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Everybody knew that the awful day would come when the Queen of Chaos, the Empress of Ineptitude, would become the Democratic Party’s “presumptive” nominee.
It did last Tuesday. Wall Streeters, Cold Warriors, “humanitarian” interveners, Zionist settler supporters, and other assorted miscreants can now rejoice!
Add to that list those who think that, at last, little girls can grow up thinking that the “glass ceiling” is gone – as if it wasn’t already by 1984, when Walter Mondale selected Geraldine Ferraro to run as his Vice President.
Even the most retrograde right-wingers understand this: how else to explain the Sarah Palin cult? It is only liberal ladies of a certain age that are married to their nonsense.
In truth, Hillary’s problem has never been that she is a woman; it is that she is the woman she is.
But compelling evidence and sound arguments are useless in the face of ideologically fixed ideas; and so, the Gloria Steinem types are happy too. However, for everyone whose moral compass is sound and whose head is screwed on right, this final “super Tuesday” was, and always will be, a day of infamy.
Blame those infernal super-delegates, the potentates of the lesser evil party. The Clintons helped make them what they are; now Hillary is reaping the rewards.
Blame Donald Trump too. Thanks to him, Hillary — though broadly, deeply, and justifiably despised — is bound to become the next President of the United States. Only divine intervention can stop her now.
This spells trouble ahead, just as surely as would the prospect of a President Trump. The difference is that that Trump only has a theoretical chance of becoming President, while a Clinton presidency is all but inevitable.
There is nothing to do about it now either: except worry. Barack Obama’s fondness for “targeted” killings and special ops assassinations seems limitless. But at least he is wary of bombing civilian populations to smithereens, and of sending in the troops. Hillary is not wary at all; she has one of the itchiest trigger fingers around.
With her as Commander-in-Chief, Obama will be sorely missed.
In this neoliberal age, there is a “democracy deficit” everywhere. But a Clinton versus Trump election is over the top!
Nevertheless, we must not lose sight of all the good that has happened this electoral season on the way to this sorry state of affairs.
There is, first of all, the mortal harm done to the greater evil party, thanks to Trump’s hostile takeover. There is also the Sanders insurgency. No one knows what will come of it; great changes for the better could.
And then there is the fall of the House of Bush. Thanks to the Trump phenomenon – and Jeb’s shortcomings – that wretched family will be troubling the world no more.
How much better it would be if the Clintons too had suffered a mortal defeat! They deserve it; and it would advance the struggle against the “ism” that bears their name. But it was not to be.
Still, the expectation a year ago was that the 2016 election would be a contest between a Clinton and a Bush. If it had worked out that way, after November, only one of those two god-awful dynasties would be left standing. The expected scenario isn’t going to be played out the way it seemed it would, but the result is the same. The Bushes are out of our lives for good.
And, although Hillary will be the next President, the Clintons’ future is not as auspicious as it seems. With Hillary in charge, catastrophic mistakes and miscalculations will become the norm, not the exception. Even Clintonized Democrats are bound to take notice.
Remember how intensely George W. Bush was hated; and all he did was break the Middle East and trash the Constitution. Hillary has no interest in restoring traditional rights and liberties; indeed, her view of whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden is worse than Bush’s or Obama’s. And the Middle East isn’t big enough for her: she has set her sights on Russia and China, nuclear powers capable of inflicting incalculable military and economic harm on the United States and other Western countries.
Being as clueless and inept as Bush — and Dick Cheney and the other eminences around him who called the shots while he was President – Hillary too will break whatever she touches; and because her objectives are more global than Bush’s were, she could, and likely will, do even more harm.
One can only wonder what Hillary’s supporters will think then. Give them half a year or a year at most, and today’s so-called liberals will hate her as much or more than self-described conservatives already do.
The 1964 election that pitted Lyndon Johnson against Barry Goldwater, a figure as scary then as Trump now is, is an apt precedent. How ironic that, at the time, Hillary was a Goldwater Girl!
Johnson was a true blue New Dealer; a friend of FDR’s “forgotten man.” He also did more for African Americans than Hillary or Bill could ever dream of; and, unless you count just being there, a whole lot more than Barack Obama.
What he did to Vietnam was criminal; for that, he amply deserved all the animosity heaped upon him. But, Vietnam aside, he was as progressive as any American President in living memory. Sixty years later, even Bernie Sanders’ objectives are not much more advanced than his were.
