Hillary Loses the Left

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally at Eastern Market in Detroit, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

While Donald Trump has been consolidating his base of support, the opposite appears to be happening for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who seems to be hemorrhaging supporters from her progressive base.

Clinton’s long-running rift with the progressive left has been a vulnerability for her throughout her campaign — dating back to the Democratic primary.

Yet, in the closing days of the 2016 campaign, the rift has been laid bare through a combination of WikiLeaks revelations, a series of high-profile endorsements for Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein from progressives like Marc Lamont Hill, Cornel West, and Susan Sarandon, as well as polling data that suggests Trump’s broad populist messaging is resonating with Democrat-leaning voters.

Contrary to the narrative perpetuated by corporate media, many prominent liberals are now expressing their belief that installing Hillary Clinton, a “corporatist hawk,” in the White House is “the true danger” and would be “more dangerous” for progressive values, the well-being of the nation, and the stability of the world than would four years of a Donald Trump presidency.

Recent reports have captured Clinton’s schism from her progressive base — highlighted, in part, by Trump’s decision to close the final days of the 2016 election season by campaigning in traditionally blue states like Michigan, Colorado, and Pennsylvania.

On Sunday, Marc Lamont Hill — who endorsed Stein in August — urged progressives to reject the establishment’s “fearmongering” and the “campaign of terror” being waged by the Democratic Party and to instead vote their conscience by supporting Stein.

The distinguished professor of African American studies at Morehouse college and New York Times best-selling author explained that making the short-term “political sacrifice” of four years of Donald Trump in the White House is a small price to pay to for the long-term goal of setting “the groundwork to imagine a new world, a new politics, and a new order.”

Hill explained that Hillary Clinton is a “neoliberal” who is “committed to using war as the primary instrument of foreign policy” and is unwilling “eliminate gross forms of militarization around the world.”

“We can afford to lose an election; we can’t afford to lose our values,” Hill explained during an August interview with Power 105.1’s the Breakfast Club. “I would rather have Trump be president for four years and build a real left-wing movement that can get us what we deserve as a people, than to let Hillary be president and we stay locked in the same space where we don’t get what we want.”

I’m not scared of Trump. I’m scared of us as a country moving in the wrong direction… I have very l little trust in what Democratic party is doing. And I worry we’re investing so much faith in them out of fear… They’re essentially saying, “If you don’t vote for us, then you’re going to have Donald Trump and your life will be ruined.” If you frame that as the choice, you never get to demand what you actually deserve and what you actually want.

Hill explained that the Democratic Party, now relying on a campaign of fear to pressure progressives to vote Clinton, is the same Democratic party that launched “a campaign of dirty tricks, lies, misrepresentations and outright just egregious acts of unethical behavior” in order to “pus[h] Bernie [Sanders] out and marginaliz[e]” Sanders’s progressive message.

On Saturday, rapper and vocal Sanders supporter, Killer Mike, took to Instagram to tell black voters to “stay the f*ck home” if politicians on the ballot do not represent their views on certain political issues.

“Black Voters in states like Georgia this is your chance to MAKE A DEMAND and have it met! Don’t remain a pasty [sic] and pet simply doing what u are told. Get something for your vote or stop complaining and accept your role as a 2cd Class citizen once and for all,” Killer Mike wrote.

“If you’re voting for Trump or Hillary Clinton, you’re voting for the same thing,” Killer Mike told TMZ in August after Sanders had lost the Democratic primary. While Killer Mike did not indicate who he was voting for at that time, he explained that, “We had one candidate this year — who had a strong chance of winning — who was anti-growing war, and that was Sanders, and we didn’t vote him in, so we’re getting what we asked for… We’re asking for more war. And if you don’t want any war, you’d be voting Jill Stein.”

At a Saturday campaign rally for Clinton, the president of Iowa State University’s chapter of Students for Bernie, Kaleb Vanfosson, took to the stage and excoriated Clinton, telling rally attendees not to vote for her as the liberal crowd cheered him on.

“The only thing she cares about is pleasing her donors, the billionaires who fund her campaign,” Vanfosson declared. “The only people that really trust Hillary are Goldman Sachs, CitiGroup can trust Hillary, the military industrial complex can trust Hillary. Her good friend Henry Kissinger can trust Hillary.”

“She is so trapped in the world of the elite that she has completely lost grip on what it’s like to be an average person,” Vanfosson continued. “She doesn’t care. Voting for another lesser of two evils, there’s no point.”

Earlier this week, Dave Chappelle blasted Clinton’s integrity during a set at The Cutting Room in New York City.

“On Friday night, he shocked the crowd with a 60-minute set largely devoted to slamming Hillary Clinton,” the Observer reported in a piece titled, “Dave Chappelle Defends Trump, Rips Clinton, ‘She’s Not Right and We All Know It.'” Chappelle said he “didn’t feel good” about voting for Clinton. “She’s going to be on a coin someday. And her behavior has not been coin-worthy,” Chappelle reportedly said.

