By Dylan R.N. Crabb
Donald Trump slid to victory in the electoral vote count last week while Hillary Clinton received the popular vote. Regardless of the undemocratic electoral college, voter purging, excessive voter identification laws, national media outlets that are failing the American public in their duty to provide intelligent discourses, and a blackout of alternative political parties by the two most established parties thereby limiting the range of ideas discussed on such failing national media outlets, Donald Trump is going to be our next president. Did the American people even have a choice?
The presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had devolved into a contest of character assassination when Trump’s behind-the-scenes Access Hollywood video was released. From that point on, Clinton supporters could not stop talking about the real estate mogul’s apparent misogyny. And, Trump supporters couldn’t stop talking Clinton’s e-mails. I didn’t heard any reporter or pundit bring up the subject of corporate imperialism guiding American foreign policy, plans to transition American infrastructure to renewable energy sources, creating a more friendly entrepreneurial environment for start-up businesses, placing more pressure on established businesses to give back to their communities, etc. National news media seemed focused on highlighting Trump’s apparent bigotry and lack of qualifications and nothing else. Despite corporate media’s obvious bias towards Clinton, it ironically enabled a Trump victory with all of the free advertising Trump received. If only there was a candidate just as populace as Donald Trump, energizing a huge base of voters and turning out huge crowds in public spaces. Actually, there was a candidate like that on the liberal side; his name is Bernie Sanders!
The political establishment had lined up behind Hillary Clinton so much that they proved the point that Senator Sanders and Mr. Trump had been saying all along: that Washington D.C. is removed from the average American – our leaders do not represent us anymore. Trump won the election because working Americans are tired of “politics as usual.”
Hillary Clinton is a career politician who knows exactly what to say at every press conference. Donald Trump is a bigoted loudmouth who says what he thinks (no matter the accuracy of his words). One thing is for sure: both political parties chose who might be the worst candidates to run for president of the United States; the Democrats could have chosen a more populace candidate and the Republicans could have chosen a more intelligent candidate. Voters who lean toward the Democratic Party pointed to Clinton’s experience in public life as a significant qualification for the office of the US presidency while voters who lean toward the Republican Party said exactly the opposite – that Clinton’s long history in politics means that she is too entrenched in the established corruption of American politics to make any improvements to American lives.
Critical thinking Americans are not so convinced by either side of this simplistic punditry. The strongest criticisms of Clinton are her hawkish stances on foreign policy and her lucrative business relationships with several authoritarian nations in the Middle East (governments that also donated money to the Clinton Foundation prior to Clinton becoming US Secretary of State). The strongest criticisms of Trump have to do with his seemingly bloated record as an entrepreneur and the university that bore the Trump brand for which the now President-elect is facing a criminal charge of fraud. Decide for yourselves which are the worse offences.
I think Americans are right to view Hillary Clinton as a Machiavellian power broker because Clinton has flip flopped throughout her entire career on issues according to what would be most beneficial for her career – she started out in politics as a Republican, “Goldwater Girl” in college talking about being “tough on crime” in the aftermath of the American Civil Rights movement. One could argue that the current Democratic Party is basically what the Republican Party was forty years ago. Donald Trump’s most significant strength seems to be his knowledge of media maneuvering, online navigation, and emotional manipulation; he knows how to market himself for a particular audience.
A redeeming quality about Donald Trump’s presidential administration (perhaps the only redeeming quality) might be that so many Americans are against him; so many media outlets are against him. If Hillary Clinton had won the presidency, it would have been likely to see much of American news media kiss her ass in praise. Under President Trump, Americans might see news media actually do some journalism in their adversarial stance against him. The press should be adversarial toward people in power. Another positive thing we’re likely to see from the next administration: the Trans Pacific Partnership is not likely to pass into law.
The president-elect will be forming his cabinet in the next few weeks. Watch closely.
By Dylan R.N. Crabb
Hillary Clinton is now being called the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for the United States presidency and US Senator Bernie Sanders has been questioned several times about his plans for the remainder of the race. The former US Secretary of State has publicly called for “uniting the Democratic Party” while the US senator from Vermont is refusing to concede while repeating to the public that the American people need to stop Donald Trump (the presumptive Republican Party nominee). Despite an approximate 2.4 million votes remaining uncounted in California, Clinton has shifted her presidential campaign to face the Republican nominee, in preparation for the race for the general election this November.
