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Naked Cynicism—Can I Be Bribed to Vote for a Phony, Hedge-Fund Loving Warmonger?

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“They don’t care about you at all . . . at all . . . AT ALL.” — George Carlin

Back in 2000, when the evangelical, chicken hawk, smirking frat boy—another rich kid, spoiled brat—grabbed the presidency, the Democrats blamed (and never forgave) Ralph Nader and the Green Party. If Trump wins, a similar scapegoating will not work, not if we remember the unequivocal realities of the polls.

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party establishment, and now heavy-hitter progressives—including Elizabeth Warren, Robert Reich, and Bernie Sanders himself—are begging those of us repulsed by Donald Trump but cynical of Hillary Clinton, “Please. Fear Trump so much that you can transcend your contempt for Hillary Clinton and vote for her.”

Those of us repulsed and distrustful of both Trump and Clinton are in the overwhelming majority. Both Trump and Clinton have historic unfavorable ratings, with Trump’s July 2016 unfavorable polls average at 57% (favorable at 36%) and Clinton’s July 2016 unfavorable polls average at 56% (favorable at 38%).

Bill Cosby is one of the few Americans (at 62% unfavorable) more disliked than the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates in our so-called “democracy,” which is actually a reality show that humiliates the audience by forcing us, as Julian Assange put it, to choose between cholera or gonorrhea.

We are now being scolded to sacrifice our “selfish integrity” and vote for Hillary Clinton because it is paramount that the dangerous Trump be defeated. We are told to sacrifice by Clinton and the Democratic Party establishment, who themselves have sacrificed nothing for the defeat of Trump, and have instead shown a willingness to risk a Trump presidency.

Let us not forget that if Bernie Sanders was the nominee of the Democratic Party, then Democrats would not be sweating this election. Every poll this year has shown Bernie Sanders having far greater strength than Hillary Clinton against Trump. By May 2016, the Real Clear Politics (RCP) poll averages showed Sanders leading Trump by 11.2%, more than three times Clinton’s 3.3% lead over Trump. Sanders was also doing much better than Clinton against Trump in key battleground states: in Ohio, Sanders was beating Trump by +2% while Clinton was losing to Trump by -6%; and in New Hampshire, Sanders was beating Trump by +16% while Clinton was beating Trump by only +2%. In contrast to Clinton, Sanders was viewed more favorably than unfavorably by voters, with 41% favorable and 33% unfavorable.

If the defeat of Trump is paramount for the Democratic Party, why has it not been on the table for Hillary Clinton to quit the race to ensure Trump’s defeat? Obviously, the defeat of Trump was never paramount for Clinton. What is paramount for her is her own ambition to be president.

Trump’s defeat is obviously not paramount for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), or they would not have made such great efforts to rig the game against Sanders, when they knew full well that in this 2016 “anti-establishment” year, polls clearly showed that it would be far easier for Sanders to beat Trump.

So, if the defeat of Trump has never been paramount for Clinton and the Democratic establishment, what should that tell the rest of us? Can anyone trust that Clinton will really reverse her historic support of wars and Wall Street and actually take seriously her new Sanders-goaded progressive agenda? Why should we not believe that she is now simply “playing” Sanders and his supporters? Why should we not believe that if she wins, she will fail to deliver and tell us that she was thwarted by the evil Republicans?

It is not possible for Hillary Clinton, given her record, to convince me to trust her. However, as money appears to be the only thing that matters in American politics, Clinton can buy my vote.

About the only thing that Hillary Clinton has shown consistency in besides her ambition to be president is her capacity to raise money from fat cats. Clinton raised over $ 370 million for her campaign as of July 21, 2016, and is expected to ultimately raise $1 billion. Trump, even with his own money, is likely to raise less than one-third of that.

So, here’s my deal for Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and the entire Democratic Party establishment: Immediately create the “Student-Loan Debtor Foundation,” and by Election Day, raise $10 billion for it from your hedge fund buddies and other fat cats, so as to start cleaning up the $1.3 trillion student-loan debt mess.

More than 43 million Americans have student-loan debt, many with monthly payments that are so crippling that I am ashamed to be part of a Baby Boomer generation that allowed this to happen. So, Democratic Party, prior to Election Day—because I don’t trust you will keep your commitment afterward—start getting those checks in the mail to the most desperate student-loan debtors. That’s the bribe I need—and of course will never get—in order to vote for a phony, hedge-fund whore warmonger.

Sound cynical? You got that right. My integrity tells me to vote for Jill Stein and the Green Party. My cynicism tells me not to vote at all, as there is no place for integrity in the American political process, which is completely corrupted.

How can we not be cynical of this entire grotesque TV reality show called the U.S. Presidential Election? A shit show where Trump is banking on an establishment-hating and entertainment-starved audience not to vote him off the stage because they are mesmerized by his politically hyper-incorrect statements and creepy assertions (e.g., “If Ivanka wasn’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her”). And Clinton, like any desperate contestant from the Survivor reality show, is obviously willing to say or do anything to win, which means doing anything to raise money; as winning in this U.S. Presidential Election game, history shows, means simply raising the most money.

So, if many of us in the “George Carlin Cynical Party” don’t bother voting, or some of us believe that citizenship demands voting with integrity and thus a vote for Jill Stein, and if Clinton loses to Trump, let’s remember that it was Clinton and the DNC that caused Trump to win, as it is they who prevented a Bernie Sanders nomination and a no-sweat victory over Trump.

Bruce E. Levine,  a practicing clinical psychologist, writes and speaks about how society, culture, politics and psychology intersect.  He is the author of Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2011). His website is www.brucelevine.net

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