Hillary vs. Trump: Who’s the Lesser Evil?
A Facebook ad for Hillary Clinton asked for help to beat Trump because it said “beating Trump won’t be easy”. And, new polls show that support for Trump is indeed growing, while Clinton’s is stagnating, which is beginning to worry establishment Democrats, who until now, have been confident in their candidate’s ability to beat Trump, and not just beat, but “crush” him. They argued all along that Hillary is the stronger candidate and has a better chance of beating him than Bernie Sanders, dismissing the fact that polls consistently showed that Sanders had a better chance of beating him in general elections than Clinton.
Hillary, to be sure, is by far the preferred candidate for the Party establishment, who have put their money where their mouth – or rather their wallet – is and thrown their strong support behind her, not only through their “super delegates”, but by making the Democratic primaries look like elections in some third world country, run by the CIA and their paid generals. But, now they’re beginning to wake up to the fact that the product they just bought and brought home is defective. Even her closest allies will secretly, if not publicly, admit that she’s a “terrible candidate”.
But, let’s pause for a second and contemplate what makes her such a “bad candidate”. I’m not talking about the fact that she’s one of the most hawkish and pro-war politicians in recent US history. In fact, only Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger – both of whom have, not surprisingly, expressed support for her – are hawkish enough to be even comparable to her, and without exaggeration, even they fall short in comparison. I’m also not talking about her close relations with big Wall Street banks or her support for neoliberal “free trade” agreements, such as the TPP or for supporting fracking or for her ties to arms manufacturers, big oil, big Pharma, Monsanto and Saudi kings, or her unconditional support for the apartheid state of Israel, or her desire to attack Iran, send troops to Syria and face off Russia and China, militarily. These are indeed reactionary and dangerous tenets, not to be ignored, regardless of who her opponent is in November. What makes her a terrible candidate, whom even the ruling class will only begrudgingly and reluctantly can bring itself to support as their “lesser evil”, is not ideological or political – they have no problem with her in that regard – but personality. When Donald Trump calls her “crooked Hillary”, people see and feel that he’s right, regardless of what they think of Trump, himself – and indeed most have very low opinion of him and deservedly so. This is not sexism, any more than telling the truth about Obama is racist. Most politicians – men and women – are disingenuous, two-faced, dishonest and crooked. But, many of them are just below the threshold beyond which the decibel level of their disingenuousness is so high that it’s hard to ignore. There are times when a politician may fall back into his or her more genuine self. But, for Hillary, to show that there is even a trace of genuineness in her, she has to make a deliberate effort and stage and act that moment of genuineness, which naturally comes off as what it really is: planned, staged, acted and fake.
Ideologically, she’s very much in the camp of aggressive and militant imperialism, where you’d find the likes of Cheney and Kissinger, but while these two are controversial war mongers and liars, who fabricate stories, twist facts, mislead and lie to achieve their imperial goals, there still is some kind of genuineness about them. She, on the other hand, seems trapped in the body of someone who feels she has to pretend to be a “progressive”, who cares about the poor or the minorities or the victims of police brutality or the thousands of innocent people overseas when she eagerly and enthusiastically sacrifices for empire, without feeling anything. And that’s hard to do. Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger see no need for such pretense. That makes them genuine, even if it means genuine sociopaths and war criminals.
While Cheney and Kissinger are ideological liars and sociopaths, who will sacrifice millions for empire and not feel anything, Hillary will do all that, but she does feel something: she feels joy and pleasure. Think for a moment about what she said and how she said it, after US and its European allies relentlessly bombed Libya, killing thousands, and after a US war plane bombed Gaddafi’s convoy and a mob of terrorists captured him, sodomized him with a knife, cut him in many places and brutally lynched, mutilated and killed him. She said laughingly: “we came; we saw; he died; hahaha”. A normal person feels no joy at torturous death of even her enemies. The only time she’s genuine is when she expresses such joy at the thought of violence, brutality and murder.
