By L. Randall Wray, Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Research Director with the Center for Full Employment and Price Stability and Senior Research Scholar at The Levy Economics Institute. Originally published at New Economic Perspectives
For months now, the Hillary campaign has vigorously argued that Bernie supporters have to fall in line to support the Democratic National Committee’s favorite candidate. Anyone not willing to jump to Hillary is a “Bernie Bro”—not willing to vote for anyone but Bernie. Why? Because, Trump. Forget the will of the people, the democratic process, or “voting one’s conscience”—Trump trumps all hesitation. We simply cannot afford to give Trump any chance of winning.
We need a Trumpbuster. Who you gonna call?
Hillary Clinton or Jill Stein?
Before reading any further, please first watch (or read) this debate between Bob Reich and Chris Hedges:
Who Should Bernie Voters Support Now? Democracy Now! 27 July 16
Bob makes the best case I’ve seen in support of the argument that Bernie supporters must vote Hillary. Trump is truly scary. He’s unhinged. Hillary’s not all that bad. We need to work within the system. Once she’s in office we’ll hold her feet to the fire of liberalism. Bob says he’s going to keep doing what he’s been doing for the past half century: vote for the Democratic candidate and then bang his head against the wall when that candidate turns right and favors War and Wall Street over progressive ideals.
Yes, that is what the party loyalist does—encouraging the DNC to offer a parade of traditional candidates like Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton I, Gore, Kerry, Obama I and II, and Clinton II. Sometimes they win the Oval Office and keep the Republican candidate du jour at bay. Other times they lose. No matter the outcome, both parties tacks right. If you are with Bob, vote Hillary. It is an honorable thing to do.
In my view, Chris destroys Bob’s arguments. You might reasonably conclude that Bob’s strategy fits Einstein’s definition: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” But following Chris and voting for Jill means you run the risk of Trump. Can that be justified?
Bernie Sanders tried running within the system, but without throwing all his principles to the wind. He refused big money, and proved that a candidate doesn’t need it to compete. He didn’t waver from his message: Like it or hate it, Bernie refused to tack with prevailing political wisdom. He not only got something like 46% of the pledged delegates, but he pushed Hillary far to the left—he forced her off her own message!
And in a fair election, he probably would have won a large majority of the vote, no matter how much Hillary twisted with the political winds. With the release of DNC emails, there is no longer any doubt that the election was rigged from the start—before the very first vote was cast, the DNC was working for Hillary. (For a dirty laundry list of the DNC’s acts against the will of the voters see here and here. )
Time to forget about the Bush-Gore Florida fiasco. This rigged primary should demonstrate for anyone willing to learn that the leadership of one of America’s two parties is opposed to democratic elections within its own party. The Dems, much more so than the Republicans. The Dems don’t trust their own party—they rig the primary and then shame those unwilling to support the rigger-in-chief. At least the Florida rigging was by Republicans against the Democrats. Voting is seen by the DNC (as well as by some within the GOP) as nothing more than a perfunctory action that should not influence the selection of the country’s President. True, the Republicans also tried to prevent their voters from choosing that party’s candidate this time around—but the leadership couldn’t do it. Democracy (with the little D) overcame the Republicans. The Democrats were able to stamp out democracy—at least within their own party’s primary. This rigging of the primary was largely open, as the Dems embraced the notion that party insiders should have a quarter of the vote, awarded to Hillary by virtue of her birthright. But that did not give her sufficient advantage against Democracy to overcome the widespread dislike and distrust of her, so they rigged the vote over the remaining three-quarters. The DNC wasn’t sure she could actually get a quarter of the vote on her own—and they were almost certainly right. She barely squeaked by in what must be among the most rigged national elections America has ever seen. Tricky Dick Nixon must be beaming from above (or below).
