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The Hillary Push: Manipulation You Can Believe In

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It’s underway: the non-stop, 100% focus on the disgusting misogynistic acts of Donald Trump, to the total exclusion of all other issues. U.S.-supported Saudi attacks in Yemen kill hundreds of civilians, including children. New studies show that all-out climate disaster is even closer than we feared. Poverty holds millions of people in its grip. But none of this is even mentioned. And with the election less than a month away, there is virtually no discussion of Hillary Clinton’s despicable record and positions.

The One Percent interests that long for Hillary to be President are doubtlessly thrilled with how things are going. It’s not just that vital issues are being ignored. It’s also that the screws are being tightened on anyone who would consider not voting for Hillary. The wealthy beneficiaries of business-as-usual must be enjoying the spectacle of “progressives” attacking anyone straying from the One Percent script. A friend of mine was called “idiotic” the other day when she mentioned possibly voting for a third party candidate, for example.   I personally was labeled “puerile” for pointing out that submission to the manipulation that surrounds us only makes things worse.

I had explained that it’s not just that a vacuum on the left creates an opening for right-wing narcissists like Trump. It’s also that the Democratic Party proactively promotes the rise of such Neanderthals to head the Republican ticket. A leaked DNC memo lists Donald Trump as someone Democrats should “elevate”. It suggests encouraging the press to cover Trump and others like him.   The DNC understands that the best way to scare people into voting for someone they dislike is to get the other mainstream party to run someone even worse. And if this strategy unleashes malevolent forces on society, well that’s just collateral damage.

We’re told to ignore that leaked memo. We’re also told to pay no attention to how the DNC undermined Bernie Sanders, a candidate who was much more capable of defeating Trump according to polls than Hillary. And we’re supposed to reject third party candidates as not viable without thinking about the role played by the Democratic and Republican Parties in undercutting their viability. The Presidential debate “Commission” controlled by the two corporate parties kept third party candidates out of the debates, for instance.

The lies, confusion and hypocrisy are in full swing. Take Hillary Clinton’s environmental record and positions, for example. They’re abysmal, yet big environmental groups have endorsed her and they pretend she’s an environmental leader. We need to mobilize immediately to reverse global warming, but Hillary Clinton is the queen of fracking, having actively promoted it around the world as Secretary of State. She’s committed to the delusional “all of the above” energy strategy and has identified repairing and replacing oil and gas infrastructure as a top priority. She’s a promoter of natural gas “as a bridge” to renewables, an approach which has been debunked as utter nonsense. Just as Barack Obama’s expansion of fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure locked us into fossil fuels and undercut renewables, so will Hillary’s. And she has appointed oil industry darling Ken Salazar as her transition chief, giving him a lead role in filling her cabinet.

Hillary promises to continue Obama’s “leadership” on other environmental issues as well, even though it’s been leadership in the wrong direction. Under Obama, the White House has derailed and weakened more environmental regulations than under George W. Bush. The EPA has approved GMOs, pollinator-threatening pesticides, and all sorts of other nasty chemicals. Obama has championed corporate-drafted, environmentally-destructive “trade” agreements that extend and enshrine the worst elements of NAFTA and other existing agreements.

These and other actions have made Obama one of the most aggressively anti-environmental Presidents ever and Hillary Clinton will continue on that path. Meanwhile environmental groups pretend that the Democrats are our environmental saviors and we’re all supposed to smile and clap obediently.

These same dynamics play out on other vital issues. If you want more wars, Hillary’s a great choice for you. If you want to ensure that the insurance industry boondoggle known as the Affordable Care Act will never be replaced by actual health care via a universal single payer system, you can count on Hillary. And if the destruction of basic rights like due process and privacy is your cup of tea, under Hillary there will be plenty to go around. These are just examples of the unacceptable Obama legacy that Hillary has pledged to continue.

But no, it’s “puerile” to even consider not voting for Hillary Clinton and the One Percent-serving, war-mongering, environmentally-destructive, rights-destroying, mass incarcerating, immigrant-deporting Democratic Party. According to voices coming at us from every direction, only women-haters and fools would refuse to bow their heads and vote for Clinton since her opponent is so appalling.

But here’s the truth. For decades, in poll after poll, disgust with corporate control over our democracy has been nearly universal. Far more people now identify as Independent than Democrat or Republican. Sixty-nine percent of 18 to 29 year olds and 50 percent of 30 to 49 year olds in the U.S. would now vote for a socialist. We are actually very close to being able to build the movement for economic and political democracy that we need, including but not limited to a political party of the 99%. That’s why we’re being subjected to the charade that characterizes this election season. Only through intense manipulation, and only by pitting an outrageous bigot against a right wing militaristic corporate hack like Hillary Clinton, can those who have been pushing humanity towards the brink of disaster maintain control.

Those who are being maligned for refusing to vote for the candidates of either Wall Street party should take hope. Change is coming. The forces committed to maintaining the 1%-serving status quo can only win by manipulation and coercion. And only if we let them. If ever there was a time to organize rather than mourn, this is it.

Carol Dansereau is a long-time environmental attorney and organizer, and the author of What It Will Take. Rejecting Dead-ends and False Friends in the Fight for the Earth.  

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