Monday, November 07, 2016

Miscellaneous opinions from the left the day before the Clinton-Trump election

Thomas Seibert and Yanis Varoufakis have a piece about the US Presidential election tomorrow on the website of DiEM25, a left activist group pushing for preserving the European Union by democratizing it and abandoning the destructive neoliberal economic and social policies that current dominate it. In A Call to American Friends and Comrades 11/07/2016, they write:
For us, Clinton and Trump are the two sides of the same effaced coin, redolent of the fading illusions of global capitalism’s neoliberal turn. The virulent clash between them, just like the clash between David Cameron and Boris Johnson in the Brexit campaign, is masking the fact that the establishment’s pro-globalisation camp (Clinton and Cameron) and the populist anti-establishment camp (Trump and Johnson) are, in truth, accomplices – that they feed off each other and, together, keep off the agenda all the things that matter in the lives of the vast majority.
But they call for voters in swing states to support Hillary:

We are issuing this appeal for two reasons: First, because Trump is intentionally reviving the language of hatred and bigotry in order to harness the rightful anger of the citizens who feel discarded, and so as to press them into the service of organised misanthropy. Yes, Clinton is geopolitically dangerous, slavish to Wall Street, deeply contemptuous of democratic process (as evidenced from the manner in which she conspired with her ‘mates’ in the Democratic Party to deprive Bernie Sanders of basic opportunities that ought to be afforded to all candidates in the primaries). But, Trump’s deployment of (to quote Hegel) the “fury of destruction” presents a spectre of doom for democratic politics. We say that it is better to face an enemy hiding behind a rhetoric of betrayal then to face an enemy showing his real face in his rhetoric of resentment.

The second reason is a strategic one. No government, not even the best possible one, will ever deliver democracy to the demos. Governments can help, but with the best intentions they hinder democracy, because democracy means rule by the demos – not by some elected elite. For this reason DiEM25 will never back a government unconditionally. With this thought in mind, we would vote for Clinton in a swing state only because a Clinton presidency will create more room for the continuation and further cultivation of the ‘political revolution’ started by the Sanders Campaign. [my emphasis]
Bob Reich in an interview with Don Hazen for AlterNet (Robert Reich: Don't Panic. Stay Active. Clinton Should Win. But the Aftermath Will Be Very Difficult. 11/06/2016):

The odds are still very heavily in favor of Hillary Clinton becoming president. My real concern at this point is Donald Trump's supporters continue to fulminate. Some of them will feel that the election is illegitimate. Trump will continue to fan those flames and that will make it even harder for not just Hillary Clinton to govern, but the entire process of government to move forward.

The most irresponsible possible action that anybody in public life can take is to undermine public confidence in our system of government. If I were not being prudent with my words, I'd say anybody who has the public's ear, who is undermining our democratic system, is acting in a traitorous fashion. I will mind my words, so I will not use the word traitorous.
Reich expands on this point in connection with voter turnout expectations among younger voters:

... the big enemy [for turnout] is cynicism, and cynicism is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If people become too cynical about the system, then basically the monied interests are going to take it all. That's a concern, but young people are not cynical. The reason young people generally don't vote is they have a lot on their minds, and if they aren't inspired they don't vote. [my emphasis]

And he takes this lesson from the primaries:

What we'll see after Tuesday for I think really the next year is an attempt by the establishment Democratic Party, and the establishment Republican Party to pretend that both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump were aberrations. That they were kind of just perfect storms. To deny that there has been a fundamental shift in our political culture toward whatever word you want to use, anti-establishment, or populism, or fed-up politics, this is big and it's new.

The Democratic Party is already writing off Bernie Sanders, but Bernie Sanders, when you think about it, was an extraordinary phenomenon: A 74-year-old Jew from Vermont, not even a Democrat most of his life, a self-professed democratic socialist, gets 22 states in the Democratic primaries; something like 47% of the vote. Almost all the young people who voted, voted for him. This certainly signifies something, and it's something important. Donald Trump is an extreme version of something that had been growing in the Republican Party for many years. You look at his intolerance and bigotry and racism. You look at his insistence on huge tax cuts for the wealthy, and assumedly trickle-down results. Donald Trump's nastiness. These all have been hallmarks of Republican politics for many years. He does represent something that is new in the sense of a fierce rejection of the establishment Republican Party.
This episode of The Empire Files from Abby Martin on TeleSur takes an unsympathetic (and a bit melodramatic) look at Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta in Abby Martin Exposes John Podesta 11/05/2016:

Frederick Clarkson warns that the Christian Right is still with us. Or, more precisely, with the Republican Party (Pence and the “Christian Right”: Election a “Win-Win” PSA 11/06/2016):

“Some pundits claim that the Christian Right is dead, dying or deeply diminished. But that claim is no more true now than it was the many times we have heard it over the past three decades.”

“The Christian Right has changed its methods in ways that are often less visible than the pioneering activities of the larger-than-life figures Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. But their legacy lives on. For example, many contemporary Christian Right leaders were able to justify support for Donald Trump because he was able to articulate their message about religious liberty, despite his dubious record on the issues of abortion and traditional marriage.

“Some of the best evidence of the success of the Christian Right is that no matter who wins the presidency, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is still a sitting member of the U.S. Senate from a major state and one of the best known pols in the country. And Mike Pence is either the Vice President; or if his ticket loses, is a party leader and joins Cruz as a contender for the GOP nomination for president in 2020.”
Either way, the postelection period will be the start of a new period in which we need a strong peace movement and our own American push against neoliberalism, bigotry and xenophobia.

Trump is a radical nationalist in foreign policy (and crazy) and Clinton is a "humantiarian hawk." So, we're going to be seeing way too many things like this: Adam Raymond, President Obama Is Ready for a Postelection Cyberwar With Russia New York 11/06/2016.

There's also a rogue FBI that a new President Clinton would seriously need to reign in. But she's already getting advice like this from James Fallows (The Future of Mr. Comey Atlantic Online 11/07/2016), "Hillary Clinton, if she wins, should not fire Director Comey. If she cares about the norms of governing, as she should and presumably does, she would realize that this would inescapably look like revenge and a purge." President Obama appointed hardline partisan Republican James Comey as FBI Director. But, goodness gracious, a Democratic President can't go and fire him for something so piddly as grossly inappropriate interference in the Presidential election. Golly, the Republicans might criticize them if they do that!

Juan Cole gives us a helpful reminder of the political role that FBI has played in the past in Top 5 Times the FBI intervened to Help the US Right Wing Informed Comment 11/07/2016.

And, of course, our War for the Greater Middle East goes on. And on, and on.

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