Or, why this non-Bernie-or-Bust progressive is voting for Big Orange
We’re back to bread and circuses, it seems, the featured act this election cycle being a false-choice rumble between Republican fear mongering (Mexican/ISIS zombie hoards coming to eat our brains) and Democratic fear mongering (Republican zombie hoards coming to eat our brains). The winner, we’re told, will get to appoint as many as four Supreme Court justices and that, we’re told, will be all she wrote. Game, set and match. Finito.
Yet here’s from Noam Chomsky: Elections have become a charade, run by the public relations industry. (Who Rules the World?, 2016)
And from Sheldon Wolin: [T]here is, of course, the culminating moment of national elections when the attention of the nation is required to make a choice of personalities rather than a choice between alternatives. (Democracy Incorporated, 2008)
And from Upton Sinclair: [T]he industrial autocracy maintains and subsidizes two rival political machines, and every now and then stages an elaborate sham-battle, contributing millions of dollars to the campaign funds of both sides. (The Brass Check, 1920)
The same public relations industry that sham-battled us with Lyndon Johnson’s “Daisy Girl” ad and George Herbert Walker’s Willy Horton ad probably won’t break a sweat convincing most of the people most of the time that Trump and Clinton actually aren’t two peas at opposite ends of the same pod. Just as they convinced us that Barry Goldwater’s middle name was Armageddon and Michael Dukakis would flood our neighborhoods with furloughed murderers. They’ll plug that Sanders-shaped hole in the roof of their world with super PAC money and call it art.
Barack Obama, whose full-throated endorsement of Clinton made such a stir at this week’s Democratic national convention, said himself in 2008 that she’d “say anything to get elected.” When did that change, exactly? Before or after she “evolved” on TPP, a $15 minimum wage, and super predators? Before or after Wikileaks revealed that she’d colluded with “longtime friend” Debbie Wasserman Schultz to scuttle the Sanders campaign? Before or after she accepted $1.8 million in speaking fees for her appearances at eight banking industry events? Before or after Clinton fundraiser Rajiv K. Fernando was appointed to the International Security Advisory Board (ISAB), a position for which he was demonstrably unqualified? Before or after, while Secretary of State, she tripled arms sales to Algeria hot on the heels of that country’s $500,000 donation to the Clinton Foundation in violation of the ethics agreement she’d entered into with the Obama administration?
One could go on.
Or, since the ethics test yields no clear winner, one might simply accept the proposition that Trump’s hubris will make him trigger happy, but isn’t Clinton’s penchant for regime change equally worrisome? How many Middle East power vacuums do we get to create before one of them sucks up a weapon of mass destruction with our name on it?
Likewise, one might accept the proposition that Trump isn’t “qualified” to be president, but isn’t it reasonable to assume that a seasoned plutocrat would be better qualified to run a plutocracy than a career politician?
No, the biggest difference I see between Trump and Clinton is this: Clinton will change little or nothing, while Trump might frighten us into changing ourselves.