Not even after voting starts June 7th, the press is saying that Hillary Clinton (after votes in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) has achieved a delegate majority for the Democratic presidential nomination (with party ‘superdelegates’). Nevertheless challenger Bernie Sanders still says he is going to take the fight to the convention. Meanwhile all of Donald Trump’s opponents for the Republican nomination have bowed out, giving the appearance of a united party and a lead in some polls before the conventions, as the “inevitable” Clinton is still finding it hard to close the deal in her own ranks.
This was of course also an issue for Clinton in her 2008 primary race against other candidates including the eventual winner, Barack Obama. Then it was assessed as a factor of “likeability.” But with only Sanders as a serious challenger in her party and Trump not only lacking Clinton’s experience but being that much more actively repulsive, Hillary is not being embraced. She is in fact considered almost as untrustworthy as Donald Trump. Historically, Trump’s unfavorable numbers in polls are higher than those of any other presidential candidate since polls were taken. That’s the good news for Clinton. The bad news is that Trump is the only one who exceeds her historical unfavorables.
Is it because she’s a woman? How did she get elected to the Senate then? How do Elizabeth Warren, Diane Feinstein or other women get elected? Is it because of the Republican Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy ™? Well, riddle me this: In the almost eight years since Barack Obama became President, the Republicans have not repealed the Affordable Care Act. They have not banned abortion. They have actually managed to create more sympathy for gay and trans rights than existed eight years ago. How is it that making Clinton seem untrustworthy is the ONLY thing they’ve managed to do right? Unless they’re not the ones who made her seem untrustworthy.
It is true that Clinton’s June 2nd speech showed some welcome signs of life, in that she ridiculed her presumptive Republican opponent Donald Trump simply by reading his actual quotes and daring her audience to take them seriously. But up until that point she was not really responding publicly to her presumptive general election opponent, even to the degree that Sanders was. And again, even though Trump is that much more deliberately offensive, Clinton still doesn’t seem “likeable.” On the whole she doesn’t respond quickly to criticism. Actually, she maneuvers as well as an oil tanker. The real issue with this is that she has become a magnet for negative publicity which is exacerbated by a defensive attitude.
For instance, the matter of her “damn emails.” While Clinton and her defenders say her use of a private email server was not unprecedented for the office, Madeline Albright and Condolezza Rice did not use email at all. Secretary of State Colin Powell did use a personal email account, he did not have it on a private server. Moreover, Albright, Powell and Rice, along with current SoS John Kerry cooperated with the Inspector General investigation and the Clinton staff did not.
It has been postulated by some that Clinton’s obsession with secrecy is because of being burned by the press and on the right wing by these issues and others such as the Whitewater real estate investigation, but it begs the question of whether she would have gotten in Dutch with the press (if not partisan Republicans) if she hadn’t been so secretive in the first place.
In any case, objections to the Clintons from the Right are of decades’ vintage, and there has been plenty of time to go over them, and most people who aren’t conservative dittoheads have dismissed them. But these days the most strenuous objections to Hillary Clinton are from the Left. The last time she ran in 2008, most Democrats had no objection to Mr. And Mrs. Clinton; they thought Bill was a great President and Hillary was a great Senator. They just thought Senator Obama had more to offer as a presidential candidate. But this year people are not objecting to Benghazi, or Vince Foster. The attacks on Hillary Clinton are coming from leftists offering critique of the last eight years of economic policy in comparison to the Clinton’s Administration’s push of NAFTA and its results on the American and international economies. In short, they’re a good deal more relevant to the average person than what the National Enquirer or Sean Hannity thinks of Hillary Clinton or her husband. And again, Clinton’s sense of optics is flawed: She is no more willing to reveal what she said in her speeches to Goldman Sachs than Trump is willing to reveal his full tax returns. (And if liberals say no one can prove a quid pro quo in her case, why do they support campaign-finance laws to begin with?)
It’s in this context that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders became Clinton’s primary challenger after Clinton’s political machine pushed away almost all other competition. He was able to hold on because of word-of-mouth and an Internet presence that allowed him to fund his campaign with many small-scale contributions, thus negating the need for the big-money sources that Clinton’s prospective opponents (and most Republicans) would have otherwise relied on – and incidentally undermining Sanders’ own thesis that you can’t get anything done in politics because of billionaire contributors. In any case, Sanders didn’t lose because of the “billionaire class.” He didn’t even lose because the system is rigged. It IS, but that’s not why he lost. Hillary Clinton was already on track to get the nomination with a majority of delegates not counting superdelegates, because she’d won more states, and by enough of a proportional margin, than Bernie did. And that’s because however compelling the leftist argument is in this economy, Sanders IS a socialist, and thus a materialist, and even on the Left, public concerns are not entirely economic. Hillary Clinton managed to regain her support in the black community and the South from 2008, and even if Sanders had been better able to address black concerns, he hadn’t done the legwork over years that the Clintons have in each of the state Democratic parties. And frankly, that’s because Sanders wasn’t a Democrat until this election, because like Trump, he rationalized that taking over a major party for a presidential race would make things a lot easier than running for president without one.