Although the Beltway Pundits as well as all the Official Media have written Trump off, Michael Moore warns that he’s going to win. The Pundits and Media have been utterly and hopelessly wrong in all their prognostications over the past year, so you’ve got to listen to Michael. I think the race is going to be a lot closer than most believe, but Hillary will win by a at least a nose. Wall Street, the Neoliberals, the Military-Industrial Complex, and their lapdog press will pull out all the stops to ensure that Hillary becomes the next president. Cost is no object—whether measured in money or damage done to American democracy—to put another Clinton in the Whitehouse.
We are assured that Hillary is our only hope to stop Trump. He’s a fascist demagogue, compared by supposedly reasonable people to Hitler. No matter how bad Hillary might be, she’s not Trump. Joe Biden’s glowing endorsement rested mostly on his claim that she’s not as crazy as Trump. All that is probably true.
She might be a warmonger (see below; if you want more evidence, watch her speech that goes just as far as the “sexed up” lies endorsed by Bush and Tony Blair.) who loves regime change and seeks advice from Kissinger (who oversaw a few regime changes, himself), but she’s not Trump. She supported her husband’s victory over welfare—finishing the Reagan Revolution—that threw millions of kids into poverty (many of whom are now spending their adult years in the Prison-Industrial Complex stoked by the Clinton criminalization of the underclass). But she’s not Trump because, according to Biden and Bill, she’s worked her whole life on behalf of women and children.
And yet, there’s this. She thinks that some of those children are Super Predators. Superpredators: “She suggests that rather than trying to understand how poverty and social exclusion may have led children to make certain choices, it is more important to first “bring them to heel.” As Hillary explained: They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators’. No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way but first we have to bring them to heel and the President has asked the FBI to launch a very concerted effort against gangs everywhere.”
And there’s this. Yes, she’s experienced, and much of that experience is in the war-making arena.
Her actions as Senator and Secretary of State as well her speeches and campaign statements paint a picture of a would-be President who views the world in terms of an ominous threat environment. She believes that core American interests are being challenged across the globe. She is a firm advocate of intervening on a preventive basis (e.g. Syria, Libya), as well as on a preemptive or defensive basis. She is dedicated to keeping putative rivals to the United States, like China or Russia, in a subordinate position… The specific criticisms directed at HRC from those who find her too hawkish are well-known. Most prominently there is her vote in favor of the Iraq war. But they also hear her cheer-leading for the Global War on Terror in all its aspects, her collaboration with the Robert Gates-led faction to push Obama into a major Afghan escalation and her advocacy of direct military action in Syria to unseat Assad. Then there is her unbending attitude toward containing Iran, even after the nuclear accord. Or her bellicose language in calling Putin another “Hitler” after Russia’s seizure of the Crimea. Hillary Clinton’s big foreign policy address at the Council on Foreign Relations reinforced the impression of a hard-liner across-the-board who thinks primarily in terms of power balances and the deployment of power. In addition, her full-throated endorsement of Bibi Netanyahu’s policy actions were extreme even within the context of Israel’s rightward political drift. It left no room for accommodating the concerns of those realists who see the United States as inflicting unnecessary harm on itself through its unqualified backing of everything Israel does. …There has been, in fact, a coalescing of the neocons and the gung-ho liberal interventionists who pushed hard for the Libyan intervention (the Gang of Three: Samantha Powers, Ann-Marie Slaughter, Susan Rice) and who now promote aiding the Saudis and GCC in Yemen and wading into Syria. This emerging neocon/neoliberal coalition involves a number of people who worked for Hillary Clinton in the State Department and/or figure prominently among her current advisors. The outstanding example is Victoria Nuland – Clinton’s spokesperson at State and now Assistant Secretary of State for Europe – who has aggressively spearheaded the anti-Russian crusade. Previously, she had been principal deputy foreign policy advisor for Vice-President Dick Cheney.
Join Hillary in this refrain: “We came; we saw; he died.” And then laugh when you say it. This is something you’d expect from a bad Hollywood jingoistic blockbuster—with Arnold as lead. Maybe from Trump. Not from the Presumptive President of a nation of laws and justice. Or at least a nation that aspires to such. A nation that wouldn’t see civilian deaths as acceptable collateral damage from drone assassinations of suspected terrorists. That wouldn’t advocate and laugh at murder—even of admitted terrorists. You’d expect something more along the lines of “We tried our best to capture him alive so that we could bring him back to face justice starting with a fair trial, but, sadly, he died in a firefight.” With a serious face, becoming of a Presumptive Future President. Not with a cackle that dismisses the value of human life, a value enshrined in the American conception of justice: innocent until proven guilty.
