Two years ago authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes wrote in their book Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign that within 24 hours of her 2016 electoral loss, Hillary Clinton’s senior campaign staff decided to blame the loss on Russian interference. Given the apparent source of the charge in opposition research funded by the Clinton campaign, the move seemed both desperate and pathetic— a thread for Clinton’s true believers to hang onto, an effort to keep campaign contributions rolling in and a ploy to cleave liberals from the left through red-baiting.
For perspective, from the time leading up to the 2016 election through today, I chose to live amongst poor and working-class people of color, with occasional forays into the rural working and middle classes and the urban bourgeois. What became apparent early on is that the audience for the Russian interference story was the urban and suburban bourgeois who had seen their lots by-and-large restored by Barack Obama’s bank bailouts and who had no knowledge of, or interaction with, the 90% of the country that is living, by degree, hand-to-mouth.
What this implies is that the received wisdom amongst bourgeois Democrats— the bosses, bank managers, academics, realtors and administrative class, looks to be what it is: a combination of class loathing that their ‘lessors’ didn’t perceive the munificent blessing of their electoral choice; mass delusion on the part of self-styled ‘high-information voters’ about who really controls American ‘democracy;’ and studied ignorance of the consequences of the last half-century of bi-partisan neoliberal governance.
As I wrote in early 2018:
“Prior to the 2016 presidential election, if one were to ask what single act could seal a new Cold War with Russia, align liberals and progressives with the operational core of the American military-industrial-surveillance complex, expose the preponderance of left-activism as an offshoot of Democratic Party operations and consign most of what remained to personal invective against an empirically dangerous leader, consensus would likely have it that doing so wouldn’t be easy.”
The Clinton campaign’s decision to blame her electoral loss on Russian interference demonstrates why she was, and still is, unqualified to hold elected office. In the first, the U.S. – Russian rivalry is backed-up by hair-trigger nuclear arsenals that could end the world in a matter of minutes. Inciting tensions based on self-serving lies is stunningly reckless. In the second, the claim demonstrates utter contempt for her most loyal followers by feeding them purposely misleading explanations of the loss. And most damagingly for political opponents of Donald Trump, these actions give credence to the insurgent status of his retro-Republicanism against liberal and left defenders of the political establishment.
Most damaging to the burgeoning left in the U.S. is the deeply ugly character assassination of poor and working-class voters carried out by the urban bourgeois, many from the self-described radical left. People I know and like, but with whom I disagree politically but am working hard to convert, have spent the last three years being derided as traitorous, marginally literate hicks too stupid to know they are pawns of the Kremlin. The irony, if you care to call it that, is that they knew the Russian interference story was cynical bullshit all along while the graduate degree crowd was following every twist and turn as if it were true knowledge.
The Democratic Party ‘leadership’ that pursued this story is as stupid as it is corrupt. The purpose of Russia-gate was apparently to keep the Party faithful, faithful. But as was demonstrated in 2016, the faithful alone can’t win an election. This leadership turned what could have been an effective ‘give ‘em enough rope’ strategy against arrogant jackass Trump back on itself. The establishment-left had been in the process of giving self-described socialists someone to vote for in 2020. Too-clever-by-half liberal twaddle about ‘post-truth’ now has liberals— universally conflated with the left, perceived as both idiots and liars. And rightly so.
Democrats who spent the last three years making less than plausible (and politically retrograde) accusations against Mr. Trump likely still don’t understand their current position. Their call for an exhaustive investigation carried out by people they trust was honored. While the investigation was underway, the mainstream press put one ludicrous fantasy after another forward as news. This while a host of real issues affecting real people’s lives were studiously ignored. As incredulous as I am that it could be done, liberal Democrats have made corrupt oligarch Trump appear to be righteously aggrieved. Who says these people have no talent?
The New York Times and Washington Post have been publishing politically motivated ‘fake news’ in support of establishment interests since their inceptions. Their service to powerful interests is why they are still around. The FBI, CIA and NSA have been putting out politically motivated bullshit since their respective inceptions. They exist to serve the rich and powerful against all comers. To claim these as bastions of integrity was always a tough sell. To continue to claim it is the stuff from which revolutions are made. In this case, right-wing revolutions.
While the urban bourgeois have long been dismissive of the ‘burn it down’ contingent of Trump voters, they seem incapable of seeing their own roles as defenders of the establishment as corrupt and ultimately, politically suicidal. I voted for a woman for president and a black man for vice president in 2016. But they weren’t Democrats. Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election because she is a corrupt, neoliberal, militaristic piece of shit. Ironically, or not, most of Trump voters I’ve spoken with know more about the Democrats’ actual record than the highly educated urban bourgeois pontificating on NPR or in the New York Times.
A quick bet is that the 2020 presidential election is now Donald Trump’s to lose. Lying sacks of shit like James Clapper and John Brennan will tie their lots to whomever will fund their adventures in mal-governance as the world burns and species become extinct. The tragedy here is that there are real issues in need of resolution. The Democrats’ three-year adventure in red-baiting served to legitimate a financial-military-industrial complex that apparently intends to end the planet as it makes as many people miserable in the process as is possible. Congratulations assholes.