There seems to be a strange religious fervor sweeping the halls of the Democratic establishment that should Hillary take the nomination, Bernie’s supporters, of which I am obscenely proud to consider myself one, will tuck our tails and vote Hillary. Yeah, this is not a typical election cycle and even if it was, my answer still would be “No”.
Check out any liberal news site, radio show, or multi-million dollar presidential fundraiser and you’ll hear the clamor. And to be fair, I get the jist of their argument. The beast is at the door, and any vote that’s not for Hillary is one vote closer to getting the country mauled. Do you really want to see a president Trump!? Or president Cruz!? Of course the answer to that is no. If you’re breathing and sane, either of those realities are utterly frightening. What these people miss, or choose to ignore, is while they make a good point, it’s not THE point.
The flaw is rather obvious. We have a two party system. If one party takes a cynical calculation that votes can be garnered – NOT FOR their candidate, but against the other candidate. Then purely out of political expedience, that party has chosen to untether itself from it’s voters. What’s to prevent this trick from being used in perpetuity? Obama did it in 2012 against Romney . Hillary tried to do it in the primary against Obama, race baiting to scare up votes. The Democratic party and it’s news hacks are gearing up to do it again in 2016 should Hillary take the nomination. Supporting a democratic candidate and party whose priorities have eroded to the degree that they’re antithetical to your own, purely out of fear, is just as bad as people voting for Republican candidates against their own economic self interest due to bigotry, religion, or sexuality. The interest of the country is not served by parties detached from the demographics they give lip service to representing.
They act as if voting is perfunctory. It will shock some of the party elites to know – it’s not! It seems to baffle them, but I vote according to how that party aligns with my values. Which brings up a systemic problem for the Democratic establishment and highlights one of the reasons this political cycle is different. Bernie’s supporters aren’t Democrats. At least not the Democratic Party of 2016. It’s not a rule, but a pattern has emerged in this democratic primary. In states where independents are allowed to vote, especially in caucuses , Bernie smashes. The latest states, Idaho and Utah; he crushed by over 60 points. In Hawaii, Washington, and Alaska, the crushed her by over 30 points. Sanders literally set records in Michigan. In states where only democrats can vote, Hillary has hurt him. Badly. This explains the quixotic polls consistently showing him faring better in the general than Hillary against the Republican candidates. In some polls dramatically so, seeing as there are terrifying national polls showing Hillary losing to Ted Cruz.
It means the people Bernie is driving to the polls are NOT democrats. We’re independents, and as such hold no loyalty to the party. To make matters worse for Democrats, the difference is millennials. The demographic famed for not voting. Bernie won Iowa’s young voters by 70 points! He won New Hampshire’s under 30 demographic by a brutalizing 80 percent! These amazing disparities remain. In contrast to mainstream thought that this is a right leaning country. Independents, in this case, are to the left of this country’s left leaning party. Essentially they’re unrepresented. Is there any wonder why they vote inconsistently?
Look at this from another angle. I agree with Trump that social security and medicare should be preserved. The super villain buffoonery of building a gigantic wall between us and Mexico is not just stupid, it’s also a deal breaker. Deporting, torturing, and randomly killing Muslims and their families are deal breakers. Aside from disagreeing with them from a policy and political standpoint, I disagree from a moral standpoint.
Why should I or anyone else take a different tact purely because the candidate is a Democrat? Having a ‘D’ beside your name doesn’t mean anything if you’re not standing for the things it represents. I have no doubt she’s very competent. Her voters however need to come to grips with some real and difficult realities with her as the standard bearer. Particularly with her calling herself a ‘progressive’.
1. Truthfulness. We pilloried Mitt Romney in 2012 for the speed and voracity of his flip flops, half truths, and outright lies. The democratic establishment and media seems to be turning a blind eye on this one. In the 2008 primary, Obama said Hillary will promise everything but change nothing. In the current primary, Hillary morphed into Bernie Sanders. So dramatic were the changes in her positions, SNL ran a skit with her face literally changing into Sanders. For example. While Hillary was ‘inevitable’, she said she was a moderate. In a scheduled ‘town hall’, hosted by a company who’s parent has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hillary campaigns. The Secretary of State had a chat with Chris Matthews, a man who pretends to be a journalist on TV. In what mostly amounted to girl talk between Mathews and Clinton, Chris asked Hillary whether she was a liberal. Seeming to be terrified of the word, she delivered a clever line calling herself a ‘progressive.’ This is precisely my point. Which is it?
