The question we need to ask


Last April I declared that “I voted for Bernie in the primaries, and I’m voting for him again in November. No matter who the “official” candidates are.” Now that the primaries are over, and the candidates are official, it’s time for us Bernie supporters to sit down, assess the situation, and ask a couple very important questions.

The first question is, “Are we going to give up now that Hillary has won?” If so, then fine, let’s take our ball and go home, and vote for Bernie, or Jill, or nobody. We tried to make the world a better place, and we failed, so the hell with it all.

But if we’re not giving up—as I am not giving up—then we need to ask the second and even more important question: under which presidency will we be better able to pursue our struggle and build an even stronger base for the next campaign?

Bernie fell short because, while he generated an amazing amount of grassroots support, all that support was focused on the presidential race. Hillary won because she had the support of the political infrastructure that exists between the grass roots and the White House. (And yes that includes all the dark money, which is a separate and equally important problem.) Our next goal should be to take control of that political infrastructure. We need true progressives on all the committees and holding offices at the local and state level, so that our voice is heard and respected, and we didn’t have that this time.

But will we ever achieve that? Possibly. Hopefully. But if the country swings as far to the right as Trump is planning to take us, it will be a lot harder. We know the next president will put at least one Supreme Court justice on the bench, and could conceivably put 3. And remember, Trump has said he thinks the Geneva Convention is outdated, and that the US should employ the worst imaginable forms of torture. He thinks Tiananmen Square is an example of how a “strong” government ought to handle dissidents. His mere candidacy has revitalized neo-Nazi white supremacist groups, and given them an increasingly vocal presence in our politics.

I’ll give Hillary her due, she’s worked hard to be where she is and she has done a lot of good things, but I don’t trust her. I think she’s in Wall Street’s pocket, and Wall Street is evil in a lot of ways, and we need to keep fighting them. But that’s a known battle. Wall Street isn’t going to want America to turn into a fascist dictatorship either, so Hillary won’t be making those kinds of changes, which means we can continue to fight and to make progress on the same terms.

With Trump all bets are off. I don’t actually think he’d be another Hitler, because I don’t think he has Hitler’s political ambitions. He has as much as declared that he wants his VP to take care of all the actual political work because he’s not interested. He wants the fame and the power, but not the actual chores.

On the other hand, that may make him even more dangerous, because that means he’s going to let his henchmen do all the actual work. And so far, he’s shown himself to be more than willing to recruit racists, right-wing fundamentalists, science-deniers, historical revisionists, and on and on, as his surrogates and thought leaders.

Could the people of Germany in the 1930’s have had any idea how things were going to turn out under Hitler? I don’t know, but I think we have as much information now as they did then, plus the benefit of hindsight. I’m still not a Hillary fan, but I think Bernie did the right thing by endorsing her, and I’m going to give her my vote, not because I want her to have it but because I want to be absolutely sure Trump does not get the benefit of it.

Comments

  1. prochoice says

    The Germans, who were eligible to vote in 1932 and 1933, did not expect Hitler.
    Several reasons:
    In 1933, before the Ermächtigungsgesetz in march 1933 everybody “just knew” that the rightwing coalition government Reichspräsident Paul v. Hindenburg und Beneckendorff ordered to form would be another of the “9-months-governments” the Weimar republic had had most of its time. (I remember a book, written by an English mothertongue speaker about “30 days of January” or so. Read it, but do not remember author´ s name nor title, 30 days was subtitle or blob)
    Up to end of 1932 NOBODY ever expected the Nazis to join in a government coalition; the people on the left thought that the infighting of the rightleaning parties were just as bitter as their own; the Communists, on order by Stalin, fought for the idea that revolution was the only means to end capitalism, and that the reformers, biggest group Social Democrats, were hopelessly wrong and even called THEM “social fascists”!!!
    And the more politically savy knew that Hindenburg would not make “den böhmischen Gefreiten” (the hillbilly private) into Reichskanzler; it was the Vatican ambassador and would-be next pope who persuaded this stiffnecked and dumb and religious(!) man of nobility to do this – after several tries to get a functional gov or even minority gov out of the many parties in the Reichstag.
    THERE is the precise difference: it was a proportional vote system with many parties, absolute unlike US majority “The winner takes it all” system. US voters have to put up with 1 and only 1 person despite all the flaws.