Which is why the Democratic Party’s engineering of the Nevada state convention on May 14 was both remarkable and unnecessary.
Among other things, they asked to hold a voice vote to approve changes in the rules without much of the audience having a hardcopy to review the rules. (I was at the Clark County convention the previous month where the Democrats tried the same thing, claiming that they didn’t print enough booklets for everyone as part of a ‘green’ initiative to save paper). Voice votes were held and then approved by the chairwoman on behalf of Clinton’s team despite the results by volume being rather dubious. Eventually after over ten hours of such manipulation, the chairwoman summarily ruled Clinton as the winner and left behind a screen of hotel security. The thing is, even if Sanders supporters had won Nevada for their candidate, it would have been a net difference of four delegates (a Clinton lead of 278 delegates as opposed to 282, as of May 14).
Given that, it should not just be alarming that party officials were so obviously on one side, but that they were so determined to engineer a result when the outcome was already decided in their favor, almost as though there was a need to rub it in. That in itself doesn’t mean fixing the desired result was Clinton’s idea or Clinton’s order. But again, these shenanigans paralleled similar tactics in the Clark County Democratic Convention in the previous month, although with far less media attention, and that, on top of a lack of polling places in Arizona that Democrats were conveniently able to blame on Republican state officials, (since apparently they had no problems with the state election boards before) meant there was already a negative perception brewing that Clinton either saw no need to address or had no ability to de-escalate.The convention is of a piece with the email issue, and the real estate issue, and everything else that liberals seem to think shouldn’t be a factor in making Clinton untrustworthy. Hillary Clinton is a control freak who needs to eliminate all outside random factors while having a dangerous tendency to make unforced errors that create more problems for her than the actions of others.
Up until fairly recently, I didn’t believe the theory that Sanders voters would get so sour-grapes that they would actually vote for Trump in November. After the Nevada convention, I’m not so sure. There’s no point in aligning with the Democratic Party if you’re a “progressive” who wants change when it’s pretty damn clear that the Clinton-centered Democratic National Committee doesn’t want progress and doesn’t want change.
On May 13, on Real Time with Bill Maher, Bill featured left-wing journalist Jeremy Scahill, who said that Clinton was the candidate of “empire” and the candidate of regime change, and thus not that much of an alternative to Trump. Maher asked Scahill, “You really hate Hillary, don’t you?” Scahill basically said that wasn’t the case, but I mean, Maher was saying that like it was a bad thing. Not liking Clinton is not something you have to apologize for. You could ask me, “You really hate gonorrhea, don’t you?” And I’d say, “Well, yeah… doesn’t everybody?”
I mean yes, gonorrhea is something that you could survive and get under control, as opposed to sticking your dick in a glowing green drum of radioactive waste, which is what voting for Trump would be, but that still doesn’t mean you WANT to get gonorrhea. And if I’m being told that the healthiest option for me REQUIRES contracting gonorrhea, then you shouldn’t be surprised that so many people, especially this year, want to join a third party, because the logic of “you HAVE to vote for the lesser evil” is the downward spiral that got us to where we are now. Now as to whether a third party vote is a good idea really depends on circumstances (I intend to elaborate on this in future posts) but make no mistake: The fact that things have been allowed to get to this point means THEY WILL get worse. Next election cycle, the Democrats will try to front David Petraeus as the “sensible moderate” candidate while the Republicans nominate the Bearded Lady, Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy, or Sid from the Rob Zombie movies. Whatever, just as long as they’re anti-abortion.
And there’s the problem. Hillary’s best selling points are that she is a more experienced candidate who represents the sensible establishment position. But the reason Trump ate the Republican Party and Sanders almost snuck up on Hillary is because after eight years of Obama, (however much better he is in comparison to McCain and Romney) there’s no more hope and people have no more change in their pockets. Obama won because people were sick of the old way of doing things, and now they’re that much sicker. Trump is running as the opposite of the establishment mentality and Clinton is running as the representative of it. And it’s going to be that much more of a problem because of who she is. Obama at least has some ability to think outside the box. Whereas Hillary Clinton not only doesn’t think outside the box, she practically is the box.
A few days ago I participated in an online discussion elsewhere, and someone’s friend said she thought that Hillary might lose this election. I said, “I don’t think she’ll lose, but certainly not for lack of trying.”