Yep, Robert Gates; Gang of Three; Dick Cheney (“Vice”)—those are the Comrades with whom she shares her voluminous experience.
But maybe she’s had a change of heart? (After all, she’s had a lot of changes of heart, although she claims she’s never changed her position.)
I listened to some of the speeches at the Democratic Convention. Except for Bill’s speech—which seemed to go on for three or four hours as he tried to humanize Hillary for the audience—what I heard was as scary as what I heard coming out of the Republican convention. Jingoism; assertions that the 21st century will be the “American Century”; odes to “American Exceptionalism”; claims that the rest of the world longs for a return of aggressive American “Leadership”. Speeches by Rear Admiral John Hutson, Leon Panetta, and General John Allen that all could have come straight out of the Cold War of the 1950s by a demented Dr. Strangelove. This was all orchestrated by the DNC and must reflect Hillary’s forward looking views of America’s role during her Presumptive Presidency.
If anything, on the international front the Republicans are charting a more pacifist and isolationist strategy. For the Democrats, our enemies are abroad; for the Republicans, our enemies are already here having infiltrated our porous borders. Republicans will build walls and deport the undocumented; the Democrats will pursue regime change and foster civil wars that produce the refugees that will flock to our borders. Which of those dystopian futures do you find more appealing? It is a tough choice. We hear a lot about the danger of letting Trump get anywhere near the nukes, but it is possible that the Democrats are more likely to produce the conditions in which using the nukes becomes a dangerous reality.
By the end of the century China’s economy will be very much bigger than that of the US, maybe larger than the US+EU economies combined. India’s economy will be bigger than the US economy. The populations of China, India, and Africa will dwarf the populations of the US and Europe. Why on earth should any reasonable person be calling for this to be the “American Century”? America already had its century of world domination—the past century. An honest evaluation would admit that the results were mixed. No rational person would conclude that America can, or should, dominate the globe over the next century. It will be the Chinese Century. It will be the Indian Century. I hope it is the African Century.
We do not need another Cold War. We will not survive a Hot War. It is time to stop scapegoating and provoking the Chinese and the Russians. At the convention, Hillary said that America is great because America is good. Let’s focus on the Good. Hillary talked a lot about working together to achieve greatness, but her inclusiveness seems to stop at our nation’s borders as she appears to ramp up the rhetoric against nations that we must work with—and that certainly includes China and Russia. Demonizing them is not helpful.
I have watched with a mixture of bemusement and horror as Hillary and the DNC have tried to divert anger to the Russians for the leaked emails of Hillary and the DNC. Trump stepped into the fray by suggesting that since the FBI has not been able to recover some of the emails Hillary erased, perhaps the Russians might help out by finding them. That led to accusations that Trump is supporting foreign espionage and that he’s friendly to Putin (as if the latter is out-of-bounds for a possible president; when Hillary trumpets her closeness to foreign leaders—no matter how tainted their reputations–that is called experience; as Trump has said, “If our country got along with Russia, that would be a great thing”. Who disagrees with that? The Cold War wing of the Democrat party that needs enemies.). The attacks by Hillary on Trump and Russia are supposed to shift our attention away from the fact that it was Hillary who put our country at risk by using an unsecured personal server to combine family and State Department business. Her actions reflect not only bad judgement but also suggest that Hillary cannot be trusted with high level security clearance—which should be problematic for the Presumptive President.
When exposed, Hillary compounded the problem by having emails deleted before they could be scrutinized. We know that the reason Hillary used her private server was to keep emails secret—free from Freedom of Information Act requests. We do not know, but it is possible—I’d guess, even probable—that these would disclose that she used her State Department position to materially benefit her family’s foundation.
