Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Sanders and Clinton 2016


To defeat Donald Trump the Democratic Party must unite around BOTH Senator Sanders AND Hillary Clinton, and must rule as a composite including and politically and economically informed by the most vibrant aspects and personages of their own party and American society. In President Obama's recent speech to the White House press core he argued that Secretary Clinton was merely having a hard time communicating with younger voters, but this is not the case. Rather Secretary Clinton has demonstrated time and time again that she represents the interests of large financial capitalists, from arms manufacturers to pharmaceutical giants to wallstreet, and younger voters, having done their research, are painfully aware of this and angry that the Democratic Party has so ardently foisted this seemingly anointed yet deeply flawed candidate on them. Senator Sanders is clearly the stronger and more principled opponent of Donald Trump, obviously, but at the same time it ought to be recognized that a situation has arisen in which if either candidate runs alone then the other's supporters will feel put out and unrepresented, which will hurt the Democrats' chances in November.

About the only thing that Democrats can agree on is that Donald Trump, as an irrational proto-fascist, cannot be allowed to occupy the position of the presidency. So the discussion has turned to how to best prevent this. Senator Sanders argues that, insofar as he polls much better than Secretary Clinton against Donald Trump, that those yet to vote, as well as superdelegates, ought to consider who is the stronger candidate against Donald Trump. Secretary Clinton argues that insofar as she leads in pledged delegates and superdelegates that Sanders, and his supporters, should line up behind her and help her defeat Trump. Neither of these lines of argumentation are especially convincing or persuasive: Bernie's argument is weak because on the one hand he has opposed and impugned the machine of the Democratic Party, while on the other he now solicits their better judgement; Hillary's argument is weak because she and her supporters expect the participation and enthusiasm that Sanders and his supporters have generated to be deposited on her doorstep as though it were merely a saleable and transferable commodity, where it clearly is not.

Were Bernie Sanders to succeed in upsetting Hillary Clinton at a contested convention, the upper echelons of the Democratic Party would feel put out, and would be right in complaining that Sanders has merely used the Democratic Party as a flag of convenience; were Hillary Clinton to succeed in putting down Bernie Sanders at a contested convention, it would embolden the worst and most cynical aspects of American 'Liberalism,' - i.e. the commentariat, reactionary wonks, the hateful and seething partisans of economic exploitation and austerity – and would all but annihilate the grassroots enthusiasm and political intervention that Senator Sanders has given rise to.

This does not mean, however, that Hillary Clinton is the anti-christ, but merely that the interests that she prioritizes and represents politically are clear, and that this needs to be factored in to both the democratic nomination process and the considerations concerning the election. Secretary Clinton is a competent political actor, and, while she is dogged by legitimate questions surrounding her trustworthiness and economic interests, alienating and upending her, and the institutional body that advocates for her, may be just as harmful to the Democrats' chances in November as alienating and upending the grassroots body that Senator Sanders has composed.

What needs to happen is for Senator Sanders and Hillary Clinton to come together and begin to determine an electoral platform PRIOR to the convention that both candidates will commit to, such that either candidate may advance and advocate for that platform, irrespective of who that candidate happens to be, and for the question of who will take top spot on the ticket to be bracketed as a question entirely, perhaps even until the convention itself.

Secretary Sanders' win in Indiana gives his campaign new life and vigor going into West Virginia, Oregon, Kentucky, and California, and strong showings in the remaining states will send a signal to the Democratic Party that they must commit to the political and economic program that he advocates if they are to retain control over the White House. The practical result of such victories as they pertain to the convention, however, would be that the question of who will be the democratic nominee will be even less clear than it is now. This is why it is imperative to take stock of the nature and character of the respective coalitions and to bridge, as far as is possible, the divide between them.

The Clinton coalition fears that an unruly mob, who appears to them as '37,000 donations of $27 each' personified, is fast in the process of overturning the apple-cart and playing spoiler; the Sanders coalition fears that a conceited and unaccountable neo-Aristocratic caste, and their 'Liberal' commentariat, is simply mandating the governance of a despot and expecting supplication and obeisance. Neither of these is entirely fair, but the only way to transcend these divisions and stereotypes is for Democrats to seriously discuss what elements of Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders' plans they, as a party, want to advance, and to select a nominee based on who is most capable of advancing such an agenda without reneging or abdicating on it.

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