Friday, November 11, 2016

Obligatory Post Election Blog Post: Part 5--All the Reasons Donald Trump Actually Won

Part 2: I think I've Become Very Out of Touch
Part 3 I Was Wrong. I Was so so so SO Wrong
and Part 4 All the Reasons It Seemed Donald Trump Could Never Win

After Tom Hayden died, I re-watched an interesting documentary on the 1968 Chicago convention.  This documentary is worth re-watching now, because I think it perfectly explains what happened this election year as well.  See video here.

Now, I know we didn't have riots outside the convention center in 2016, but a lot of this should feel familiar.  The liberal wing of the Democratic Party wants an anti-establishment candidate, and gets silenced.  Then they try to get a discussion going about the Vietnam War on the Convention floor, and the discussion gets silenced.
"You're not getting your candidate or acknowledgement of any of your issues," the Democratic Party tells the Liberals.  "Go fuck off.  And then come back and vote for us in November."

And then the unthinkable happens. Nixon, who everyone thought was unelectable, ended up winning.

I thought about that documentary while reading this editorial on CNN by a liberal Democrat who was silenced in 2016.

On the night Tim Kaine spoke to the convention, many Sanders delegates like me wanted to express respectful opposition to President Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement by holding signs. But, our signs were confiscated, and, when we made some homemade versions on the back of the officially-sanctioned Kaine signs, we were told to cease and desist or our credentials would be revoked. So much for democracy.More important, that gagging of pretty mild protest was symbolic. The party is not an open place, beyond rhetoric, to a whole swath of activists and voters who want deep, systemic change.

Not only did we progressives not get our candidate, but the Democratic Party just refused to talk about any of our issues.
Bernie Sanders didn't get enough delegates to become the nominee.  Fair enough.  But he had gotten so much support that Hillary should have at least realized people wanted reform and taken on some of his issues.
Bernie Sanders actually stood for stuff.  And he promised a lot of stuff.  So did Trump.  Hillary didn't appear to promise anything at all.
In fact, for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what Hillary stood for in this campaign.  As I wrote on October 17, 2016 .

What does Hillary actually stand for? I mean, take away all the "At least she's not as bad as..." out of the equation, and someone remind me why anyone should vote for her.   What has she promised us?  What issues is she campaigning on?

And so we were stuck with Hillary--someone who was an insider at a time when the country definitely wanted an outsider, someone who was a Hawk at a time when the liberals were worried about the expansion of drone strikes, and someone who was so clearly in the pockets of Wall Street that she refused to release her transcript of the speeches.

The selection of the Vice-President was a moment where Hillary Clinton could have reached out to the liberal wing.  And there was a lot of hope at the time that Elizabeth Warren would be selected.  But then when the choice came, we progressives got absolutely nothing out of the Vice-President.
It was reported in several news agencies that Wall Street had actually forbidden the selection of Elizabeth Warren--Hillary was told she would lose her funding if she selected Elizabeth Warren, and so Hillary folded to Wall Street.

And then came the Wikileaks, and we found out that Democratic Party Leadership had indeed conspired with Hillary to deny Bernie the nomination.  During the primaries, Donna Brazile secretly fed Hillary questions in advance.  The chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz had hated Bernie all along, and had scheduled the primaries to intentionally benefit Hillary.    Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign after she was booed off stage at her own convention.  (And apparently after a call from Barack Obama (W) ).  But instead of condemning this behavior, Hillary gave Debbie Wasserman Schultz a new position on her campaign.  It was blatant, blatant cronyism.  It was clearly sending the message "As long as your corrupt for me, I'll take care of you."  And it was done by a woman who was already viewed with suspicion by the majority of the country as being a crooked politician.
And it was all done under the assumption that the Democratic Party didn't need to worry about it's liberal wing.
The message was clear.  "Go fuck off.  And then come back and vote for us in November."

I remember how angry I was at the time.  On July 25, 2016 I wrote a blog post called: It's a pity they can't both lose

Henry Kissinger once said of the Iran-Iraq War: "It's a pity they can't both lose."
Lately, I've been feeling this way about the election.
As I wrote before, I had been pessimistic about a Bernie Sanders victory all along, and that made it easy for me to bypass the outrage stage and go right to a cynical acceptance of Hillary's victory.
But I thought the DNC would at least try to make some show of appeasing the party's left wing with the Vice Presidential pick. (I really had my heart set on Elizabeth Warren).
That, plus the news about the leaked DNC e-mails, is making it really hard to work up the energy to support Hillary.

For a brief moment earlier this week, I caught myself hoping Hillary might actually lose, just because she deserves to lose.  But then I remembered how awful Donald Trump is, and I came back to sanity.'s really a pity that they can't both lose.
Prompted by Whisky, I continued my rant in the comments:

I tell you what, this past week has really burned me up. And I was all set to hold my nose and support Hillary. I'd even resigned myself to that since last November.
But the way Hillary just refuses to give the Left Wing anything is astounding. And then the DNC gets angry at the Bernie supporters, and calls them childish. They don't act like they have to earn the support of the Left, they are acting like they are entitled to the support of the Left. And if the Left doesn't just automatically give them their support, then they pour vitriol on the left and call them childish and unreasonable.
You NEVER see this kind of thing over on the Republican side. They act like they actually have to EARN the support of their base over on the Republicans.

And this feeling of anger toward Hillary Clinton from the progressive wing was widespread.  Michael Moore, another Cassandra, actually predicted at the time  that this would cost her the election.