Many people look at her and feel there is something about her that’s revolting and disturbing, but can’t quite put their finger on it. But, they don’t have to. They know they don’t like her and that’s enough to worry the Democratic Party establishment. And, that’s why her Facebook ad admits “beating Trump won’t be easy”. You’d think with all that Trump has said, it should be rather easy to beat him. Trump is the epitome of a racist, sexist, arrogant, ignorant, narcissistic asshole, but he’s different from Clinton in two major ways: he’s non-ideological and he’s genuine. There is nothing to like about such a racist and sexist asshole, either, and admittedly, his being non-ideological stems, at least in part, from his ignorance. But, at a time when US imperialism is waging multiple and endless wars and is surrounding Russia with tanks and missiles and provoking China in South China Sea and pushes for another world war, not being ideologically aligned with the most belligerent and militarist imperialist policies is actually a good thing. Now, I, for one, wouldn’t hold my breath for Trump to actually continue along the lines he’s been speaking, should he win the presidency, and he’s probably saying them for the wrong reasons, but at least, he’s taking positions against multiple endless wars and against military interventions and for negotiating with Russia and China. He’s also speaking of more even-handed policy towards occupied Palestine, rather than Clinton’s unconditional and unlimited aid and support for the settler state. Clinton leaves no doubt as to her desire for more wars and military interventions and confrontations, including against Russia and China, especially for intervention and provocation at Russia’s borders. Trump is also against neoliberal trade agreements, which Clinton has been in support of most of her political career. He’s clearly to her left on these issues.
I’m not ignoring the domestic realm, which is where Clinton supporters feel an edge over Trump. But, in this area, too, her supporters are forgetting one major fact: while Clinton will implement pro Wall Street and corporate policies, same as Republicans and same as Trump, she will probably do them without major resistance from workers and the minorities, especially blacks. Trump, on the other hand, won’t be afforded such benefit. Trump will be a magnet for protests and even riots. And guess what has historically been more effective in bringing about real and significant change, whether it be voting rights for women and African Americans, civil rights, the right to collective bargaining for workers or abolition of slavery. None of these and other major societal changes were accomplished “incrementally” and by electing “the lesser evil”, even if we think Hillary is, which is far from clear. President Obama is a good example of it. It’s hard to find a more “credible” lesser evil than Obama was considered to be in 2008. He was claimed as the real thing, the best hope in more than a generation to bring fundamental change. The only “change” he brought was more wars, more killings, more riches for the rich and more poverty for the poor.
What is clear both from the 2008 and 2016 elections is that people want change from the ordinary, business as usual status quo. This is why Trump wins over establishment and known figures like Jeb Bush, Scott Walker. Marco Rubio and others and it’s why Bernie Sanders draws large crowds and has made it tough for Hillary to break away and put away the contest, despite all the Party and establishment support she’s been getting. This is why Democrats have to be worried now about November. She’s the epitome of a typical corrupt career and establishment politician, who represents the status quo more than any and for more of the same: close ties with fraudster bankers and large corporations, from big oil and Pharma to weapons manufacturers, promising more wars, more support for Israel and closer ties with corrupt Saudi dictators and Islamist terrorists to accomplish regime change. The frustration is so high among people that many Democrats consider Trump their “lesser evil”, despite his disgusting attitude towards women, immigrants and minorities.
I must say if the issue is to pick “the lesser evil”, I don’t see how Hillary is it. We know Trump is a sexist and racist asshole, but more evil than Hillary? Trump is like that racist, sexist, homophobe asshole conservative uncle or cousin, whom we have to tolerate for couple of hours every year, but more evil than Hillary? I’m not so sure. The point is: the general elections aren’t going to be a walk in the park for Democrats, who pushed Bernie aside with all the force of the Party they could muster, in favor of Hillary, claiming that she will destroy Trump in November. At least, the polls don’t support that claim. To be sure, Sanders, too, is no revolutionary and was not about to deliver on the promise of major changes, either. But, his bid for the leadership of “the free world”, which is euphemism for world imperialism headed by the US military industrial complex and empire (yes, that’s what Bernie is hoping to be the leader of, too, just as Hillary and Trump), showed how corrupt and beholden to big money the Democratic Party is.
Changes don’t happen incrementally, but consciousness does, slowly but surely, until it gets to the point when occupying government buildings and police headquarters seems much more promising than standing in long lines to vote.