Vietnam aside, LBJ had many redeeming features; he was a complicated man. Even so, it did not take long for liberals to turn against him — with a vehemence not seen before or since.
Some of it was class and regional snobbery; Johnson’s most articulate detractors were the people Spiro Agnew would later deride as “effete (intellectual) snobs” and “nattering nabobs of negativity.” But it was for escalating the war that the liberal idol John Kennedy started that LBJ became Public Enemy Number One in liberal circles.
Hillary, on the other hand, has no redeeming features; unless her private parts count. And notwithstanding the fact that corporate media is now even more servile to power than is used to be, her wars are likely to set off an even more profound reaction than Johnson’s wars did.
Most Americans’ experience of Vietnam was mediated through newspapers and television. In the years ahead, Americans won’t have that luxury. There will be no need for a Weather Underground to “bring the war back home.” It will be here already, and we will all be feeling the pain – not just the way Bill Clinton says he does, but for real.
Hillary will then be hated – like Bush and Johnson were, but to a greater extent. You can bet the ranch on it.
And so it could turn out that this election season will have brought about the fall of the Clinton dynasty too. The tragedy is that this won’t happen in time to stop Hillary from causing major, possibly irreversible, harm.
The Bushes expired with a whimper; after three generations, that’s all the energy they had left. The Clintons will go down with a bang. We can only hope that, while she is at it, Commander-in-Chief Hillary won’t take the rest of the world down too.
Sanders campaign was as successful as it was because he ran as a Democrat. Had he run as a third party or independent candidate, he would not have gotten the traction he did.
But the fact that he ran as a Democrat also sealed his campaign’s doom. This is why his defeat is not an altogether unwelcome development.
It would be different if the insurgency his campaign launched had been part of a movement that involved more than just electoral politics, and that was running “down ticket” candidates too. Then, Clinton’s victory would be a plain loss.
But since all that the Sanders campaign was about was nominating Bernie for the presidency, his loss may not be such a bad thing, after all – not with Republicans and Democrats dominating, and blighting, the political landscape.
No one knows what the post-Trump Republican Party will be like. One sure thing, though, is that the bastards we know will still be around, doing the thing they do best: obstructing Democrats.
The smile of the Cheshire cat in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland outlived the cat itself. In much the same way, Republican obstinacy will survive the demise of the institutional bases that brought the Republican Party of today – or yesterday — into existence and sustained it until the Trump phenomenon changed everything.
Republican obstinacy did Obama in, and Republicans who are not outright white supremacists hate the Clintons even more than they hate Obama. They will be Hillary’s problem before long.
Sanders has mostly escaped reactionary class enmity – partly because right-wingers appreciate the fact that, unlike Hillary, he is obviously not a phony, but mostly because he was not perceived as a threat, except to Clinton herself.
But were he to become the Democrats’ nominee, and therefore the next President of the United States, the entire ruling class would throw all they’ve got against him; they would perceive his views as inimical to their interests.
It hardly matters that, compared to what was normal three or four decades ago, Sanders’ views are hardly even radical. What matters is how out of line they are with the neoliberal consensus that has been afflicting the American body politic since the late seventies.
Republicans have given Obama a hard time; count on them to give Hillary a harder time still. A President Sanders would have, by far, the hardest time of all. Their paymasters would insist on it.
Republican obduracy would not be the worst of it, however; the worst would come from the Democratic Party itself. The institutional Democratic Party has been out to stop the Sanders insurgency from Day One. This would not change, even were Sanders elected President. Their paymasters too would insist on it
So would the “liberal” media. Their weapon of choice, so far, has been malign neglect, supplemented with occasional doses of derision. Sanders has held up well under that. But how well would he do when malign neglect morphs into overt hostility?
In any case, Sanders’ best chance to earn an honored place in the history of the United States and the world does not lie through the White House; it never has. It lies through the insurgency his candidacy inspired.
If a mass-based, genuinely progressive political movement – Green or otherwise – comes out of it, Sanders will have done more good even than had he sent the Clintons packing.
But won’t this help Donald Trump? We will be hearing a lot about that in the weeks and months ahead. Hillary can hardly run on her merits, after all; and the only ideas she has are the failed ones we know too well. But she can run against the Donald, and she can count on him to supply her with all the ammunition she needs.
