Silly season continues and it seems we are going through the news cycle of whiny privileged crybabies who claim to be on the left, but also somehow think that Donald Trump will be a better president than Hillary Clinton. I voted for Bernie Sanders, mostly because I wanted to send a signal to Hillary Clinton that many of her policies are unacceptable to me – her vote on the Iraq War and wishy washy-ness on the TPP and Keystone XL pipeline. It would have been pretty amazing if Sanders had won the nomination, but as history shows us, it’s extremely difficult to win a primary against the candidate backed by the party and this year was no exception to that rule.
There are many things I do like about Hillary Clinton, her intelligence, the respect she has garnered around the world and her tenacity. I voted for her in 2008 because I thought she would be tougher against the Republicans than Obama would. She has many flaws, which we detailed in our podcast episode about the primary, but I still think she would be a solid president.
A Politico article by Yves Smith caught my eye today. It’s titled: “Why Some of the Smartest Progressives I Know Will Vote for Trump over Hillary.” And it posits that progressives should vote for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. The article is poorly sourced and doesn’t seem to have been fact checked. It amounts to a temper tantrum over Bernie Sanders not winning the primary. This isn’t just taking your ball and going home, it’s taking your ball and destroying the country in a mushroom cloud of entitled spiteful vengeance.
Smith quotes one of her commenters on her blog Naked Capitalism,
I don’t want to vote for Trump. I want to vote for Bernie. But I have reached the point where I feel like voting for Trump against Clinton would be doing my patriotic duty. … If the only way to escape a trap is to gnaw off my leg, I’d like to think I’d have the guts to do it.
This is an odd framing of the election. For Latinos, Muslims, and many other Americans, Donald Trump is that bear trap and the vote for Hillary Clinton is the gnawing off of one’s leg. I would say voting for Trump is like staying in the trap and dying of gangrene or lighting yourself on fire.
The Sanders supporters I interact with also reject Hillary’s trickle-down feminism as a substitute for economic and social justice. Clinton is correct when she points out that there is a glass-ceiling issue for women. There are fewer female CEOs, billionaires and senators. Women in the elite don’t have it as good as men. But pray tell, what is having more women, or Hispanics or blacks, in top roles going to do for nurses and hospital orderlies, or the minority group members disproportionately represented in low-wage jobs like part-time fast food workers? Class mobility has become close to nonexistent in America. If you are born in one of the lower-income cohorts, you are almost certain to stay there.
I would agree in part that much of what passes for feminism these days has no room for women of color or poor women. But I do not see that when I look at Hillary Clinton’s platform. How are paid maternity leave and universal pre-K “trickle down feminism?” These programs would be a great benefit to all mothers. (And children. And fathers.)
Then there are questions of competence. Hillary has a résumé of glittering titles with disasters or at best thin accomplishments under each. Her vaunted co-presidency with Bill? After her first major project, health care reform, turned into such a debacle that it was impossible to broach the topic for a generation, she retreated into a more traditional first lady role.
Has it ever occurred to Smith that part of the reason Clinton failed was systemic sexism? People were shocked and outraged that she was taking on any official role in her husband’s administration. They called it unprecedented nepotism. But in reality, going back to our second President, John Adams, most Presidents of the United States have relied on the wives for advice and counsel. Formalizing the role was too much for us to handle in 1993, but that doesn’t mean that First Ladies were not doing lots of work for their husbands. Letting this work remain invisible is a sad consequence of patriarchy.
As New York senator, she accomplished less with a bigger name and from a more powerful state than Sanders did.
The article cited fails to recognize Hillary Clinton’s accomplishments getting aid for 9/11 first responders detailed here. People fighting for the expansion of the Zadroga Act list her as an important ally in the fight to help responders and survivors of 9/11.
As secretary of state, she participated and encouraged strategically pointless nation-breaking in Iraq and Syria.
Equating our involvement in Syria with our invasion of Iraq is entirely disingenuous. I am and will always be morally outraged at the Iraq War. But Syria was already broken when we got there. Equivocating the two is disingenuous and minimizes the harm we did in Iraq.
She bureaucratically outmaneuvered Obama, leading to U.S. intervention in Libya, which he has called the worst decision of his administration.
This is false. President Obama did not say our intervention in Libya was the worst mistake of his presidency. He said his worst decision was failing to plan for the aftermath of the intervention.
And her plan to fob her domestic economic duties off on Bill comes off as an admission that she can’t handle being president on her own.
HILLARY CLINTON’S PLAN TO HAVE ADVISORS MEANS SHE CAN’T HANDLE BEING PRESIDENT? Perhaps Smith should change the name of her website to “Naked Sexism.”
Finally, there is the stench of corruption, dating back to Hillary’s impossible—by any legitimate means—trick of parlaying $1,000 into $100,000 in a series of commodities trades in 1978.
This makes it sound like she was directly involved in these trades. She was not. At worst, she employed a corrupt investor. But no investigation has ever taken place, surprising given the fact that she was investigated for Whitewater, a deal she lost money on. This Wikipedia article details what we know about this scandal and there is no conclusive evidence that Hillary Clinton herself did anything wrong. This attack is especially distasteful given that there is no comparison with Donald Trump’s involvement with the mafia in Atlantic City or his failure to pay people for their work worth a lot more than $100K.
They are willing to gamble, given that outsider presidents like Jimmy Carter and celebrity governors like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura didn’t get much done, that a Trump presidency represents an acceptable cost of inflicting punishment on the Democratic Party for 20 years of selling out ordinary Americans.
If Donald Trump gets elected President, he will appoint Supreme Court Justices who will impact the United States for a lot longer than 20 years. In a recent debate, Sam Seder was taking on a “Bernie or Bust” advocate and had the following exchange which I feel sums up the matter:
Jimmy: You know you got that Supreme Court, that is such a little poker in my eye!
Sam: Well, believe me, it’s not just a poker in your eye, it’s a poker in the eye of all those people who can’t vote this year by getting rid of preclearance, it’s a poker in the eye of all the families of the dreamers who keep getting deported, it’s a poker in the eye of people who want to have redress in the courts from things like forced arbitration, it’s a poker in the eyes of women in states who are denied access to abortion care. This thing is bigger than a poker. It’s like a cannon to the face.
There is no progressive case to be made for a racist charlatan like Donald Trump. Anyone who tries to convince you of such is selling spite and desperately trying to hide a bruised ego.