 Stop fretting about Bernie’s supporters not voting for Clinton – we’re voting for Clinton! The polls already show that more Sanders voters will vote for Hillary this year than the number of Hillary primary voters in ’08 who then voted for Obama. This is not the problem. The fire alarm that should be going off is that while the average Bernie backer will drag him/herself to the polls that day to somewhat reluctantly vote for Hillary, it will be what’s called a “depressed vote” – meaning the voter doesn’t bring five people to vote with her. He doesn’t volunteer 10 hours in the month leading up to the election. She never talks in an excited voice when asked why she’s voting for Hillary. A depressed voter. Because, when you’re young, you have zero tolerance for phonies and BS. Returning to the Clinton/Bush era for them is like suddenly having to pay for music, or using MySpace or carrying around one of those big-ass portable phones. They’re not going to vote for Trump; some will vote third party, but many will just stay home. Hillary Clinton is going to have to do something to give them a reason to support her  — and picking a moderate, bland-o, middle of the road old white guy as her running mate is not the kind of edgy move that tells millenials that their vote is important to Hillary. Having two women on the ticket – that was an exciting idea. But then Hillary got scared and has decided to play it safe. This is just one example of how she is killing the youth vote.
It's not that Bernie Sanders voters didn't fall in line and support Hillary.  They did.  But they weren't passionate about her, they didn't volunteer for her, and they didn't convince their friends to vote for Hillary.

 And that ended up costing her the election.
And Hillary and the Democratic Party just made absolutely no effort to get them back.  "Go Fuck off, and then come back and vote for us in November."


In addition to taking the liberal wing of her party for granted, Hillary Clinton made no effort to get the working class vote.

(Thanks to Whisky for the link).

It's a brilliant article.  Go and read the whole thing.

Liberals like to think that Republicans have tricked working class people into voting against their own self-interest, Taibbi says, but the truth is that the Democratic Party hasn't represented working class people for a long time now.  What's hurting the working class?  NAFTA and the TPP.  And who is pushing NAFTA and the TPP.  The Clintons.

Was there any effort to reach out to rural working class voters by the Clinton campaign?  If there was, I certainly missed it.  

What I did catch was that Clinton refused to even let the public see the speeches she had made to Wall Street.  And when Wikileaks released the transcripts, we found Clinton secretly praising the TPP to Wall Street.

And then when confronted with this, the Clinton campaign acted like they do every time they get caught doing something--they acted like the issue was that it was the fault of Wikileaks for revealing it, and not her fault for having done it.  There was no effort to ameliorate this.  The voter was just supposed to suck up everything, and still love her.   "Go Fuck off, and then come back and vote for me in November."


The closest I ever got to wanting to vote for Trump was listening to this Dan Carlin show on the secrecy of the negotiations around the TPP.  As Dan Carlin points out, it's not being kept secret from foreign governments--the foreign government already know all about it.  It's being kept secret from the American public, and it's being kept a secret precisely because the American public would not approve of it if they knew about it.

And Hillary is a big part of this.  She is giving secret speeches to Wall Street in which she is praising the TPP, and then refusing to even let the public see what was in those speeches.  "It's none of your business what I said to Wall Street.  Now go Fuck off and vote for me in November."  
That was her attitude!
Well, I tell you, this kind of thing makes a person want to vote for Trump.  It almost made me want to vote for Trump.


In the previous 4 blog posts, I did plenty of self-flagellating for everything I got wrong.  
But I did have one or two moments where I noticed what a disaster a Hillary Clinton campaign would be.

In 2008 during the Democratic Primaries between Barack and Hillary, I made the case why Hillary would be a terrible candidate.  I'll quote myself at length

Second reason why I'm wary about Hillary: she's just too much red meat for the right wing to go after. They love to hate her, and they're good at it. They've been hating her for years even before she had any sort of elected position or political power. If it weren't for Hillary Clinton, Rush Limbaugh would probably have run out of material and been out of a job years ago.
And they've just been drooling waiting for her to run. They wanted her to run back in 2000. They were sure she would run in 2004. If you go back and read the right wing editorials from those periods they couldn't wait to slam her and she wasn't even a candidate.
If Hillary wins the Democratic primary, we can expect months and months of gleeful conservatives drudging up all their accumulated 16 years of dirt on her.
Obama, on the other hand, they've got nothing on, so they have to resort to cheap tricks (examples here) which I think will backfire on the Republicans and help Obama more than they hurt him. As a friend of mine once put it, "The Right wing is absolutely drooling at the idea of Hillary winning. They're shitting themselves at the prospect of an Obama victory."
(Of course none of this is Hillary's fault. It's not her fault that Rush Limbaugh is such an asshole. But then politics has never been fair. If politics were fair, ugly people or people who were terrible public speakers could be candidates.)
To re-emphasize: I'm not saying it is fair that Republicans have an irrational hatred of Hillary Clinton.  But what I am saying is that it was entirely predictable.  And if we're concerned with things like winning elections and keeping fascists out of power, then we have to admit to ourselves that she was the wrong choice as nominee.
Had anyone else been the Democratic Nominee, I think we would have seen defections from the Republican Party in droves.  We knew a lot of establishment Republicans were unhappy with Trump.  But they've just couldn't make the jump for Hillary Clinton--they had been hating her for too long.


And if Clinton had trouble making inroads with Republicans, she also had trouble making progress with the Black Lives Matter group, who never forgave her for her comments about young black men as super predators with no conscience.

No comments: