Don’t Blame the Berners
Many DNC and Clinton defenders seem to completely misunderstand the problems that many voters had with Hillary. It was not her voice, her tone, her demeanour, or the fact that she was a woman. It was the fact that she was a corrupt career politician who was a warmonger and a Wall Street lackey who didn’t give a goddam about poor people or people of colour, no matter what she might have been saying to get elected. In short, most of us still believed what Barack Obama observed correctly about Hillary in 2008: “she will say anything and do nothing.”
The email leaks showed the entire Primary to have been tainted by the nefarious machinations of a corrupt cabal of Clintonites and the DNC, but in addition it opened up a window into the breathtakingly brazen level of “pay to play” corruption of the Clinton Foundation and how Bill and Hillary were using the Foundation to peddle influence. These are serious flaws bordering on the criminal. Certainly, they rose to the level of disqualification on grounds of “moral hazard” of the most despicable sort a government servant can commit.
Yet many in the DNC misleadingly lump these serious failings in with the spurious ad hominem attacks of the Right. This is intellectually dishonest. There is a big difference between criticising Hillary for the way she dresses and condemning her for taking millions of dollars from Wall Street in return for making “secret” promises in closed door speeches. Similarly, there is a big difference between disliking Hillary because of her shrill voice, and condemning Hillary for taking millions in donations from the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Qataris and others in return for rubber stamping their US arms purchases.
Secondly, the charge that Hillary’s loss was in any way due to the votes cast for Stein and Johnson has been debunked. Johnson took more GOP votes than Democratic ones. And Stein did not get enough votes to have made a difference. Moreover, exit polling showed that 60% of Stein’s voters would have simply stayed home and not voted, rather than vote for one of the other candidates. And of the remaining 40%, one-third would have voted for Trump, not Clinton.
Thirdly, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, millennials and progressives did not vote for Hillary because once she had the nomination, Hillary went out of her way to give them the finger. She could have chosen a progressive like Bernie or Elizabeth Warren or Sherrod Brown or any one of a dozen suitable left-leaning Democrats (Keith Ellison would even have been good). Instead she chose Tim Kaine, a pro-TPP, pro-fracking, pro-life conservative who was to her RIGHT on all the issues. This was because the Clinton campaign made a deliberate STRATEGIC DECISION to reject and repel millennials and progressives in favour of courting the votes of “moderate Republicans.” The Clinton campaign publicised this strategy and were quite open about going after Republicans who were fiscally and economically conservative but were turned off by Trump’s racism, bigotry and sexism. This was their PLAN. Hell, Chuck Schumer even said so:
“For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”
The Clinton campaign was constantly issuing press releases and even TV advertisements about the many high-level Republicans who planned to vote for Hillary. She was brazenly fraternising with and fawning over all manner of GOP stalwarts, from Wall Street criminals like Hank Paulson to war criminals like John Negroponte. She repeatedly expressed gushing praise for Henry Kissinger. And she managed to get half of the Bush cabinet that took us into Iraq to come out and publicly support her.
That was their plan. And they stuck to it. They didn’t WANT the votes of progressives and millennials. They were convinced that they could win enough REPUBLICAN VOTES to clinch the election.
TO SUM IT UP: The “Bernie Wing” of the Party didn’t vote for Hillary because they were not supposed to vote for her — even according to the Clinton campaign’s own playbook. No one should be surprised that she lost. She misjudged the relative size of the two groups: it turned out that the Berners, the millennials and progressives she deliberately repelled outnumbered the suburban Republicans she sought to attract. It’s simple math. And it proved simply disastrous.