be catastrophic for workers, minorities, and the poor, Barack Obama and the Democrats also put corporate interests above those of working people and the poor. Because both parties represent the interests of the 1%, there’s strong bipartisan support for allowing ultra-rich corporations to spend obscene amounts of money promoting candidates who will carry out their profit-at-all-costs, anti-worker agenda. We see this manifested in attacks on unions, the rise of the prison industrial complex, and wars all over the globe — all of which continue uninterrupted through the administrations of Democrats and Republicans.
What we need is a new political party that refuses to take corporate money, is democratically controlled by its members, and fights determinedly for the interests of the working-class majority on the issues of jobs, wages, benefits, health care, social programs, housing, war, discrimination, and the environment. In the past, workers have created parties like this in countries around the world. There are now two corporate parties in the U.S. Why shouldn’t we, as working people, have one of our own?