Monday, June 6, 2016

The National Political Crisis

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. (photo: ABC News)
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. (photo: ABC News)
By Ronnie Dugger, Reader Supported News
04 June 16
n the evidence there is now too great a risk that Donald Trump would defeat Hillary Clinton and become President with his thumb poised at the button to detonate some of our almost 5,000 deployed nuclear weapons, killing millions in strikes and retaliations and perhaps ending life on earth. In my considered judgement the two now corrupt major political parties must face the hard facts why, if possible, the Democratic National Convention in July, in conscience and patriotism, should swing from Clinton to Bernie Sanders, even possibly to Elizabeth Warren or Vice President Joe Biden, as their nominee.

All of us who are even dimly watching know the Republicans have nominated and the Democrats seem about to nominate politicians for President each of whom are the most disrespected and distrusted-as-dishonest such candidates in the long history of our country. Clinton is basically tied with Trump in the polls as if they are presently running against each other in November. The American people now seem fenced in toward electing a President Trump, an astounding collapse and quite possibly a death trap for the United States and the human race.

It’s clear and obvious that Sanders as of now has a two, even three times better chance of beating Trump than Clinton has. It’s as plain on the noses of the faces of the Democrats’ unelected “superdelegates.” Those misnamed convention-rigging superdelegates are providing Clinton a net of about 500 of her unelected delegate vote advantage beyond those delegates chosen by the voters.

As Sanders has said accurately, “If you look at all the national polls out there, virtually all of them, if you look at all of the state polls, we do much better against Trump than does Hillary Clinton.” A national poll a week ago showed Clinton 3% ahead of Trump compared to Sanders’ 15-point lead if running against him. An adviser and pollster for President Clinton from 1994 to 2000, Douglas E. Schoen, wrote as of June 1, “Bernie Sanders consistently runs stronger than [Clinton] does against Mr. Trump nationally, beating him by about 10 points in a number of recent surveys.” Schoen forecasts that Clinton may not be the Democratic nominee.

People for Clinton and/or against Trump often fall silent knowing they weaken Clinton perhaps long-run by seeing or arguing that she should not be the candidate because of her mounting weaknesses. That is the kind of risk that is now upon the citizenry. Nevertheless, navigating through this national political crisis, the truth about them must be said and weighed. In brief here are, I believe, seven of the unnerving weaknesses of candidate Clinton.

First, there are huge contributions to Clinton through superPACs from undisclosed donors, and also the payoff-like “fees” big banks and corporations free-handed Clinton, and she accepted, for giving them speeches. That latter was money for her personally, for her own self. For example, within a year she received $225,000 from Goldman Sachs for each one of three speeches. Despite repeated demands from Sanders, as well as in a New York Times editorial, she has so far flatly refused to make the transcripts of those speeches public, keeping secret what she said to the super-bank (at “$200,000 an hour,” Sanders estimated).

In a January 16th debate Sanders said, “I don’t take money from the big banks. I don’t take personal speaking fees for Goldman Sachs.” In Austin he said to 10,000 people that Clinton has a superPAC, as he does not, that is giving her millions of dollars from drug companies, fossil fuel industries, and the like, with the donors kept secret.

Every candidate says “But they won’t influence me,” Sanders said, adding: “Very simple. Why are they giving me several million dollars?” In a February 11th debate, Clinton accused him of smearing her on the topic. “A low blow,” he replied. “People aren’t dumb. Why in God’s name does Wall Street make large campaign contributions? I guess for the fun of it. They just want to throw money around.” In a debate April 14th he said while alongside her, “I don’t think you’re going to stand up to the big money interests when you take their money.”

Second is the fact that in 1993 President Clinton, and Ms. Clinton as his official and leading representative, killed national health insurance in favor of a plan preserving private medicine that was DOA in Congress. In this election contest, she actively and vividly opposes single-payer national health insurance, which Sanders advocates, despite maintaining in her mailings, for example, that she champions “universal health care for every man, woman, and child.”

Third, in 1996 President Clinton, with his wife’s approval, signed into law the “end-welfare-as-we-know-it” law which, after 60 years, abolished the New Deal’s fundamental “Aid to Families with Dependent Children” (AFDC) welfare program, turned the welfare program for the poor over to the states, and set new time limits on such aid. In consequence, millions of the poorest Americans have become substantially poorer.

Clinton, fourth, has said she will, if elected, put her husband in charge of the economy, although it was he who in 1999 and 2000 signed laws, including one repealing the New Deal law prohibiting banks from speculating with depositors’ money and others which legalized related banking excesses, that are generally conceded to have been substantial causes of the Great Recession which cost millions of Americans their jobs and homes.

Clinton, fifth, now bears with her the devastating report of the Department of State Inspector General saying she did not ask that agency’s OK, and if she had would have been told no, when she arrogated federal security rules to herself and, from 2009 to 2013 as Secretary of State, used her personal email server in her home for her official and personal business; had refused, along with some of her uppermost staffers, to be interviewed on this by the Inspector General; did not comply with the Department’s policies as she said she had; and did not for two years after leaving State turn her State records over to the Department until she was asked for them and destroyed 30,000 of those emails beforehand which, she said, her lawyers chose as being not official, but personal emails. She and top staffers appear to have interviews ahead of them by the FBI, in a criminal investigation, and by an NGO that in its publications is verbally violent toward her, Judicial Watch. “What If Clinton Gets Indicted?” asks the headline over one of Karl Rove’s columns in the Wall Street Journal.

Sixth, Bill Clinton was receiving huge speaking fees and the Clinton family foundation was receiving many large contributions while Ms. Clinton was Secretary of State. One related complex set of events entailing Kremlin-allied groups was followed by one of those Kremlin-related actors obtaining title to substantial U.S. uranium ores. Presumably Trump, already repeatedly calling Clinton “Crooked Hillary,” has loaded up with “oppo research” in this area.

Seventh, Trump’s speeches are characterized by strong populist themes, for instance, against trade agreements that hurt U.S. workers, against President George W. Bush’s Iraq war, and for his promises to provide more jobs and pay raises for workers. As John Nichols writes in The Nation, Trump could take Democratic votes from Clinton, as happened with Reagan. About half of AFL-CIO members are Democrats, a third Republicans, and the rest are independent.

Sanders’ historical standing as a cultural and political groundbreaker is self-evident. As Clinton has pointed out, he has been the target of almost no negative ads to date. He too, as the nominee, would face all-out oppo research, and perhaps an attempted revival of McCarthyism against him as a Scandinavian-type democratic socialist. Present polling patterns do not and cannot foresee our future that now quails in our imaginations.

Here we all are at this point in the “extremely extraordinary” presidential election of 2016, and down the American road five months from now we all will account to ourselves and others for the thinking we did, the decisions we reached, and the actions we took now, when we could.

Ronnie Dugger, winner of the George Polk career award in journalism in 2012, founded the Texas Observer and has written biographies of Presidents Johnson and Reagan, books on Hiroshima and universities, and many articles in The New Yorker, The Nation, Atlantic, Harper’s, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and other periodicals. He has been a Sanders supporter since this presidential campaign began.

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