Hillary continuously lied about Bernie’s auto bailout vote. She lied about his role in the health care fight during her husband’s administration. On this one, she comically asked, “Where was Bernie during my health care fight?” This was was particularly ridiculous as a photo was released with Bernie literally standing behind her in a speech she gave in the nineties on health care reform. Her inauthenticity presents a problem. Why should anyone pull the lever for Hillary or any candidate when all evidence points to that candidate likely just saying whatever they need to get elected? That’s a deal breaker.
2. Hillary’s foreign policy record is probably the most troubling to me from a moral standpoint. Choice after choice Hillary has decided on hawkish policy that consistently resulted in abject failure. The famed and miserable Iraq vote resulting in at least 200,000 innocent Iraqis being killed, her support to overturn Libya leaving it in flames, her support for a no-fly zone over Syria which would dramatically increase our presence in the Syrian Civil War, saying she was proud of being enemies of Iranians even after the signing of the nuclear arms deal, assisting in the overturning of the Honduran government in 2009 – she’s a hawk. In the words of Col Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, “I’ve been around Hillary. She seems to be from time to time more hawkish than anyone I’ve ever met in my life.” A remarkable statement considering Col Wilkerson served with Powell under the Bush administration. He continued, “…and that troubles me. It really troubles me.” I agree. She herself stated she was more bellicose than Obama. That’s a deal breaker.
3. Her support for the ghastly, I’d argue treasonous, Trans Pacific Partnership. The trade agreement literally gives up United States sovereignty to multinational corporations and banks. If we pass a law that interferes with a corporation’s profit, the country can be hauled in front of an international tribunal and sued to have that law overturned. We only know about this through leaks of the document, because a provision of the treaty states it couldn’t be revealed until 4 years after it was signed. I’ve already illuminated Clinton’s losing battles with truthfulness. There is no reason to genuinely believe her current come to Jesus moment won’t be just that. A moment. A political expedience to get her through the primaries and ultimately the White House. That’s a deal breaker.
4. Money in politics. This is arguably the the most important issue of this generation. Parties devoid of a core, representation of the people, are dangerous instruments. Under President Bill Clinton, the democratic party abandoned its core purpose of representing the best interest of the poor and middle class and embraced business interest. Clinton was the first democrat to out raise a Republican since Franklin D. Roosevelt. Obama broke records. Hillary Clinton is trying to raise a monstrous 2 billion dollars in donations. This party pawned off it’s soul for 30 pieces of silver. A zombie; aware enough politically to shake and parrot tonally and rhetorically the essence of their former life, but too spineless and corrupt to still be that institution.
It’s not that they’re bad people, the problem is systemic. Money is the corruption of politics. The representation of the public will continue to be equivalent to statistical noise so long as donor’s interest supersede that of the public. Over the last 40 years Hillary and Bill have raised 3 billion dollars. 2 billion going to the Clinton Foundation. 1 billion going into Clinton’s races over the years. Will she take the money and bite that hand? According to Princeton, public input amount to statistical noise with regards to policy and legislation. These legalized bribes are in large part the reason. It sounds hyperbolic, but it’s statistically true. We’ve lost our republic. There is no reason to believe this issue will be acknowledged, let alone addressed in any real way should she gain the presidency. Frankly, if you’re not talking about that, you’re not talking about anything. Deal breaker.
I came across a quote by King recently deriding what he called “the tranquilizing drug of gradualism”. Look at the hair on fire studies about the rise in temperature and subsequent sea level rise, the ‘only a matter of time’ reports about the next big economic crash, the indicators detailing the stark destruction of the environment for economic ends, the stats detailing the raping of the middle class for corporate interest- voting “status quo” has brought us to a crisis point. I done with status quo. I suspect the multitudes of independents Bernie is bringing to the ballot box feel the same. You win our vote based not on what you’re saying, but based on what you do. Full stop. I don’t need progressive purity, but there are things I won’t be complicit in. Democratic establishment and ancillary institutions can hate it all they want, everything detailed here is true. The Democratic party, like any political party, should get votes based on the people it represents. Idealistic, maybe even naive. But also common sense. Seeing as the entire point of the democratic party is to represent the interest of the bottom 90%; if that’s not enough to win – you’re doing something wrong.