In any event, we cannot know whether she’s clean unless we see the emails. Seventy percent of Americans do not trust her—with good reason. We deserve to know what she wrote and whether there was quid pro quo—such as charitable donations to the Clinton foundation to reward her for State Department approvals of sales to foreign countries.
The FBI apparently could not recover the emails. Could one reasonably suggest they need help? If David Letterman or Jon Stewart had joked that the Russians might help, it would have been hilarious. If I suggested it, readers would probably think it a poor joke—a bit over the top. Trump suggests it and he’s accused of treason. (See this piece in the New Yorker, which reads like it was written by Hillary’s speechwriter. It quotes Sean Wilentz, one of Hillary’s super-duper supporters, and takes an over-the-top interpretation of the Donald’s tongue-in-cheek tweet.) Kill the messenger and try to bury the message with references to Putin. (Putin has become everyone’s go-to-blame-for-everything that is wrong with America. See here.)
Note that it is literally impossible for anyone to hack Hillary’s servers now—they are in the hands of the FBI. Unless Hillary was careless enough to back-up the emails to the Cloud (or similar storage), they can only be found on the servers of corresponders. The official lapdog press pretends to not understand that Trump’s call on Russia for help is not a call for espionage of state secrets—except those that Hillary might have planted around the internet. Further, he asked the Russians to turn over the emails to the press—which actually might enhance US security by revealing the threats created by Hillary’s carelessness.
There’s no evidence—yet—that Russia played any role in the hack, and no one in the US security business has been willing to tie her/his name to the speculation that Russians might be involved. But let us put the question this way: which shocks you more, that the Russians might have been hacking the DNC to try to influence the US political process, or that the DNC has hijacked democracy in order to hand over the presidency to Wall Street?
Hillary threatened US security by mingling the nation’s secrets with her family’s secrets—and Trump is the problem? This mess is Hillary’s fault and she should support all efforts to clean it up—even if it takes some WikiLeaks to find her erased emails.
It is beyond doubt that the DNC slanted to Hillary; party leadership saw no difference between the goals of Clinton and the DNC; Clinton’s campaign lawyer even provided advice to DNC. The DNC teamed up with the Hillary campaign to formulate a negative narrative of Bernie (for example, Bernie isn’t sufficiently Jewish—he might even be an atheist!). The official, cheerleading press “reported” on the primaries by running through Hillary’s campaign talking points. Read any Washington Post “reporting” on the Democratic primary over the past 12 months and you’ll see it mostly just enumerates her campaign’s positions and critiques of Bernie’s campaign.
Ironically, the Clinton campaign also accused Bernie of inattention to down-ballot candidates. Actually, the DNC and Clinton campaign funneled funds meant for the down-ballot directly to Hillary—only about 1% of the funds raised to support the party went to state parties, the rest went straight to Hillary, as the leaked emails from the DNC show: “the primary season was very far from a fair fight. The Sanders camp was forced to fund all of its own operations, while the Clinton campaign could essentially use the entire Democratic Party structure as adjunct staff. The DNC not only wasn’t neutral, but helped with oppo research against Sanders and media crisis management.” Lawyers are divided on whether this was illegal campaign money laundering, but legal or not, it clearly runs counter to democracy.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz reluctantly fell on the sword as the DNC quickly rounded up the lapdog press to blame the Russians. (Hillary immediately hired her—presumably a reward for a job well-done. Also see.) Indeed, throughout the campaign, the mainstream media—most prominently the Washington Post, worked as an arm of the DNC to promote the narrative that Hillary had the election in the bag. Supporters of Bernie are reduced to “Bernie Bros” and those of Trump are “angry old white men”. According to the official press, there’s no plausible explanation for any reasonable voter not to support Hillary.
During the campaign, Hillary’s staff helped to fuel speculation that she might choose Elizabeth Warren or some other progressive as a running mate—again aided and abetted by the official mainstream press, which ran through all the purported appeal of a Hillary-Elizabeth team. I suspected that this was all a red herring to pull primary voters away from Bernie. I believed there was a near certainty that Hillary would reach right once the primary was in the can—a signal to her Wall Street and Military Industrial Complex handlers that there would be no reform. I was right, of course.