On Tuesday, Jill Stein won the endorsement of actress and former Sanders supporter Susan Sarandon.

“Fear of Donald Trump is not enough for me to support Clinton, with her record of corruption,” Sarandon wrote in a letter announcing her decision to endorse of Stein. “Now that Trump is self-destructing, I feel even those in swing states have the opportunity to vote their conscience.”

Sarandon listed nearly a dozen reasons why she could not support Clinton, including the fact that Clinton “supports TPP” and “takes lobbyists money for campaigning.”

Sarandon has denounced Clinton repeatedly throughout the campaign and has said that she believes a President Clinton’s hawkishness and “moral judgement” is “more dangerous” than a President Trump.

“I’m more afraid of actually Hillary Clinton’s war record and her hawkishness than I am of building a wall,” Sarandon said back in April.

“She did not learn a thing from Iraq. She is an interventionist. She’s done horrible things, horrible things, and very callously,” Sarandon said in June. “I don’t know if she’s overcompensating or what her trip is. I think we’ll be in Iran in two seconds. That scares me. That frightens me… [I] know what her policies are… [I] know where she’s taking money from.”

Back in June, Sarandon warned that a Clinton indictment was “inevitable.” As The Hill reported:

Sarandon predicted in a separate interview that Clinton will ultimately face indictment for her use of a private email server while secretary of State.

“Nobody’s even talking about this indictment,” she told MSNBC. “What happens with that, besides the trust issue of catching her in so many lies?”

“Well, there has been no indictment,” Chris Jansing responded.

“No, but there’s going to be,” responded Sarandon. “I mean, it’s inevitable.”

“The woman is a disaster!” dissident feminist Camille Paglia told The Spectator last month. “It’s an outrage how she’s played the gender card. She is a woman without accomplishment. ‘I sponsored or co-sponsored 400 bills.’ Oh really? These were bills to rename bridges and so forth. And the things she has accomplished have been like the destabilisation of North Africa, causing refugees to flood into Italy.”

Michael Moore, a former Sanders supporter who now is actively campaigning for and supporting Hillary Clinton, has explained that the lack of enthusiasm for Clinton is, in part, a result of Trump’s populist message that speaks to “people who are hurting,” combined with Clinton’s longstanding record of championing policies that have “royally screwed” people in middle America who are hurting.

In a July post titled, “5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win,” Moore wrote, “Let’s face it: Our biggest problem here isn’t Trump – it’s Hillary. She is hugely unpopular — nearly 70% of all voters think she is untrustworthy and dishonest.”

“Her vote for the Iraq War made me promise her that I would never vote for her again,” Moore wrote, noting that even though he’s now breaking that promise so that he can to vote against Trump, “I sadly believe Clinton will find a way to get us in some kind of military action. She’s a hawk, to the right of Obama,” Moore said.

“She represents the old way of politics, not really believing in anything other than what can get you elected,” Moore added. “That’s why she fights against gays getting married one moment, and the next she’s officiating a gay marriage… No Democrat, and certainly no independent, is waking up on November 8th excited to run out and vote for Hillary the way they did the day Obama became president or when Bernie was on the primary ballot. The enthusiasm just isn’t there.”

Moore explained that, by contrast:

[Trump has] said (correctly) that the Clintons’ support of NAFTA helped to destroy the industrial states of the Upper Midwest. Trump is going to hammer Clinton on this and her support of TPP and other trade policies that have royally screwed the people of these four states. When Trump stood in the shadow of a Ford Motor factory during the Michigan primary, he threatened the corporation that if they did indeed go ahead with their planned closure of that factory and move it to Mexico, he would slap a 35% tariff on any Mexican-built cars shipped back to the United States. It was sweet, sweet music to the ears of the working class of Michigan, and when he tossed in his threat to Apple that he would force them to stop making their iPhones in China and build them here in America, well, hearts swooned… From Green Bay to Pittsburgh, this, my friends, is the middle of England – broken, depressed, struggling, the smokestacks strewn across the countryside with the carcass of what we use to call the Middle Class. Angry, embittered working (and nonworking) people who were lied to by the trickle-down of Reagan and abandoned by Democrats who still try to talk a good line but are really just looking forward to rub one out with a lobbyist from Goldman Sachs who’ll write them nice big check before leaving the room. What happened in the UK with Brexit is going to happen here.

Slavoj Žižek, a Lacanian Marxist philosopher and superstar professor amongst collegiate millennials, said earlier this week that, if he were American, he would vote for Trump over Clinton.

“I’m horrified at him,” Žižek said, “[but] I’m just left thinking Hillary is the true danger. Why? She built an impossible, all-inclusive coalition. Look, the one point when I fully agreed with Trump was, you remember, when Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary? … Trump said it’s like somebody from Occupy Wall Street endorsing Lehman Brothers.”