  2. says

    Voting for Clinton is the only reasonable thing to do regardless of whatever Trump might or might not do. The simple reason is that voting for someone who objectively will not win is precisely equivalent to not voting at all in a FPTP system, and by doing so all the idiots who believe the fallacy that Nader and therefore Sanders and Stein and Johnson are all spoilers get to shift blame onto you for effectively not voting for the candidate they were forced to vote for to rationalize their own powerlessness.

    The most unfortunate part of this election is how much attention is given to Trump when the only thing anyone should be doing is ignoring him. He has a psychological defect which compels him to seek attention. Absolutely anyone with any understanding of psychology will tell you not to feed the beast.

    With that out of the way, Hitler was way more interesting and effective than Trump. Trump is essentially just filling a void in the collapse phase of the Republican party. Whether Trump could win or not does absolutely nothing for the Republican party, but if he wins it drags out the collapse for at least four more years so it would be way better for the party collectively to not have his voice speaking over theirs for four years.

    The reformation of the Republican party is essential for the reformation of the Democratic party for the simple reason that most Democrats voted for Clinton because they still feel the need to appeal to people on the (far) right despite that never being realistic. Only after the Republican party has shifted safely back from the brink of disaster would it be possible for Democrats in general to feel comfortable voting for someone who does not lean right.

    Ordinary voters do not understand their own motivations for voting: they only vote for whoever they believe will win but mistakenly assume that most Republicans believe that Trump would win because the majority believe in him even though they don’t feel the same about Clinton at all and even admit such openly. I often hear people talking about winning itself and the stakes but nothing about what would actually happen afterwards. Neither Clinton nor Trump represent any concept of something meaningful happening after the election. Despite World War II, Hitler actually managed to help Germany recover from the Great Depression and the crippling cost of war reparations, and at least some people believed in him for the things he did which were good for Germany. Again, neither Clinton nor Trump even represent as much good as Hitler did. You literally have to drag Clinton’s public image to the trough to force feed it social justice because of all the bad things she’s said in the past and even continues to stand by. Meanwhile Republicans only wish Trump was Hitler because they feel that Democrats nominated Clinton as a dare to vote for him.

  3. brucegee1962 says

    I don’t expect Trump to try to become a military dictator, because I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. However, if he DOES attempt to become one, I don’t see how anyone could possibly be surprised.

  4. says

    It’s absolutely true that a Clinton presidency would be slightly better for progressive causes than Trump’s. But please don’t underestimate her. The evils she partakes in go way further than Wall St. She has provoked and supported a great deal of horror around the world, she can’t be left unchecked.

    Also, as proven by the DNC’s cynical (and politically idiotic) attitude towards Sanders and his supporters, don’t expect getting control of that political infrastructure to be anywhere close to easy. They will try to cheat true progressives out of their seats. They will cheat progressive voters out of their primaries. They will shoot themselves in the foot trying to get you out. They will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the kind of party they were supposed to be.

    As things stand right now, the best possible strategy for the future is:
    “Vote for Hillary, knowing that she’s a megalomaniac warmonger who’ll destroy latin american democracies, throw your progressive causes under the bus and wage war on Russia the minute you turn your back on her. Oppose her murderous neoliberalism as best as you can for four years. Replace her with a real progressive in 2020.”

    Also, cross your fingers and hope that the republicans don’t pull a 47% Romney-type-of-thing with her Goldman-Sachs speeches.

  5. StevoR says

    @ ^ A Lurker from mexico : “Vote for Hillary, knowing that she’s a megalomaniac warmonger who’ll destroy latin .. “ etc ..

    No she’s not. I really don’t think so and think that sort of OTT rubbish is seriously wrong and unfounded in reality.