Hillary’s choice for VP, Tim Kaine, is a member of Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). As my colleague, Bill Black, put it “The DLC was, on economic and foreign policy issues, a servile creature of Wall Street — funded by Wall Street.” Bill Black:
Kaine, like Hillary Clinton, has embraced for decades the DLC/’New Democrats’ agenda — meaning they are allies of Wall Street. They embrace a neo-liberal, pro-corporate outlook that has done incredible damage to the vast majority of Americans. Kaine is actively pushing to weaken already grossly inadequate financial regulation and pushing to adopt the indefensible “Trans-Pacific Partnership” (TPP). By choosing Kaine, Hillary Clinton is signaling that her new-found support for financial regulation and opposition to TPP is a tactical ploy to win the nomination before she “pivots” back to the disastrous policies that she, Kaine and Vilsack have helped inflict on the world for decades. She is playing into Trump’s claims that she is not honest. What’s especially noteworthy is that Hillary Clinton and Kaine are carrying Wall Street’s water while the Republican Party is repudiating some of these policies. The Republican Party platform (cynically) calls for reinstating Glass-Steagall, and Donald Trump has called for the defeat of TPP in an equally cynical fashion./blockquote>
As the DNC expected, once Bernie was out of the way, Wall Street would open the floodgates.
After a wrenching yearlong nominating battle with searing debates over the influence of Wall Street and the ability of ordinary citizens to be heard over the din of dollars changing hands, the party’s moneyed elite returned to the fore this week, undeterred and mostly unabashed. For many Clinton donors, particularly those from the financial sector, the convention is a time to shed what one called the “hypersensitivity” that had previously surrounded their appearance at Mrs. Clinton’s fund-raisers or at her political events, during a period when Mr. Sanders repeatedly attacked Mrs. Clinton’s connections to Wall Street and her six-figure speaking fees from financial institutions. ‘I think we’re past that,’ said Alan Patricof, a longtime donor to Mrs. Clinton, when asked about the need to lie low during the primaries.” Blackstone; Hamilton E. James, one of the leading Wall Street contenders for an economic policy post in a future Clinton administration. The railway giant CSX brought in old railroad cars for a reception led by Rodney E. Slater, the former United States transportation secretary turned lobbyist, who also headlined a panel on transportation policy in a future Clinton administration.
As The Intercept reported:
By quietly dropping a ban on direct donations from registered federal lobbyists and political action committees, the Democratic National Committee in February reopened the floodgates for corruption that Barack Obama had put in place in 2008. Secret donors with major public-policy agendas were welcomed back in from the cold and showered with access and appreciation at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. “Major donors were offered “Family and Friends” packages, including suites at the Ritz-Carlton, backstage passes, and even seats in the Clinton family box. Corporate lobbyists like Heather Podesta celebrated the change, telling Time: “My money is now good.” What was going on inside the convention hall was also reflected outside, at costly events sponsored by the fossil fuel industry, technology companies, for-profit colleges, pharmaceutical companies, and railway companies, to name a few.
In the Hillary Clinton Era, Democrats Welcome Lobbying Money Back Into the Convention By Zaid Jilani and Alex Emmons, The Intercept 29 July 16
Thomas Frank nicely sums up the current alignment of the Democrat party:
Let’s see: trade agreements, outreach to hawks, “bipartisanship”, Wall Street. All that’s missing is a “Grand Bargain” otherwise it’s the exact same game plan as last time, and the time before that, and the time before that. Democrats seem to be endlessly beguiled by the prospect of campaign of national unity, a coming-together of all the quality people and all the affluent people and all the right-thinking, credentialed, high-achieving people. The middle class is crumbling, the country is seething with anger, and Hillary Clinton wants to chair a meeting of the executive committee of the righteous. When Democrats sold out their own rank and file in the past it constituted betrayal, but at least it sometimes got them elected. Specifically, the strategy succeeded back in the 1990s when Republicans were market purists and working people truly had “nowhere else to go”. As our modern Clintonists of 2016 move instinctively to dismiss the concerns of working people, however, they should keep this in mind: those people may have finally found somewhere else to go.