“I’m just afraid that Hillary stands for this absolute inertia, the most dangerous one, because she’s a cold warrior, and so on, connected with banks pretending to be socially progressive,” Žižek added. “In every society, there is a whole network of unwritten rules, how politics works, and how you build consensus. And Trump disturbed this. If Trump wins, both major parties–Republicans and Democrats–would have to return to basics, rethink themselves, and maybe some things can happen there … It will be a kind of big awakening. New political processes will be set in motion, will be triggered.”

In July, Dr. Cornel West, a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual, endorsed Stein over Clinton, explaining Stein is “the only progressive woman in the race.”

“The Clinton train— [of] Wall Street, security surveillance, militaristic— is not going in the same direction I’m going,” West told Bill Maher earlier this year.

She’s a neoliberal… [I] believe neoliberalism is a disaster when it comes to poor people and when it comes to people in other parts of the world dealing with U.S. foreign policy and militarism. Oh, absolutely. Ask the people in Libya about that. Ask the people in the West Bank about that.

West has separately explained that Clinton’s “militarism makes the world a less safe place” and that her globalist agenda created the “right-wing populism” that has fueled Trump’s rise.

Clinton policies of the 1990s generated inequality, mass incarceration, privatization of schools and Wall Street domination. There is also a sense that the Clinton policies helped produce the right-wing populism that we’re seeing now in the country. And we think she’s going to come to the rescue? That’s not going to happen.

“It’s too easy to view him [Trump] as an isolated individual and bash him,” West told Maher. “He’s speaking to the pain in the country because white, working class brothers have been overlooked by globalization, by these trade deals,” trade deals which Stein also opposes.

Beyond just her record and her support for hawkish, corporatist policies, Clinton’s strained relationship with progressives has been exacerbated by the steady stream of leaked Clinton campaign emails, made public by WikiLeaks.

Reports have documented how progressives have taken offense to how the Clinton camp privately discussed progressives and their agenda. They were also upset by — what Stein has described — the revelation of the Clinton camp’s “collusion” with corporate media and the DNC’s efforts to “sabotage” Sanders’s campaign against Clinton.

They’ve similarly been outraged by the discovery of Clinton’s private beliefs relayed to Wall Street executives in paid speeches delivered behind-closed-doors — including Clinton’s belief that politicians need to have “both a public and a private position” on every issue.

Most recently, a leaked Clinton campaign email revealed that a Clinton campaign surrogate privately indicated to supporters that Clinton plans to betray labor and union members and support the TPP if she’s elected president

As Politico reported in an October piece titled “WikiLeaks poisons Hillary’s relationship with left”:

Some of the left’s most influential voices and groups are taking offense at the way they and their causes were discussed behind their backs by Clinton and some of her closest advisers in the emails, which swipe liberal heroes and causes as “puritanical,” “pompous”, “naive”, “radical” and “dumb,” calling some “freaks,” who need to “get a life.” […] among progressive operatives, goodwill for Clinton — and confidence in key advisers featured in the emails including John Podesta, Neera Tanden and Jake Sullivan — is eroding…

Parting with Clinton, some prominent progressives have explained that they want a candidate and a vision they can vote “for” rather than just something to vote “against.”

“I don’t want to vote against Donald Trump. I want to vote for workers’ rights. I want to vote for living wage, for clean energy, for a world without mass incarceration. I want to vote for those things,” Marc Lamont Hill said Sunday. “That’s what Green is about for me. It’s about being able to vote for something, not just against something.”

Hill explained that buying into the argument that voters need to choose the lesser of two evils means that voters are still forced to vote for evil.

“Let’s not choose evil,” Hill said, explaining his support for Stein.

On Sunday, Stein made her closing argument to the American voters and laid out what is at stake this election for the country and for the American people.

“This election we are not only deciding what kind of world we will have, but whether we will have a world or not going forward,” Stein said:

Not only in regards to climate, not only in regards to these expanding wars where Hillary has this proven track record… of the most pro-conflict military policy as possible and she’s calling for a no-fly zone in Syria which means we’re essentially declaring war on Russia if Hillary gets elected. Declaring war on Russia at a time when we have 2,000 nuclear weapons between us and the Russians on hair trigger alert. This is a mushroom cloud waiting to happen. So it’s really important right now for us to stand up and start building a force to do the right thing.

“It’s very clear what kind of a trend we’re on,” Stein explained:

This is a race to the bottom between the greater and lesser evil. Where is the exit strategy if you buy into this [idea that one must vote for one of the major parties]? It means that in every election we have two candidates that are more corporatist, more militarist, more imperialist, more economic elites, more serving Wall Street, offshoring our jobs, more of these rigged corporate trade agreements, more of this climate policy… there is no exit strategy if you buy into the lesser evil. It means with each race we come closer and closer to the cliff.”

“No one should fool themselves into thinking that the dangers will be smaller, that they will be mitigated in any way for having Hillary in White House, in some ways they’re arguably even more immediate and intense,” Stein added. “But the dangers will be mitigated if we have created a strong force and we stand up loud and clear and we have a political base for this social movement that is coming together across this country and really across the world. This movement that puts people, planet and peace over profit.”


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