Were she a more capable politician and he a less skilled showman, it would be a cakewalk; on the merits, Trump is easy prey. But Hillary is inept enough and Trump shrewd enough to cause inveterately pusillanimous liberals to fret. Hillary’s people are counting on it.
But even with Hillary at the top of the ticket, the Trump menace is a snare and a delusion.
Far too many Americans are capable of venerating Ronald Reagan and electing and reelecting George W. Bush. But there are limits to how low even the most obtuse among us will sink; the Donald exceeds them all.
A racist, an Islamophobe, a nativist, and a mountebank showman with the self-discipline of a two year old, is beyond the pale. In primary elections, he may be good for sending a message to the political class; but when it comes down to it, only sad sacks bereft of the common sense they were born with could actually vote for him. America has plenty of sad sacks, but not nearly enough to make the Trump menace genuinely worrisome.
Moreover, in all but about a dozen states, the electoral votes, the only ones that count in Presidential contests, might as well already be assigned. Unless the Republicans sweep the “purple” states, the Democrat will win. That isn’t going to happen. It is far more likely that, with Trump as the Republican standard-bearer, more than a few “red” will turn blue.
Trump is a distraction; a useful one for Clintonites. Meanwhile, the struggle against Clintonism –neoliberalism, liberal imperialism, and perpetual war — is the paramount struggle of our time. If there ever was or will be a time to think – and vote – outside the box, surely that time is now.
But isn’t now the time for all good women and men to come to the aid of the Democratic Party? Isn’t it imperative to unify around the presumptive nominee – not just to keep Trump at bay, but also because the Democratic Party is America’s last best hope? The talking heads and pseudo-journalists of the liberal media think so; indeed, they won’t shut up about it.
But they are wrong. The Democratic Party is not worth unifying. It is not even worth saving.
Ironically, the Clinton campaign itself provides proof positive of this.
Like Obama, Hillary likes to ramble on about “American exceptionalism.” Is there anyone outside America’s brain-dead and morally compromised foreign policy establishment who doesn’t understand that this is imperialist blather, masquerading as high-minded moralizing?
However, there actually is something exceptional, not about America itself, but about the political party that Americans will soon be sweeping into office – despite Clinton and thanks to Trump.
Rats desert sinking ships; there are no exceptions to the rule – except in the Democratic Party, where rats flock on board.
They have been at it big time of late. There were, for example, those mysterious super delegates that the wire services “discovered” in time to declare Clinton the presumptive nominee the day before the Tuesday vote in California and five other states. Then, for good measure, California governor Jerry Brown endorsed Hillary, followed by that notorious faux-liberal Nancy Pelosi.
Obama too made no secret of his support for Hillary. At least he has an excuse, now that his “legacy” is weighing on his mind. Not only is Hillary his ideological soul mate; she is also his best, and only, chance actually to look good, by comparison, in the years ahead.
As for the others: well, they are Democrats; what more is there to say – except that a rat is a rat is a rat?
The time to abandon that sinking ship was when it became clear that the Clintons would have their way with the party of the New Deal and the Great Society, and that the changes they helped bring about would be all but impossible to reverse. That would have been some time before Bill’s second term. Since then, the Democrats have only gotten worse.
Sanders couldn’t turn back the tide; nobody can. This is why the exit option makes sense; now even more than it did twenty years ago.
Liberal pundits with no understanding of history are already reminding Sanders supporters of the mistakes of the German Left in the days of the Weimar Republic. The idea, then, was nach Hitler, uns – after Hitler, us. We know how that played out.
But 2016 is not 1934, and Trump is not Hitler. Democrats don’t need party unity to defeat the Donald; even with the party divided, Hillary will trounce him. This is as sure as that the sun will rise tomorrow. The idea that Sanders supporters, tempted by a nach Trump, uns strategy might do the world grave harm is therefore a red herring.
However, despite it historical resonance, nach Hillary uns, makes perfect sense. Clinton, not Trump, is the clear and present danger.
The Sanders campaign, whatever becomes of it, was only a beginning. The task now is to continue the struggle, not to pile on for the enemy, or otherwise dissolve the movement into her lethal fold.
ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What’s Wrong With the Opium of the People. He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).