“The Republicans have sold their soul to the devil. The Democrats would never do anything like that. They’ve rented theirs instead.” — Swami Beyondananda
It used to be that elections in America were dismissed as popularity contests and beauty pageants. Not anymore. Should Trump and Hillary face off in November, the opposite would be true. We would have an unpopularity contest, and an ugly pageant.
And while the Hillary folks are complaining about the unreasonable “Bernie or Bust” people, the bare truth of the matter is that Hillary’s most formidable opponent is her own record. This isn’t even about her personality, or about her being a woman or any of that. It’s about what she has stood for over the past 20+ years, and what the Democratic Party has become under the influence of the Clintons — undemocratic. It has abandoned blue-collar workers, and the economic wellbeing of the underclasses, and has become the party of a small, out-of-touch liberal elite. It has focused almost completely on “identity” issues — the symbolic rights of women, gays and minorities — while conveniently ignoring the “identical” issues we face, like clean air, water and soil, and an economy that works for all.
With the notable exception of the nuclear deal with Iran, neo-liberals like Hillary and Obama have largely continued the neocon foreign policy of Bush and Cheney. And if we move from the Middle East to our own “neighborhood”, the Americas, their record is even more disturbing. Shortly before she was assassinated, Honduran indigenous environmental activist Berta Cáceres called out Hillary for helping to install the regime that ended up killing her.
And while Hillary now says she opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that would essentially allow multinational corporations to overrule the wishes and rights of American citizens, she has always been a supporter of such deals.
No wonder she wants to focus on that upstart Bernie raining on her party. Except “her” party is really OUR party …
The Democratic Central Committee’s lament that insurgents from the left will put Donald Trump into the oval office is reminiscent of blaming Ralph Nader for the Gore-Bush fiasco sixteen years ago. As their narrative goes, that pesky devil Nader insinuated himself into the election and took votes from Al Gore, putting Bush in the White House. This notion conveniently ignores three factors:
- Gore’s biggest obstacle in 2000 was having to run against not just George W. Bush, but Bill Clinton, whose narcissism and duplicity completely occupied and ruined the final four years of his presidency.
- The main reason why Nader was in the campaign in the first place — the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the “Battle in Seattle”, where more than 40,000 protestors showed up to oppose the World Trade Organization and globalization. More than anything else, the Clinton administration’s response to the protests and their whole-hearted support for globalization (what Swami calls “gobble-ization”) set them apart from their constituency and led to the Nader candidacy in 2000.
- The Democrats’ own unwillingness to stand up to Republican bullies in Florida and demand a full and complete recount of all precincts.
All of these add up to what Hillary is up against now. She represents — whether she likes it or not — the Democrats’ complicity in the corrupt plutocracy that has replaced rule of, by and for the people. Instead of being able to represent working folks against the excesses of capitalism, she is having to fancy dance her own support for the “rule of gold” over the Golden Rule. While Trump can fully embracing being a narcissistic asshole and use it to his advantage, Hillary has to pretend she isn’t the poster child for the status quo — the same status quo that so many Americans have come to despise.