    I wonder if you and those who equally feel that way have ever been willing to give her a fair go or looked at her actual policies and proposals e.g. as noted by her directly here :

    https://www.hillaryclinton.com/

    Plus note that polls of Hispanic voters consistently show Hillary Clinton has a whopping 70% or so support as noted here :

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/fl-hispanic-poll-clinton-trump-univision-20160714-story.html

    She (Hillary Clinton – ed) has a relatively high favorability rating — 69 percent — with 30 percent unfavorable. In polls of the general population, Clinton’s ratings on honesty and trustworthiness have suffered after extensive attention to her email practices as secretary of state. But 55 percent of Hispanics said Clinton is more honest and trustworthy;

    Which indicates that most Latin@’s disagree with you at least US ones. Do you think they don’t know and appreciate her adequately or something?

    And on her running mate I strongly urge you to read and consider what Jim Wright of the Stonekettle Station blog wrote here :

    http://www.stonekettle.com/2016/07/the-decider.html

    Think about what Kaine has actually done and his record as a force for good as noted there and elsewhere. And pleas e senor por favour do get over your hatred of Hillary.

    • StevoR says

      ^ Continued :

      And one of his very first acts on Capitol Hill was to deliver a speech on the Senate floor in support of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” immigration bill. Kaine gave the speech entirely in Spanish. The first time in the history of the United States that a speech was given by a Senator on the Floor in any language other than English.

      Except from Jim Wright’s blog post linked above.

      Hillary Clinton picks as her running mate, the first person ever to give a Senate speech in another language – and Spanish at that – and somehow you think she’s a “warmonger” who will be especially bad for Latin America? What the ..?

      That. Does. Not. Compute.

      Where do you get your irrational hatred of Hillary from – Fox “news” and Bernie-bro slanders and the long history of Republican smears against a strong good woman?

      Wherever you get it from, the evidence strongly contradicts it. (See links and comment above & here.)

  6. says

    I like Bernie and voted for him in the primary. I will head his advise and vote for Hillary. I listened to an interview of Jill Stein on The Spirit of The Forest podcast and I was not impressed, to say the least.

  7. says

    @ StevoR

    That’s all you got? Latin americans in the US don’t mind her?

    Do you think they don’t know and appreciate her adequately or something?
    I could, right now, go find Black and Latino Trump supporters and ask you the same “Do you think you know better?” kind of dodgy question. The statistics you post reflect people’s perceptions, not necessarily reality. And considering the collusion between the media and the DNC, I wouldn’t blame US latin americans for being uninformed.

    8 in 10 americans believe in angels, does that make them more plausible? Do you think you know better than 80% of the people in your country? Are you not arrogant?
    This is a dishonest line of questioning, based on fallacies. The ad populum argument, specifically.

    Since you asked how could she be so bad for Latin American nations, I’ll explain.

    Here she is, writing mexican law. Specifically a political reform that privatizes our oil industry. Thousands of jobs, a big chunk of our exports, and a third of the mexican government budget depend on our socialist oil industry.
    http://www.desmogblog.com/2015/08/07/hillary-clinton-state-department-emails-mexico-energy-reform-revolving-door

    Here she is, sending aid to Honduras during the coup, knowing that doing so only helps the coup and further destabilizes the country. Also, her refusal to call it what it was (a military coup) was not just random stubbornness. There are american laws that prohibit sending aid to countries undergoing a coup for precisely the reasons I stated above. Her not calling things by their real name was just a strategy to weasel her way out of the law. Can’t believe it worked, actually.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/04/19/hillary-clintons-dodgy-answers-on-honduras-coup/

    Here she is deporting honduran child refugees en masse. Child refugees with, remember, were fleeing a hellish situation that Hillary made worse by continuing american “aid” despite the well-known consequences.
    Her rationale for sending children back into the murder capital of the world? “I want to send a message”
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/03/11/hillary-clinton-s-child-deportation-flip-flop.html

    Here she is joining the dog pile of politicians, factory owners and the usual sonsofbitches, fighting against a raise in the minimum wage in Haiti:
    http://www.snopes.com/hillary-clinton-suppressed-haitis-minimum-wage/

    This is part of her record as Secretary of State. It’s clear to me that you have a bit of a knee-jerk reaction: every time you see a criticism of your hero you revert back to the “Republican Lies!!!” argument.
    “…the long history of Republican smears against a strong good woman?”

