Saturday, January 23, 2016


I fear he might be right.

Bruce Wilder 12.03.15 at 9:31 pm

Bloix: If you don’t vote for the Democrat, you’re casting half a vote for the fascist. You’re not sending a message, you’re not teaching a lesson, you’re helping to put people into power who get pleasure out of punching people like you in the face.

As far as I can tell, the Democrat in the case of Clinton as in the case of Obama is, also, “the fascist”, that is to say, an authoritarian who will represent the interests of powerful business corporations and the superwealthy pretty much exclusively. Obama got in with large majorities for his Party in Congress and continued the policies of the Bush Administration in regard to the financial and economic crisis, the surveillance state, foreign policy, Iraq and Afghanistan. He couldn’t find anyone to prosecute in the largest financial crisis in 70 years or in a lawless surveillance state guilty of torture and other war crimes, . . . except whistleblowers.

I could go on and on, and I’m sure you would have all kinds of nonsensical, pre-programmed replies. And, that’s by design — not my design or your design, but it’s a design, and it is tied to being convinced that whatever else, you absolutely, positively have to vote for the Democrat or the sky will fall.

You say, this is the political minimum: whatever else you think or do, you have to vote for the Democrat. And, I say that, if you do that reflexively — commit yourself to voting for the Democrat without critical reflection, without discretion — you have pretty much excluded or neutered everything else. Psychologically, cognitive dissonance means that your partisanship will distort your views. And, in game theory terms, your candidate owns you.

I readily admit that my position has little enough to recommend it. I have no political power. I cannot create a viable political strategy. I am a follower, a numerically insignificant voter. All I can do is make myself available for a better politics, by keeping my critical awareness unclouded by a futile, manipulated partisanship. I can step out of the herd, when I see it headed for what I regard as the wrong pen. It is depressing to realize that democracy has been eclipsed by a bought-and-paid-for, made-for-the-internet-and-tv politics of spokesmodel politicians spouting focus-grouped slogans with the aim of stampeding cattle and sheep, who aren’t paying much attention and wandering aimlessly on their own, but that’s the truth.

I can have the sad truth or the angry, desperate illusion; I choose the sad truth, and with it, awareness of my own powerlessness in this destructive, degenerative era. I don’t even get to feel superior — it’s a raw deal even by the low standards of narcissistic news junkie spectator sport politics.

I voted for Obama in 2008, was disappointed in the policy results (and in the partisan leadership as well — the 2010 midterms were catastrophic for the Democrats and Obama’s leadership played an important part, if you are interested at all in the Inside Baseball of politics), and (living in a solidly blue state admittedly) voted for the Green (who seemed like a pretty intelligent, reasoned, sincerely caring person not incidentally) in 2012.

I would argue that my move was the potentially powerful one for a highly dissatisfied leftish voter in my circumstances; a couple of million could have done that, and Obama would still carry the State, but a signal of dissent from the Left and of political potential would have been sent. Voting for the Neoliberal-in-Chief, at the margin, was a declaration of powerlessness that I didn’t make, but 98+% of arguably Democratic-leaning voters making it to the polls in California followed your sage advice. And, what did it get them? They put the fascist back in, without registering any note of dissatisfaction with his conduct. If you really are satisfied with Obama, that’s your right, I suppose, but you don’t get to insist that I have to act as if I am satisfied by the same abysmally low standards you are.

I guess some people thought 2012 was a knife-edge election, and it was “close” but, according to analyst-observers like Nate Silver, never really much in doubt despite the apparently small popular vote margin. Romney was a gaffe-prone candidate unpopular within his own Party; a tax-dodging, vampire capitalist from a cult religion, he had readily exploited vulnerabilities, which the Obama campaign very skillfully manipulated with professionally admirable precision to produce a minimal margin of victory. Why did he want a minimal margin? To protect his ability to continue to deliver on his neoliberal agenda for his backers in the finance sector and among the wealthy, I think, he preferred not to make any but the absolutely most minimal populist appeals.

I fully expect 2016, Clinton v [Republican Clown], will be a repeat of 2012. Clinton is a clumsier, more graceless candidate than Obama, and this scam has been run many times already. Being a Clinton, from the 1990s, may well mean that her political stance will be read by the Media, or even played by her, as Third Way triangulation rather than as Obama’s neoliberal shell game redux.

Against a Republican Clown, nominated for his (it will be a “he” — of that we can be certain, I think) unelectability, Clinton can try to win any campaign contest by calibrated populism squarely aimed at the Republican’s vulnerabilities (his corruption, for example, or his tender concern for billionaires), but unlike Obama and unlike the Big Dog, Mrs. Clinton is not a perfect conduit for populist appeals, positive or negative. Her arrogance shows.

The Democratic Party will be transformed by the 2016 election and Clinton’s candidacy. The Democratic Party has been resisting a generational transition, despite the youthful Obama’s advent, and Clinton and Bernie remind us of that. The Dems will have new leaders at the top in Congress in 2017, after what has been a long delay. Populism has been so thoroughly deprecated during Obama’s years, it won’t be available as a credible option after Clinton, it won’t make sense anymore as part of the default Democratic Party identity. She is truly the last of the breed, as the OP put it, but that attaches to the whole of the Democratic Party identity as a party of the People, which Obama has been cashing out in retail sales thru his whole Administration. It is a statement about the Party, I suspect, as well as the candidate.

Clinton will almost certainly be a one-term President left holding the bag in whatever crises are visited upon the country, and the Democratic Party, excluded from the Congress and most of the State governorships, as well as those parts of conservative Democratic Administrations like Defense and the Surveillance State apparatus, commonly reserved to Republicans, may well wither and die. All because Bloix insisted that job 1 was voting for the Democratic Presidential candidate.

The sky will fall, after a brief pause, while we hear a message from the sponsors.

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