The Neither Election: Voting One’s Progressive Conscience on Blog#42
For the likes of me, this election was never about a Republican candidate. I’ve never voted for one. That GOP voters chose Donald J. Trump goes to how abject a failure the Koch Brothers takeover of the Tea Party was. Trump’s ascent is a direct result of the realization by Republican voters that they were duped by Sarah Palin and all the new faces that came up after her nomination by John McCain. The level of obstruction from 2010 to the present, with an almost complete lack of legislation in Congress, and its effect on the recovery of our economy from the second largest financial disaster this nation has ever suffered are being felt to this very day. We were robbed of a healthy and full recovery. We were also robbed of our democracy, with polarization worsening and our political discourse reaching new lows.
The GOP became the party of racism by 2012. Donald J. Trump’s GOP is the party of hyper-racism. His followers, the ‘deplorables,’ are even more virulent and overt in their biases. Sammy Nickalls writes in Esquire Magazine, that “Over a Third of Trump Supporters Follow White Nationalists on Twitter.” If the deplorable nature of Trump and his following has received ample coverage this election season, it has been at the expense of any substantive scrutiny of his opponent’s platform or her own issues, as candidates go.
While, on the surface, Secretary Clinton has received a fair amount of negative coverage, on balance, that negativity has manifested itself more as news headlines of revelations, rather than the non-partisan, impartial scrutiny of their content. One of the two biggest examples has been the lack of coverage and deep analyses of the WikiLeaks emails, as much of the media parroted the Clinton campaign’s mantra about their suspected Russian provenance, instead of examining the explosive and contentious nature of their policy and political content. The other example has been the coverage of Mrs. Clinton’s decision to run a private server for her State Department emails, with the most prominent pundits minimizing its importance. Here, it is important to point out that Senator Sanders’ exasperated “damn emails” statement early on in the debates ended up being unhelpful. Yes, the emails should not have been the single solitary issue Hillary Clinton was asked about in the debates, but it was a valid voter concern and still is. I couldn’t with that.
On the surface, what the media has been serving up seems to have been good enough for Liberal voters. There has been little to no discussion, let alone analysis, of the issues so many millions of voters flocked to the Sanders campaign to hear about. That conversation ended with the closing of the Democratic national convention. I really couldn’t with that.
So, what are these issues that progressive-minded voters care about? As I wrote here, months ago, this election has been about trade and jobs:
But even before the primary was decided, the economic pundits were already changing the narrative and marginalizing those for whom the recovery wasn’t working. I couldn’t with that.
By the end of the conventions, the punditry had established, in its own alternate reality, a narrative by which the malcontents are really the racist white Trump voters who aren’t quite as destitute as one might think, while everyone else is faring far better than at the start of the recession. I really, really couldn’t with that!
So, who exactly are those angry voters?
Nothing much has changed since I wrote this, last July. In fact, in ‘How the ‘Losers’ in America’s Trade Policies Got Left Behind,’ Alana Semuels writes how ineffective policy has been in spite of all we know about the deleterious effects of bad trade and fiscal policy. She gives us, as an example, what happened to a small town in which the main employer, a glass container maker, closed its plant, leaving a town in the lurch:
“But in the six years since the plant went out of business, wresting economic hardship on the town of Clarion, few of Baumcratz’s workers have actually gotten retrained. About 35 people went back to college, finished college, or completed vocational school for professions such as truck driving. Of the rest of the 400 or so workers, a handful—about one-third—retired. A few moved to a plant in another state. The rest have been getting by on odd jobs in the community, Baumcratz told me, where they make about half what they made in the glass plant. It’s been a rough transition. “We thought we were doing a great thing, and it only helped 35 people,” Baumcratz said.”
Make Clarion, the town in Semuels’ piece, the entire United States. Millions of workers who were laid off at the start of the Great Recession have yet to resume their careers or begin comparable ones. Add to their numbers, millions of newly-minted college graduates. While GOP obstruction can be blamed for a lot, it would be unfair and incorrect to place all the blame on Republicans for the lack of effective economic policy. Talking about jobs in these terms would have been a fine campaign strategy. Bernie Sanders did really well with it. That Clinton didn’t run on a similar platform after the convention is befuddling. Even more befuddling is the media’s narrative about voters. I really can’t with that, either!
Since I wrote about the 9 Lies of Election 2016,
We’ve been treated to nearly two months of non-stop daily WikiLeaks email dumps and we’ve learned that every last suspicion progressive voters had about the DNC was true and worse! We learned about how low Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her top DNC officials stooped on behalf of the Clinton campaign, engaging in activities bordering on the promotion of anti-Semitism, in order to defeat Senator Bernie Sanders. That no one apologized to voters who were offended, is offensive and I can’t with that!
We subsequently learned that Donna Brazile, the person who replaced Wasserman-Schultz was just as duplicitous. In this era of the Foxification of our news, Brazile’s conduct turned out to be too much for both CNN and ABC News. Both networks fired her as an analyst.
Why political operatives were presented to the viewing public as analysts is a good question. What effect has the daily exposure to news analysis meted out by partisans had on voters looking for information? What effect has the obvious partisanship of the nation’s major newspapers, including the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and New York Times, not only in their opinion sections, but where hard news are supposed to be? In social media, it has been very hard to avoid the proliferation of posts from many new alternative news sites. It is obvious that people, disgusted with the mainstream media and distrustful of it, have been flocking to new sources of information. Millions of Americans can’t with the media and who can blame them? What will the net effect be? We will find out tonight.
In the four months since the DNC convention in Philadelphia, we’ve learned much about the true intentions of our Democratic leaders. This email, by The Hill columnist Brent Budownsky encapsulates all that is wrong with Liberal Democrats:
The Clinton campaign has remained completely silent on the substance of the leaked emails. The Clinton camp has yet to even offer Democratic voters an explanation of the DNC’s behavior, never mind an apology to roughly 45% of its membership. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, over the last weekend before the general election, went as far as saying that she resigned for the good of the party but that, essentially, did nothing wrong. I just can’t with that!
Hillary Clinton, at the end of the month of September, as there was a spate of police killings, made an appearance on The Steve Harvey Morning Show, in which she said:
“Maybe I can, by speaking directly to white people, say, ‘Look, this is not who we are.’ We have to do everything possible to improve policing, to go right at implicit bias…”
She never did follow up and address white voters in this fashion. Meanwhile, police brutality goes on, unabated. Politico reports that President Obama, contrasting between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on race relations, said:
“If you think that I’ve done a good job, if you believe that Michelle has done a good job, everything that we’ve done over the last eight years will be reversed with a Trump presidency,” he said. “And everything will be sustained and built on with a Hillary Clinton presidency.”
An awful lot of people, specifically African American voters, are looking for change, and not more of the same. In fact, if more of the same is what’s coming, we can be assured of a reprise of the mass-demonstrations of 2014. The problem is that President Obama’s self-assessment is overly generous with respect to his own performance. The ensuing comparison is a false equivalency. Whereas a Trump presidency would be expected to be repressive and regressive on race, it goes without saying that a President Clinton will not be accorded the deference President Obama received. Were it not for the fear engendered by the candidacy of Donald Trump, Black voter turnout would have been far less than it has been in the last few days. Once Clinton is installed as president, she will be expected to act on in short order. Thanks to Guccifer 2.0, we know that former Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, sent out an email ordering House Democrats not to cooperate or endorse Black Lives Matter policies.
There have been protests in North Dakota for weeks now. The mainstream media has been mostly silent. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now had a warrant issued for her arrest because she covered it. The protests are ongoing and the authorities are using very heavy handed tactics. Hillary Clinton hasn’t said a word about any of what’s been going on. I just can’t with that.
If President Clinton and liberal Democrats persist in giving Black Lives Matter the cold shoulder, trouble will surely ensue, as BLM enjoys the support of a majority of Black voters, as well as wide support among white progressives, as a legitimate movement for Black lives.
President Clinton will not only have to deal with the protests in North Dakota, but also the fallout from the poisoning of the water in Flint, Detroit, and all the other places where minorities are subjected to pollution because corrupt officials made decisions that profit corporations over people. In North Dakota, state and federal law enforcement are brutalizing demonstrators as they protect corporations. I just can’t with that.
Clinton would be best served in adopting Senator Bernie Sanders’ “Platform for Racial Justice” as a starting policy and working with BLM and other civil rights groups to improve on it. Doing anything less will be detrimental to the future of the Democratic Party in the long-term.
WikiLeaks laid bare all that is wrong with the DNC. During one of the primary debates, Hillary Clinton said something akin to “this is my Democratic party, I’ve worked hard to build it into what it is.” Based on what we’ve seen this past year, there is little hope Clinton will do anything to reform the party without a strong progressive showing at the polls today. Many progressive Democrats left after the convention. They just couldn’t with that.
The survival of the movement Bernie Sanders built with his candidacy hinges upon the election of all of the candidates sponsored by Our Revolution. Without a strong, effective progressive opposition to establishment Democrats, progressives voters will either continue to gravitate towards third parties like the Greens, or leave the party and join the ranks of independent voters. If everything we’ve learned from the WikiLeaks dumps is any indication, progressives may be in for a losing fight against the establishment. After this past year, they just can’t with that!
In broadcasts and posts from his public Facebook account, Robert Reich has been talking about the possibility of the creation of a new progressive party since late Spring 2016. Reich will be joining Representative Keith Ellison for a post-election debrief conference call. Click the image below to sign up.
I will be voting Progressive all the way down-ballot, blanking out in races in which there is no progressive representation. I will do so without any feelings of guilt and in the knowledge that our consistent progressive votes are crucial in order to safeguard the future. This is the last election in which I will vote as a Democrat. I just can’t with that!
This past year has thrown into question for millions of progressives whether the Democratic party was really with us all these decades. Seeing in black and white the extent of the collusion to keep out the left wing of the party, the degree to which high level members are beholden to corporate interests and the fact that Hillary Clinton never really had any intention of following through on her campaign promises has sealed the deal for many progressives. I am one of them.
The Democratic party betrayed us. Millions of disgusted progressives will most likely vote responsibly one last time. Consider this vote our way of turning out the lights on our way out.