    Here’s the thing. I haven’t heard Bill O’Reilly even mention Honduras, let alone use it as an attack against Hillary Clinton. I’ve never heard Rush Limbaugh talk about the minimum wage in Haiti, I don’t suppose he knows or cares about that. The only thing those morons ever attack her on is Benghazi (Whitewater seemingly went out of fashion) and her being mean to the Secret Service.
    Here, I’ll even tell you why they hammer the Benghazi nonsense on her (while ignoring her REAL problems):

    White people died in Benghazi. That’s it. If it had been black soldiers and diplomats they would have let it go after a few days. If it had been non-white and gasp non-american soldiers and diplomats, you wouldn’t have even heard about it. Even if she was guilty of something there, unlike Benghazi.
    I have a hard time believing that the right wingers would try to make a line of attack out of something that doesn’t really impact white americans.

    However, I’ll indulge you. If you can link me a video or an article of right wingers criticizing her actions in Mexico, Honduras or Haiti, and if your info predates mine (Since it could also be right winger aping a left-wing attack) I’ll consider those points as Right-Wing attacks. Not sure how you’d manage to prove they’re smears, but if you can, do it.

  8. says

    Oh Jesucristo! So her VP can speak spanish, you say? How could I be so blind?! Madre mía!

    I can see now, Hillary is just like my abuela after all.

    I’ve been bested… I have no words… How could a person who’s friends with another person who can speak more than one language ever wage war? You’re so completely right. Bilingual people don’t wage wars. And people who get bilingual people as their VP much less so.

    Ok, your point was so damned weird. Please, pleeeaase explain your reasoning. I need to know what made you think that was a compelling argument. But, moving on.

    Beside her votes for the Iraq war, her pushing Obama into intervening in Libya, that she’s encouraging the use of child soldiers in Sudan, that she got a crazed general yelling at ISIS during the convention, her stated intention of installing a No-Fly zone over Syria (which would require sending troops there, think Afghanistan 2.0) which would be useless at best (ISIS doesn’t have aircraft) and horribly, stupidly, borderline insanely god damned reckless at worst (shooting a russian airplane bears the risk of starting an armed conflict with Russia).

    Besides all of that I got nothing. No clue why would anyone ever regard her as a warmonger.

    Here’s the deal. I know Trump is monstrous, no need to waste our time arguing that. In fact, I hope you recognize that the first three words that you quoted from me are “Vote for Hillary…”, so we can avoid a tedious debate where you accuse me of being for Trump and blah blah blah.

    I said “vote for her because she’s the lesser evil”, however, there is a caveat to that. She’s the lesser evil as long as she’s kept in check. As long as people have an honest look at her policies and well-reasoned distrust for anything and everything she says, she can be the best case scenario:
    Nothing at all on the foreign policy side, because her uglier policies were heavily opposed, and maybe one or two negligible advances on social issues (pragmatism!!!).

    The problem is people like you, to be honest. You trust her despite the myriad of proven lies she’s told you. You think she’ll be good on foreign policy despite her taking part in every recent war, and promising to take part on some more.
    You think you can trust her with social causes despite her history of supporting legislation which disproportionally harms black people (Crime Bill) and gay people (DOMA).
    Despite her using code language (super predators) to turn people against a certain race and her party trying to weaponize bigotry against atheists for political gain (is Sanders even a jew?), you still think she’ll have your back.
    She supported the Patriot Act, taking away your privacy rights while subverting transparency laws herself through use of a personal server.

    People like you will not realize the harm that she’s doing until it’s too late, until it affects you personally or not at all. And the more people like you there are, the more free she’ll be to pursue the more unsavory parts of her neoliberalism. If she were left to her own devices the damage she’d cause would be comparable to the damage that Trump would cause.

    Fortunately, today I know that people like you, the uncritically supportive, are a minority. The majority of the american people at least know not to trust her. And the more people know that she’s still evil, though the least worse evil, the more incapable she’ll be to inflict her evil on the world as president.

    I’ll ask, though. Where did you get your love for her? What’s up with that?

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