After Clinton declared victory in California, Donald Trump attempted to appeal to supporters of Senator Sanders over Twitter, virtually shouting to the public (as we usually see from Trump’s Twitter profile) about a rigged electoral system. Trump has railed against the country’s political status quo many times during his campaign for the presidency; it may be his best quality. I have discussed the possibility of Bernie Sanders conceding to Hillary Clinton and the corporate Demcocrats with several Sanders supporters here in northern New Mexico, they have all told me that they would either write in Senator Sanders in protest or choose an option from a minor political party. A few of these supporters even expressed relief about the thought of a Donald Trump presidency over a Hillary Clinton presidency. At least Trump has expressed a consistent disatisfaction about the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal (as well as any other global trade deal). Clinton has flip flopped so many times on the TPP and other issues, I’m not sure what she will do if she is elected the next president. That duplicity may be Clinton’s worst quality – she has benefitted enormously from the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision, receiving large donations from the financial sector (in particular, Goldman Sachs) as well as individual billionaires like George Soros. No matter what you may think about Donald Trump, I think most political scientists would agree that this election is a little bizarre. Independent voters are going to play a crucial role considering that both presumptive party nominees are somewhat unpopular with the general public.
By Dylan R.N. Crabb
The year is now 2016 – an election year in the United States, one that has enormous potential for the future of American politics. The voter turnout this November will determine the nation’s next president and the field of contenders is crowded.
On the Democratic side of the arena, we have Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley as the primary contenders. Hillary Clinton is a former US Senator, and a former US Secretary of State as well as the wife of (former) President Bill Clinton. Recently, Mrs. Clinton has addressed issues relating to social equality (equal rights between males and females, heterosexuals and homosexuals, etc.), economic reform, immigration reform, and national security (national security and immigration reform are looking to be ongoing topics of discussion throughout this election cycle). You can listen to Hillary Clinton discuss her economic vision for the nation in this recorded C-SPAN production here. Although Mrs. Clinton is currently leading her two opponents (according to RealClearPolitics), she has been labelled as a “flip-flopper by critics. A video compilation put together by The Guardian shows Mrs. Clinton juxtaposed between differing positions she has held on social issues and economic issues. Mrs. Clinton is also receiving her largest campaign donations from the financial industry (according to OpenSecrets), which raises questions about how she would implement economic reform. The former Secretary of State also has a history of hawkishness, often advocting for more militaristic measures in international conflicts such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Ukraine (as catalogued by Abby Martin at RT). Hillary Clinton may be the best funded among the Democrats, but she may not be as “liberal” as her supporters may believe. In comparison, US Senator Bernie Sanders is on similar ground with Hillary Clinton (in terms of this election cycle) but extends his rhetoric much farthur. He identifies as a socialist and is constantly advocating for an expansion of our government’s social welfare programs, citing those of Europe as examples. While there may be an irrational fear among American capitalists against any kind of public policy that puts people over profits, Sanders breaks through that fear by appealing to Americans with an immense grassroots coalition (bypassing the corporate media gate keepers) and identifies socialist mechanisms already engrained in American culture. Policies such as Medicare, which provides healthcare for senior citizens in the United States, are working in European nations providing healthcare for every citizen as a basic commodity. Sanders also seems to have a more consistent history than his rival, Hillary Clinton, having been advocating on the side of union-backed, American jobs and against global militarism ever since he was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in 1981.
“When Bernie Sanders, a self-declared socialist, served as mayor here in the 1980s, he often complained that the United States had its priorities wrong, that it should be diverting money from the military to domestic needs like housing and health care,” writes Katherine Seelye at The New York Times.
“Mr. Sanders, frugal by nature, set the tone. And together, they conducted the first audit of Burlington’s pension system in a quarter-century. They moved the city’s money into higher-yielding accounts. They raised fees for building permits and for utilities that dug up the city’s streets. And they ended the cronyism by which the city’s insurance contracts had been let, opening them to competitive bidding. Taken together, these moves saved the city hundreds of thousands of dollars (Seelye, The New York Times).
When Hillary Clinton’s militarist tendencies is compared to Bernie Sanders’ populism, it seems like an easy choice for me. The former governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, has not been able to distinguish himself from Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, so his campaign seems kind of pointless to me. I think this upcoming primary election between Clinton and Sanders will be a metaphorical fight over the soul of the Democratic Party. As a nation, do we want to continue policies that follow corporate agendas that fuel the military industrial complex, or do we want to draw inspiration from the Rooseveltian progressives and create a more altruistic culture where the lower-classes are given what they earn as the backbone of the economy?