About Bernie’s Political Revolution

In The Detroit News, Friday, March 6, 2016, Daniel Howes writes, “Not since whenever did the presumptive Republican nominee run to the left of the Democratic nominee [He assumes Hillary is the presumptive Democratic Nominee.] on trade, Wall Street and most foreign policy, even as the Democrat runs right of the Republican on the military and upholding traditional governmental institutions.” It’s an awkward construction. it would be simpler to say that Trump’s positions are to the left of Hillary’s on all these issues: trade, Wall Street, most foreign policy, the military and upholding traditional governmental institutions. There, fixed it.

The reason this particular column is worth noting is that, on this point, Howes is correct. Earlier in this column, Howes quotes Trump:

“I’m going to take some of the things that Bernie said and re-use them,” Trump said in a clip broadcast this week on MSNBC. Exactly, and for two reasons: first, they proved effective against Clinton and, second, they dovetail with his nominally Republican populism aimed squarely at working-class voters occupying both ends of the political spectrum.”

So, would Trump be a worse President than Hillary? That’s not so certain.

On the issue of free trade treaties, Trump sounds much better than Hillary. TTIP, TPP and even even NAFTA, according to Trump, would more or less be scrapped. Hillary and Bill and Obama are entirely part of the corporate Democrat wing responsible for creating them. Now, it is true that Trump opposes these agreements in the context of an ominous-sounding principle of “America First.” It’s also true that, just because he is saying it during the election campaign is no guarantee that he would, if elected, follow through. On this issue as on all others, we just have to take our best guess about what would happen.

My best guess so far is based on what I want to be done on the issue. I’m opposed to corporate Democrats giving international corporations the power to override national governments for the benefit of corporate profit. It’s very hard to imagine Trump would be worse than Hillary on this issue. Simply going by what he has said, he’ll be much better.

And so it goes for the rest of the above-mentioned set of issues. On these issues, Hillary would be an awful President; Trump, maybe not so much.

There’s another set of issues on which Hillary is clearly to the left of Trump: racism, sexism, religious prejudice, immigration and abortion. On this set of issues, Trump would be the awful President; Hillary, maybe not so much.

Then there’s a host of issues which both the Donald and the Hillary deem to be either unimportant or at best low-priority, given that neither will willingly bring thm up: Climate change; individual rights versus police power; individual privacy versus big data collection by corporations and the government; and continuing the “War on Terrorism” versus reining in the military. Though these two candidates are not in agreement on the details, they do agree on the substance here.

Trump, if elected, will in many ways be a terrible President. Hillary, if elected, will in many ways be a terrible President. If our choice is limited to these two, then no matter what happens in the election, the result will be a terrible President. If our choice is limited to these two, then it is not clear which one will be the least worst President.

In either case, we have a series of disasters coming, and neither the Donald nor the Hillary is planning to do anything effective to prevent or mitigate them: climate change with drought here, flooding there, and acidification of the oceans everywhere disrupting food production and nature’s oxygen production; ongoing depletion of oil, gas and other mined resources; and crisis after crisis for the fraudulent global economy which creates the opposite of prosperity for ordinary people in every society. And those are just the disasters we can see are inevitable. Plagues, nuclear war or a swarm of meteors are still possible, even though they aren’t predictable.

Is it then sensible, in this or any other election, to vote for whoever we imagine to be the least worst of two mainstream, business-as-usual candidates? Or is it more sensible to use this and subsequent elections to advance the case for the political revolution that will be needed to endure and clean up after the collapse of business-as-usual?

So far, Bernie has activated millions of people who see the need for the political revolution: universal single-payer health care; ending the gross inequality and insecurity of this society; rebuilding infrastructure with a combination of renewable energy and energy conservation; breaking the power of financial ond other large corporations to set the direction of our economy; ending our role as policeman of the world; establishing democratic control of the police and national security apparatus at home; and even leading the way in reducing greenhouse gas emissions so that we can see the atmospheric concentrations dropping within our lifetimes.

It’s pretty clear that neither voting for Trump nor voting for Hillary will do anything to advance this political revolution. If you are looking for ways to build this movement and you are not supporting the Green Party, which has exactly this platform, then you are going to need to do some serious thinking about why not.

Green Party people are already thoroughly sick of hearing from their “progressive” friends and family, “We all have to vote for Hillary, because TRUMP!” The assumption is that we share a rock-solid certain knowledge that it would be worse to have Trump as President. If we did share this certainty, then it would indeed follow that we should vote for Hillary, no matter how unenthusiastic we are.

In fact, we do not share that certainty.

Possibly millions of people don’t share that certainty. We’re not just unenthusiastic about voting for Hillary. We’re just as opposed to Hillary as we are to Trump. Anybody who seriously supports the political revolution that Bernie has been talking about would be opposed to Hillary and Trump, because both of them are opposed to the political revolution.

Art Myatt

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