Trump absolutely cannot be allowed to win and everyone ought to vote for Hillary Clinton, at the very least, to prevent Trump from winning. Excellent. Now what? The issue of Hillary Clinton has been one that I’ve grappled with since it was clear that she had trumped Bernie Sanders in the primary. Like a man terrified of commitment, the best I can do is say I’m only sort of with her.
Identity politics has been the overwhelming, dominant force in American politics since the Vice President sung a song and shot that guy (Burr, not Cheney) through the time a then-Senator sold us his change (some of us expected fives, but we got nickels instead). Are you against Candidate A or for them? Are you terrified of Candidate B? And how can I categorize you based on your choice?
Obviously, gender is an inescapable aspect of this election. You may ask: What’s wrong with having a woman be president? To me, the answer is that we’ve been long overdue for a woman as President, but why this woman? Why a Whirlpool candidate who’s so wishy-washy she can’t decide whether she’s a moderate or a progressive? Why someone who calls the TPP the “gold standard” for trade and now rejects it, even though she helped negotiate it? Why a candidate who can’t seem to obliterate a caricature of a greedy, racist billionaire and (alleged) sexual predator in a landslide because her own scandals keep popping up? And why a candidate who makes me doubt even her most earnest positions because she’s so untrustworthy?
We need a president that will fight boldly and loudly against powerful interests for the poor family who can hardly afford the rent, much less afford to visit their son at college; for the people who are being murdered, not for having a gun, but a certain skin color; for the pensioner who cuts her pills up because she can’t afford her prescriptions; and for an innocent Syrian civilian caught in a cycle of endless wars. We need a President who won’t protect Wall Street and their bonuses; nor corporations that ship away jobs and replace them with pollution; who doesn’t have to be pulled toward the left, kicking and screaming; and who won’t waste America’s time with scandals and impeachment trials over emails by blue blood-lusted Republicans. Hillary Clinton is not that President.
But why do why accept candidates like Clinton? The problem here is neoliberalism: that tranquilizing, we’ll-do-it-tomorrow ideology that espouses compromise between what corporation A and billionaire B thinks is in our best interest. Coupled with the corrupting influence of money in politics (of which Hillary’s a prime beneficiary), Democrats have found that they too can also get a slice of those sweet, sweet campaign contributions at your economic expense. As long as they’re moderately socially liberal, we accept this. We accept that CEOs make more than 300 times what their lowest-paid employees make, that public opinion has virtually no bearing on public policy (the opinion of the top one percent of society however, has an almost direct correlation), and that income inequality is at its highest level of disparity since 1928. That’s the way things just are — no use changing now.
The redistribution of wealth from the poor and the middle class to the top echelon of this country (“trumped up trickle-down economics”) has had a 40-year dry run under both Republicans and Democrats, it’s time to get back to America’s tradition of bold Progressivism (like the Civil/Voting Rights Acts, the New Deal, trust-busting, labor laws, etc.). America’s working poor, its minority communities, and its debt-riddled students cannot wait for the collective pat-on-the-back that the country will give itself on Nov. 9 and the subsequent four years of the same do-nothing Congress full of obstructionist Republicans and milquetoast Democrats that we’ve come to expect.
So, as Hillary raises almost a billion dollars, mostly from special interests, for this election and prepares to pepper her cabinet with Wall Street executives and Republicans like Obama did (though the director of a certain law enforcement agency will probably be a Democrat this time,) I don’t think it’s all bad and hopeless. Maybe Hillary will be an amazing president. I know, at the very least, she will work her ass off and be relentless in accomplishing her agenda. But, it’s our job as progressives to make sure that agenda is one of social, economic and racial justice/equality, and not of privilege, status quo and wealth.
So I’m with Bernie on this one: elect her on Tuesday, fight her on Wednesday.