The DNC Versus Democracy

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

With Bernie Sanders the people’s choice for winner of the Democratic primary in terms of political organizing and campaign contributions, the powers-that-be in the DNC are putting out a call for establishment figures like Hillary Clinton or Michael Bloomberg to join the race. Not being ‘reported’ by the establishment press is that these same kingmakers 1) weighted the Democrat’s choice against Mr. Sander’s and towards Ms. Clinton in 2016 and lost and 2) chose Joe Biden as their ‘heavyweight’ candidate for 2020.

The idea, popular on the American left, that winning against Donald Trump is all that matters, runs up against the fact that these DNC kingmakers have a less than stellar track record when it comes to winning elections. Not only is Ms. Clinton one of the most enthusiastically despised people on the planet— more so than Donald Trump even after his impeachment was announced, but Michael Bloomberg was a Republican for the entirety of the wildly misguided American war against Iraq. Why isn’t he running as a Republican?

The rationale for the reappearance of the ‘grownups’ from the DNC appears to be that Joe Biden’s political prospects are sinking faster than Bill Clinton’s libido in the presence of women over the age of consent. That Mr. Biden’s failure comes as a surprise to DNC insiders illustrates the political ineptitude mentioned above. In fact, this practice of perpetually failing upward— of being wrong about absolutely everything while maintaining leadership positions in quasi-public institutions like the DNC, suggests that winning elections isn’t the objective.

According to the political campaign funding website, Bernie Sanders is second only to Donald Trump in terms of campaign contributions raised toward his 2020 presidential campaign. And given the source of Mr. Sanders’ contributions— small donors, a.k.a. ’the people,’ he is quite conspicuously the people’s choice for President amongst Democrats. This leaves the rich, business executives and their bourgeois aspirants— the richer 10% of the country, with a choice of Mr. Trump or the Democratic Party equivalent.

The question of where Elizabeth Warren is in all this gets to the issue of motives. Ms. Warren is both brighter and more competent in a performative sense than Joe Biden. And she signaled early on that she will drop her entire political program if doing so gets her the nod from donors and DNC insiders. This willingness to ‘compromise’ sets her apart from Mr. Sanders. The question ‘can she win,’ the seeming pragmatic question of the day, is proved a farce through the first insider choice of Joe Biden, and then with the call for more ‘heavyweight’ losers.

At this point, Russiagate, Ukraine-gate and impeachment have been given a nice wrapper. With the failure of Russiagate, Donald Trump set his Attorney General, William Barr, to the task of investigating the investigators behind that scheme. Former CIA Director John Brennan, who ties the Obama administration’s coup in Ukraine to the Russiagate investigation, is reportedly a target. Passions from establishment Democrats and the American left notwithstanding, having the CIA decide electoral outcomes isn’t universally considered a good idea.

At any rate, Mr. Barr’s investigation sheds a different light on the fact that the chief witness (‘whistleblower’) in the current impeachment investigation is an active CIA employee. This isn’t to assert that the witness either is or isn’t credible or whether Donald Trump did or didn’t commit impeachable offenses. John Brennan and the CIA are up to their eyeballs in circumstances where if the law really is applicable to connected insiders— the legal principle being applied to Donald Trump through impeachment, there is legal jeopardy all around.

Behind the machinations of this court intrigue lies the fact that Bernie Sanders is the people’s choice for president for a reason. The neoliberal revolution that began in the 1970s not only hasn’t benefited most people economically, it has led to falling life expectancies due to suicide— both directly and through drink and drugs. The political establishment’s failure to respond, or even acknowledge that there is a problem, is reflected in the class divide between business and oligarch campaign contributions to the 2020 establishment candidates and small donor support for Mr. Sanders.

Graph: the class divide between support for Bernie Sanders and the establishment Democratic candidates couldn’t be starker. Mr. Sanders has support from the American working class—from the people who work with their hands and who make things, and from the people who make our meals and take care of us when we are sick and / or infirm. Professional-class Democrats, the bourgeois who led ‘the Resistance,’ and for whom impeachment is the most pressing political issue, as a group support the establishment candidates. Source: ActBlue via David Waldron via Lambert Strether.