Where should they go? Frank worries that they will turn to Trump, which is probable for centrists. What about progressives? Most will follow Bob Reich’s advice, holding their noses as they vote for the lesser of two evils. It is the right short-term strategy, if you do not mind that the Democrat party will continue its rightward shift, as it rejects the party of Roosevelt’s democratic dream of shared prosperity in favor of Wall Street’s dream of what Citigroup calls the “plutonomy” (“The Plutonomy Symposium Rising Tides Lifting Yachts:). But forget Bob’s hope that the party can be reformed—the DNC will be impervious to pressure as it teams up with the anti-Trump wing of the Republican Party to push through the Neoliberal agenda, including the TPP, more privatization of health care (Obamacare) and retirement (Hillaretirement! You read it here first!), more downward pressure on wages and American living standards (Clintonomics), and more freedom for Wall Street (Rubinonomics).
If you take a longer-term view, then you might follow the advice of Chris Hedges. There is no such thing as a perfect candidate, but some progressives can vote for Jill Stein over the Greater and Lesser evils on offer from the mainstream parties. Chris points out that the Green Party’s support today is not that far off the level of support SYRIZA had in Greece before it took off as popular discontent exploded over the past decade. (Note, I’m not so happy with Chris’s analogy—for reasons I do not want to go into here, the comparison of the Greens with SYRIZA may not be apt.) No matter whether Donald or Hillary wins, discontent is going to grow in the US, which will be good for a third party.
Chris reports (and I’ve heard this from insiders) that Jill offered to step aside and let Bernie run for the top spot on the Green’s ticket. In my view that would have been a dynamite pairing that could have hastened the rise of a real alternative to our failed two party system. Without the rise of a third party, we face a future that looks a lot like Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day film: every four years we wake up to the prospect of choosing the lesser of two evils, a choice between the two hand-picked evils favored by each of the two parties and ratified by an ever-declining portion of the population that bothers to vote. Only a total of 14% of eligible adults cast a vote for either Hillary or Donald in the primaries; 86% did not bother to vote, or voted for someone else (including Bernie). The two major parties could care less whether that falls to 10% or 5%. This time around it looks like both the Democrats and the Republicans obstructed access to the ballot box. Why not? They do not want voters to select the candidates. They want the disaffected voters to stay home. They will each try to poach fence-sitters from one another but there appears to be a tacit agreement not to rock the boat by appealing to those who’ve given up on the two party system.
The Donald managed to throw a monkey-wrench into the Republican Party’s plans this time around, probably because their favored candidate (yet another Bush, of course) was so unpalatable. It looks like the Dems are setting us up for yet another Clinton (Chelsea) in the not too distant future. I’d guess there are at least a half dozen Bushes waiting in the wings, too. Or something worse. As Chris Hedges put it: “Trump is not the phenomenon. Trump is responding to a phenomenon created by neoliberalism. And we may get rid of Trump, but we will get something even more vile, maybe Ted Cruz.” Both the Republicans and the Democrats are responsible for creating Trump (as Hillary might put it, it takes a Beltway village to raise a monster). If you take Chris’s line, there will always be a “worser” evil to be defeated, justifying a vote for a “less worser” Neoliberal candidate. The crazier the candidate put up by one party, the more room for craziness in the other. Hillary needs Trump (or someone like him) to make her pro-Wall Street and pro-war positions appear to be less crazy than his pro-Wall and pro-deportation proposals. She’s a Trump enabler, not a buster, because much of what he says does make sense if you do not buy the DNC’s line.
You don’t need to know much game theory to catch on to this game.
You could say no, I won’t play. If not now, when?
In this view, to bust Trump, you need a real Trumpbuster. An alternative to the status quo of the two parties.
