May 31, 2016

May 31, 2016: The Death of Hope, Fear and Loathing, The Genuine Article

“The political process is about the business of assassinating hope and aspiration and replacing them with fear and loathing” ----from “The Quotations of Chairman Joe”

For over a year now I have in these columns and on Facebook been arguing that if the Democratic Party were to nominate Hillary Clinton it thereby forfeits any claim to either progressive reform or representation of the working Middle Class.  It becomes, on the contrary, the modern equivalent of the Wall Street political hacks that heretofore had been the backbone of the old main-line Republican Party; the much-despised ‘Eastern Establishment’ controlling the party of Warren Harding, William Howard Taft, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover.  Presented now with the likelihood of a Clinton-Trump contest in the national election the Middle Class looks now in vain for a dog in the hunt.

This matchup assassinates hope and aspiration substituting fear and loathing. Presented with two steaming piles of crap ensures a low turnout favoring Trump. All Trump has to do is venture into the old industrial heartland, long disparaged as the 'rustbelt' and promise to tear up the trade agreements. Note he got more primary votes in Indiana than Clinton and Sanders combined and with nearly 100 million in combined attack ads directed at him he still crushed his opposition. Assuming his demise is dangerous. Hillary may tout experience but what have the politically experienced done for the other 80 percent?

Additionally, let's look at the singularly tone deaf and inept campaign Hillary has run to date. Her campaign, for instance, has been whining about losing in unrepresentative caucuses as if the Sanders people are guilty of some foul play.

Charles M. Blow, writing last month in the op-ed page of the New York Times, wrote:

 “There are two prominent features of the Democratic Party’s presidential selection process that are thoroughly undemocratic and undermine faith in the party: super-delegates (which favor Hillary Clinton) and caucuses (which favor Bernie Sanders)". (1)

 Citing the fact that Sanders had by then won 10 of the first 14 contests which were decided via caucus, Blow is here trumpeting a complaint heard throughout the Clinton camp that somehow these ‘unrepresentative’ conclaves are needlessly prolonging the coronation and restoration.  They’ve got it dead wrong.

While the first proposition in his blanket statement is true enough, the ‘insurmountable’ delegate lead that Clinton through media coverage of the ‘horse race’ has adroitly used to dampen the enthusiasm driving the insurgency, is almost entirely composed of so-called “Superdelegates”—unelected party hacks and lobbyists chosen by the party apparatchiks precisely to ensure that a candidate favorable to the ‘establishment’ will almost always prevail favors Clinton; but the second proposition simply doesn’t stand. 

Caucuses are sponsored and organized by the Party.  The times held, the cites chosen, are determined by the party, usually at the county level.  Word is then spread through the party organization and usually the party faithful, the political ‘activists’ can be relied upon to show up in these low-turnout affairs to ensure the party favorite wins.  This, on the face of it, should favor Clinton.  The fact that she had lost 10 of the first 14 such state-wide contests is not only a testament to the superior political organization of the Sanders campaign but to the miserable organization and lack of enthusiasm awaiting the nomination of the once and future Queen.

The sad fact is that Clinton, as in 2008, has run a miserable campaign, convincing no one but the already convinced of either the legitimacy or the need of her candidacy. And, as it was 8 long years ago, nearly half of her own party—as most clearly demonstrated by the severe drubbing she has received in Caucus—balks at the prospect of her bearing the Party’s standard in the general election.    

Yet she is the near unanimous choice of the party hacks and mossbacks that run the party. Caucuses are not organized by the state but by the political parties. The party decides where they will be held under their auspices and put out calls to all the party activists to attend. Under these circumstances the caucuses should have been a Clinton cake-walk. Instead they revealed not only the weaknesses of the party to deliver but the telling fact that for the second time in 8 years half or more of her own party find the prospect of her nomination repugnant and are recoiling accordingly. She is a weak candidate whose agenda, as in 2008, is shaped by her opponent, running a 'me-too but not so fast' version of whomever stands in opposition. Already as I write she is about the business of wooing Bush supporters (note the arrow on the logo points in the wrong direction). By mid-summer she will, as Bill before her, be rifling the Republican agenda and presenting us with Bush-Lite. Given the choice the country may well opt for the genuine article.


(1).  Blow, Charles M. “The (Un)Democratic Party” New York Times April 4, 2016 pA19