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Pillory Hillary Now

Hillary Clinton is not a lesser, but good enough, Bernie Sanders, even allowing for his many faults.

She is a Wall Street flunky and a liberal imperialist with pronounced neocon predilections, who is shamelessly obeisant to all the usual suspects – from the fracking lobby to AIPAC.

And because of her belief in “American exceptionalism” and therefore in the rectitude of American world domination, and because she is inclined to seek military “solutions” to the problems that the empire brings upon itself, she is a very dangerous woman.

If the election were held now, as the pollsters say, I would vote for Jill Stein. No doubt, many others would too. But this will be a protest vote. Stein won’t win, and it is not even clear how helpful voting for her will be in making the Green Party a factor in American politics at some future time.

Most likely, it won’t be helpful at all, because, in the end, many Stein supporters, fearing Trumpian “fascism,” will cave in at the end.  This is what many potential Nader voters did in 2000, and there is no reason to think that fear won’t triumph again.

The fact is, though, that Trump will not be sending Hillary and Bill, his once and future friends, packing.   This is probably a good thing, though not nearly to the extent that most liberals assume.

There is no point in engaging the who-really-is-the-lesser-evil question now – not because the answer is obvious, it isn’t, but because, unless the gods intervene, Trump doesn’t stand a chance.

Unfortunately, most people don’t yet see how obvious this is. After the election is over, everyone will.

Unlike Stein or Trump, Bernie Sanders did stand a chance of stopping the Clinton juggernaut. It was never much of a chance, however — because the Democratic Party was against him and because the system is rigged.

This too was obvious from Day One. Now, thanks to Wikileaks, the evidence is so incontrovertible that we will soon be seeing the back of Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She is small potatoes in the larger scheme of things, but this is excellent news nevertheless.

Had Sanders gone for the jugular, the way that Trump is doing, he might have prevailed even so, just as Trump prevailed over the establishment in the GOP.

All he would have had to do is make an issue of the bribes and gratuities Hillary accepted – in polite society, they are called “speakers’ fees” — and of the Clinton Foundation’s borderline (or not so borderline) corrupt dealings with foreign governments, too big to break up banks, and nefarious international corporations.

Better still, he could have focused on the damage– to world order and geopolitical stability, and to actual men, women and children – brought on by Hillary’s cluelessness and incompetence as Secretary of State.

Instead Sanders took the gentlemanly route.

Perhaps someday we will know why. What we know now is that, for this, even more than for his eventual capitulation, he deserves condemnation. He did a lot of good, of course, but whether, in the end, the good outweighs the bad is unclear. It is likely to remain so for some time to come.

And so there is now a full-fledged Clinton Restoration in our future. Perhaps it was too much to hope that America’s two most dreadful political families, the Bushes and the Clintons, would both go down in the same election cycle.

The Clintons will go down, though, sooner than any of the talking heads at MSNBC (=MSDNC) or their counterparts at NPR and other mind numbing, Clinton-friendly manufacturers and conveyers of conventional wisdom imagine.

In a year or two, when the consequences of Hillary’s “humanitarian” interventions and her provocations of Russia and China become apparent even to the willfully blind, the liberals now jumping on the Clinton bandwagon will finally catch on.

There is a precedent for this: in 1964, Lyndon Johnson saved the world from Barry Goldwater, the Donald Trump of his day (and also the object of Hillary Rodham’s first political infatuation). Two years later, after revving up the war John Kennedy had going in Vietnam, he was so hated that he could hardly set foot outside the White House.

Johnson at least had the good sense not to put nuclear powers in his crosshairs. Neocon Hillary is another story; she and those who think like her have it in for Russia and China. This makes the stakes a lot higher.

It is also relevant that LBJ accomplished great things in his days in the White House; he had many redeeming features. Apart from her lady parts, Hillary has none.

Johnson, the initiator of the War on Poverty and other Great Society programs was, in effect, our last New Deal President. He also did more for civil rights – and therefore for black and brown Americans — than any President before or since. This would include Barack Obama, who has done absolutely nothing beyond being there.

On the other hand, Hillary’s mission, like her husband’s, has always been, and still is, to dismantle the New Deal and Great Society.

Unlike Johnson, Hillary and Bill are highly regarded in “communities of color” because they are good at playing the identity politics game; they do it by making nice with black and brown notables, and by convincing the rank-and-file that they care, that they “feel their pain.” Meanwhile, they champion policies that harm nearly everyone, black and brown workers most of all.

There is a strain of thought that holds that, awful as Hillary is, now is not the time to go after her—because everyone should unite to defeat Donald Trump. The premise behind that argument is, of course, that Trump stands a chance.

On the face of it, this is preposterous. Trump is no “populist” Leader. He is an over-the-top billionaire narcissist who uses political connections to make money (for himself and few others) from sleazy real estate operations in New York and elsewhere. He is also a reality TV star.

To be sure, he does have a knack for revealing the corruptions of the system in ways that other politicians would never dare, and he does appeal, better than Hillary or other Clinton Democrats, to workers’ concerns.   But, in the end, his candidacy depends on conjuring up fears in the addled minds of over-the-hill white men and the women who stand by them.

You can’t win a general election in the United States these days by bad mouthing everybody else; demography is destiny.

Of course, a major irruption of Islamophobia, brought on by jihadi violence in the “homeland,” could enhance the Donald’s prospects. But jihadi terrorism is already yielding diminishing returns; the public is becoming inured. It is hard to see how even an exceptionally outrageous October Surprise could change public perceptions significantly enough to give Trump’s candidacy a good enough boost to change the calculation.

Then there is the enthusiasm problem.

It is not impossible that, by turning people off, Hillary will defeat herself.

But with the untrammeled support of corporate media and all the resources the Democratic Party can muster, this is very unlikely.

It is barely possible, though; even just as a candidate, Hillary is that bad.

No one really likes Hillary except perhaps a few women of a certain age, and deluded voters who swallow the “pragmatic” progressive nonsense her campaign puts out. Her election depends, not entirely but mainly, on lesser evil voters.

And yet, for a running mate, she chose Tim Kaine! Take that, Bernie voters! If she didn’t have the liberal press in her pocket, the headline would be: “Hillary to Everyone Who Thinks She is the Lesser Evil, Drop Dead.”

Trump surely holds evangelicals and Ted Cruz libertarians in as much contempt as the Clintons hold everyone to their left, which is to say everyone who has a progressive bone in his or her body.

But he at least had the decency to give his chumps Mike Pence, a true blue defender of God and “free market” capitalism.

Hillary gave hers someone even more dedicated than she to making the world safe for Wall Street and for America’s perpetual war regime. Evidently, her contempt for her chumps is even greater than Trump’s is for his.

But this too will become evident to most of her current supporters only in retrospect.

In any case, there is almost no chance that an “enthusiasm gap” will make Trump anything more than a theoretical rival to the Queen of Chaos.

There is therefore no plausible reason for anyone who is not utterly risk averse to wait for November. With so much death and destruction in the balance, there is no time to waste. Pillory Hillary now!

And if Sanders and other “progressive” Democrats won’t get out of the way, much less lend a hand, then they too are part of the problem, and also deserve public shaming, pillorying, not in some remote future, but now.

Anyone who was alive at the time will remember the chant: “hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” Before long, if she stays true to form, expect Hillary, the vaunted defender of children and women everywhere, to be asked that very question.

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ANDREW LEVINE is the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What’s Wrong With the Opium of the People. He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park.  He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

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