The same poll results that show Joe Biden in the lead in the Democratic primary also show support for the impeachment of Donald Trump. Here, the political question isn’t so much whether or not Mr. Trump deserves to be impeached. If the American people had a say, it would most likely be that the entire inside-the-beltway political class get ass cancer and die in the very near future. The DNC insiders obviously don’t buy these poll results, or they would be standing by Joe Biden. They aren’t.

The class divide in evidence raises fundamental questions for the American left that has spent its political energy ‘resisting’ Donald Trump. In class terms, ‘resistance’ has been a bourgeois pursuit. The DNC insiders now intent on replacing Bernie Sanders with a Clintonite neoliberal hack as winner of the Democratic primary absolutely support ‘resisting’ Mr. Trump and impeachment. What they don’t support is Medicare for All, a real and robust Green New Deal, a Job Guarantee or progressive taxation. If they did, they would be supporting Mr. Sanders.

How precisely destructive the Democrat / left / CIA / NSA / FBI / and establishment press alliance has been— and still is, since Donald Trump won office seems to be a mystery to the American left. George W. Bush’s war against Iraq was a political turning point against the national security state by the working class that fights and dies in American wars. Through their embrace of neoliberalism, Democrats destroyed the livelihoods and economic prospects of the working class, and thereby made themselves class enemies of their historical constituents.

The absolute loathing of this working class exhibited by the American left because Mr. Trump was elected president, including truly and deeply hateful assertions that people in the process of killing themselves from despair should hurry up and do so, allies it with the most reactionary forces of what used to be called the radical right. Bernie Sanders is leading the rise of an actual working-class dominated movement of an actual political left, and the establishment left is quite predictably stepping in to crush it.

The idea that John Brennan, James Clapper and the DNC are friends of the left is richly delusional. Whereas former FBI Director Robert Mueller failed to find actionable evidence that Donald Trump and / or members of his campaign staff or cabinet conspired with the Russian state to interfere in the 2016 election on Mr. Trump’s behalf, the story of Ukrainian officials placed in power by Clintonites in the Obama administration interfering in the election on behalf of Hillary Clinton, and at the apparent behest of the DNC, is the backstory to current impeachment charges.

To be clear, I couldn’t care less what happens to Donald Trump, or any of the other players in this sordid tale. But that doesn’t raise the standing of John Brennan, James Clapper or the Clinton Democrats one iota. The (very) odd circumstance has been created where the most enthusiastic partisans in American politics are the people who know the least about the actions of those they claim to support. Perhaps this is as it always has been. But with an actual left candidate facilitating the rise of an actual working class left political movement, the cost of radical ignorance has been raised.

For those who missed it, there have been a number of reasonably well researched articles detailing efforts by Ukrainian nationals with ties to the Clintons and the DNC to help Ms. Clinton’s 2016 electoral prospects by digging up dirt on Donald Trump. In fact, the Steele Dossier was funded by a law firm connected with the Clinton campaign that used an ex-government official of a foreign power (Steele) to leverage his connections with officials in the Russian government to help the Clinton campaign dig up dirt on Mr. Trump. In other words, the Clinton campaign has been credibly accused of doing what Donald Trump was investigated for with Russiagate.

Here is the New York Times describing how Bill and Hillary Clinton used Ms. Clinton’s public office to act in Vladimir Putin’s interest for the benefit of the Russian government in exchange for large donations to the Clinton Foundation. Through the Atlantic Council and the German Marshall Fund, Clinton Democrats, including leading campaign officials, tie the ‘evidence’ used to promote Russiagate to U.S. intelligence agencies. Propornot, the website that gave the Washington Post a phony list of ‘Russia-linked’ news sources, has ties to the DNC through the Atlantic Council.

Among the motives that DNC insiders might have for wanting to replace Joe Biden as the ‘heavyweight’ establishment candidate, none have to do with representing the will or the interests of the American people. Here is the DNC arguing in court that it has no obligation to provide a free or open Democratic primary. Here is the former head of the DNC admitting publicly that Hillary Clinton inked a secret deal with the DNC before the start of the last Democratic primary to give her campaign functional control of the DNC while it was stating publicly that no such agreement existed.