Jill Stein has been pushing three big ideas that admittedly appeal to me (and all of which have been supported by at least some of MMT’s founders): the job guarantee, reparations for African Americans and Native Americans, and a student debt jubilee. On the issue of “affordability”, Jill seems educable, and indeed better than Bernie (who always insisted on “paying for” any progressive proposal with tax increases or spending cuts). Financial affordability is not the question. What matters is our ability to provide useful jobs to the unemployed and to ramp up domestic production to meet the needs of the newly employed plus increased purchasing power of African Americans and Native Americans who receive reparations. Forgiving student loan debt, and fully funding public education through four years of college will actually increase our ability to produce. Still, her arguments about the technical details of implementing these policies have—so far—fallen short. For example, she talks about using the Quantitative Easing policy to develop a model for student debt relief. I, frankly, don’t follow it. To be clear, I’m not worried about the “cost” of any of her proposals, but she needs help in formulating the details. She has recently provided her choices for a “shadow cabinet”. There are some very good names on that list: Alperovitz, Flowers, Harvey, McIntyre, but there are others that don’t appear to be ready-for-prime-time players.
Those who will vote for Jill are expressing their preference for taking the long run approach, over voting for Hillary as a short run expedient move. What they want is to continue Bernie’s movement, and they (quite reasonably) fear that a vote for Hillary supports the status quo and will doom Bernie’s revolution to the same fate as Occupy Wall Street (remember that?). I’m sympathetic and I see it as an honorable position. As Chris argues:
We talk—Robert talks about, you know, building movements. You can’t build movements in a political system where money has replaced the vote. It’s impossible. And the Democrats, you know, their bedside manner is different from the Republicans. You know, Trump is this kind of grotesque figure. He’s like the used car salesman who rolls back the speedometer. But Hillary Clinton is like, you know, the managers of Goldman Sachs. They both engage in criminal activities that have—and Clinton’s record, like Trump, exposes this—that have preyed upon the most vulnerable within this country and are now destroying the middle class. And to somehow speak as if we are in a functioning democracy, or speak as if there are any restraints on capitalism, or speak as if the Democratic Party has not pushed forward this agenda—I mean, Obama has done this. You know, he has been as obsequious to Wall Street as the Bush administration. There’s no difference….. When you dispossess that segment, as large as we have—half the country now lives in virtual poverty—and you continue to essentially run a government that’s been seized by a cabal, in this case, corporate, which uses all of the machinery of government for their own enrichment and their own further empowerment at the expense of the rest of the citizenry, people finally react. And that is how you get fascism. That is what history has told us. And to sit by—every time, Robert, you speak, you do exactly what Trump does, which is fear, fear, fear, fear, fear. And the fact that we are going to build some kind of—…amorphous movement after Hillary Clinton—it’s just not the way it works.
You will note that both Bob and Chris invoke fascism: Bob uses it to justify his vote for Hillary, while Chris uses it to justify his vote for Jill. In my view, Trump is not Hitler. He’s neither so brilliant nor so charismatic. He’s a mixture of P.T. Barnum and Berlusconi: the salesman and the buffoon. But like both Bob and Chris, I am concerned with our desperate situation in which the rise of a demagogue is not difficult to imagine.
Bill Curry, former counselor to the Bill Clinton Whitehouse, says that the Dems do not even see the problems with its current “pay to play” strategy, in which—as Hillary put it—they take whatever Wall Street offers. He says that this is particularly true of Hillary. The party platform actually removed all the progressive language in previous platforms that would have tried to reduce the influence of money in politics, except the promise to go after Citizens United. However, according to Curry, the Dems worked closely with the Republicans to increase the amount of funding that can be provided to federal elections by ten-fold, which he thinks is far more important than Citizens United. While he still hopes that Hillary beats the “fascist” Trump, he concludes there really is no hope for reform under a Hillary presidency. We need a national popular peace movement to challenge this bi-partisan neoliberal hegemony.
We need a Trumpbuster, and I’m afraid that neither Hillary nor Jill fits the bill.