The theory of DNC insider fear of a 2020 loss to Donald Trump makes sense until actual history is brought to bear. 2019 represents Joe Biden’s third run for the presidency. He exited each of his two earlier efforts early and in disgrace. Again, despite insider enthusiasm in the DNC and on Wall Street, Hillary Clinton is among the most loathed human beings on the planet. I have nothing personal against Ms. Clinton and never have. I despise the Clintons for their policies, of which ‘resistance’ Democrats seem blissfully unaware.

Ms. Clinton came into her own early in Barack Obama’s first term when as Secretary of State, she supported the right wing coup in Honduras. This drew a direct line, from American imperial adventures of the 1940s and 1950s intended to replace Democratic leaders and governments in Central America with autocratic supporters of American business interests, through to the Reagan administration, and on to Mr. Obama.

The Reagan administration broke the law and a Congressional mandate to launch dirty wars in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras that led to the gratuitous slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent human beings. It also set up a global cocaine distribution ring that was managed by the CIA from the basement of the White House. This cocaine found its way into the ‘crack’ epidemic that ravaged American cities in the 1990s.

So, when Ms. Clinton and Mr. Obama gave their blessing the coup in Honduras, a well understood process of right-wing militias establishing narco-terrorist states under their control was set in motion. Rather than taking responsibility for her actions that led to creation of a murderous hellscape and the inevitable migration of child refugees fleeing to the U.S.-Mexico border, Ms. Clinton simply ordered the return of the children to Honduras to be killed or sold into bondage. While publicly proclaiming her concern for the orphans that she helped create, behind the scenes she used the U.S. Border Patrol to treat them like ‘criminal aliens,’ Bill Clinton’s term for undocumented immigrants.

While this was taking place, Ms. Clinton and her husband raised funds through the Clinton Foundation to address the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in Haiti. While providing next to no help to the displaced Haitians the funds were intended for, she and Mr. Clinton helped fund the building of a luxury hotel for Marriott Corp in Haiti. Separately, the Clinton Foundation set up a neoliberal ‘trade area’ in Haiti that provided displaced Haitians the opportunity to work sixteen hour days for pennies and hour making underwear for American and Clinton Foundation affiliated corporations.

The coup de grace came with the Obama administration’s destruction of Libya using the ruse of humanitarian intervention. Libya is a crucial conduit for the oil and gas industry. Ms. Clinton was repeatedly warned that the bombing campaign and the ouster of Muammar Ghaddafi would unleash gratuitously destructive forces there. One hundred thousand innocent human lives and the reinstitution of open-air slave markets in North Africa later, it was Ms. Clinton’s psychopathic cackle at news that Mr. Ghaddafi had been disemboweled with a Bowie knife that led many actual human beings to abandon her politically.

Mayor Mike (Bloomberg) is a New York billionaire who got rich like Donald Trump did, by being in the right place at the right time. Crucially for the neocon Democrats and the CIA, Mr. Bloomberg was a Republican during George W. Bush’s misguided adventure in Iraq. To his discredit, Mr. Bloomberg was a soft proponent of that war, suggesting that he would be in line to be impeached by the CIA almost immediately upon entering office. John Kerry, or ‘Mr. Swift Boat’ as he is affectionately remembered, is up to his eyeballs in the Ukraine mess.

So, the DNC insiders’ hypothesized belief that Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg or John Kerry can ‘beat Trump’ seems thinly considered. On the other hand, Bernie Sanders is among the most popular political figures in recent decades, has broad support across traditional political lines, has developed programs to address current economic, political and environmental woes, has built a political organization that can persist after the election cycle is over to apply political pressure when needed, and he has already demonstrated that he can raise the campaign funds needed to prevail in an American election.

As I suggested repeatedly in 2015, if the establishment Democrats really want crush Mr. Sanders and the political movement that supports him, let him win the Democratic primary, win the general election against Donald Trump, and then undermine his program to ‘prove’ that socialism doesn’t work. This would take the evil Trump out of the mix, give Democrats the White House, and the corporate Democrats could spend the next five decades pretending to be the party that voters want. I’m holding my breath starting right now.


Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book Zen Economics is published by CounterPunch Books.