Monday, August 01, 2016

We Need a Clothespin Campaign for Hillary


- by Helen Klein

In this monumental upcoming election, it would behoove Americans to take a lesson from the French and strongly encourage Republicans, Independents and Democrats – including progressives – to hold their noses and vote for Hillary.

In a March 3, 2016 New Yorker article, Adam Gopnik describes how, in 2002, the French found themselves in a situation that was similar to our current presidential election. Jacques Chirac was running against Jean-Marie Le Pen. As with Bernie Sanders, the French progressive socialist candidate, Lionel Jospin, had lost in the primaries and was not in the running for the general election. The choice between Chirac and Le Pen presented voters with the "classic fascist double whammy." Chirac was a right-center candidate who was viewed as unprincipled, mediocre and corrupt, and whom the Socialists had spent a lifetime fighting against. Le Pen was a right wing, authoritarian racist who was anti-immigrant as well as anti-Semitic. He was friendly to corporations, yet not opposed to government welfare. Sound familiar?

So what did the French do? An alliance was formed, including respectable conservatives and French Socialists. They held their noses and voted for Chirac. As they voted, they held clothespins in their pockets to signify their disgust, since wearing them into the voting booth would have publicly shown who they were voting for, and that was unconstitutional.

This fall, Americans need to do the same. Let’s hand out the clothespins!
The French "were operating on the wise premise that sometimes people who are mistaken about almost everything are better than someone who is wrong about the only thing that counts. There are politicians we strongly disagree with, and then there are anti-constitutional crypto-fascist authoritarians. Pretending they’re the same is what happened at Vichy, and it should never be allowed to happen again."
There’s a lesson here for Bernie supporters: "Sometimes, as the French left learned, the people you can’t stand are better than the people you can’t live with." At the Democratic convention, Bernie-- noting that we live in the real world-- gave his support to Hillary.

In France, Le Pen and his daughter, Marine, are "quarantined from respectable conservatism," as Trump should be here. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened, and we’ve watched in disbelief as he’s risen to the top of the Republican ticket.

And as if the parallels weren’t already disturbing enough, Le Pen came out in February and endorsed Trump. No surprise there. Two peas in a pod.

In his June article on the John Halle website, Noam Chomsky-- MIT professor and life-long progressive--expresses views in alignment with Clothespin voting. Chomsky describes LEV (Lesser of Two Evils) voting and why it is so important to do so in this election. He asserts that if Trump is elected, the progressive movement will be diminished and all that it has been trying to accomplish will be greatly undermined. His points are quoted below:

Voting should not be viewed as a form of personal self-expression or moral judgment directed towards major party candidates who fail to reflect our values or a corrupt system designed to limit choices to those acceptable to corporate elites.

The exclusive consequence of the act of voting in 2016 will be (if in a contested “swing state”) to marginally increase or decrease the chance of one of the major party candidates winning.

One of these candidates, Trump, denies the existence of global warning, calls for increasing use of fossil fuels and the dismantling of environmental regulations, and refuses assistance to India and other developing nations as called for in the Paris agreement, the combination of which could, in four years, take us to a catastrophic tipping point. Trump has pledged to deport 11 million Mexican immigrants, offered to provide for the defense of supporters who have assaulted African American protestors at his rallies…. Trump has also pledged to increase military spending while cutting taxes on the rich, hence shredding what remains of the social welfare “safety net” despite pretenses.

The suffering which these and other similar extremist policies and attitudes will impose on marginalized and already oppressed populations has a high probability of being significantly greater than that which will result from a Clinton presidency.

(The above) should constitute sufficient basis to voting for Clinton where a vote is potentially consequential-- namely in a contested “swing state.”

…The left should also recognize that, should Trump win based on its failure to support Clinton, it will repeatedly face the accusation (based in fact) that it lacks concern for those surely victimized by a Trump administration.

Often this charge will emanate from establishment operatives, who will use it as a bad faith justification for defeating challenges to corporate hegemony either in the Democratic Party or outside of it. They will ensure that it will be widely circulated in mainstream media channels, with the result that many of those who would otherwise be sympathetic to a left challenge will find it a convincing reason to maintain their ties with the political establishment, rather than breaking with it, as they must.

Conclusion: by dismissing a ‘lesser evil’ electoral logic and thereby increasing the potential for Clinton’s defeat, the left will undermine what should be at the core of what it claims to be attempting to achieve.

Last week in the Huffington Post (initially posted on Vox), Ezra Klein summed up this election:
“This campaign is not merely a choice between the Democratic and Republican parties, but between a normal political party and an abnormal one… Republicans held an abnormal convention and nominated an abnormal candidate.

Trump has already been scolded by his own party for racist comments, for attacks on the judiciary, for undermining the NATO alliance, for inviting foreign governments to meddle in American elections. None of this is okay. None of it is normal. This is not a man with the temperament, the steadiness, or the discipline to be president.”
One quote from Rand Paul, noted in Ezra Klein’s article, is too good to pass up. Paul described Trump as "a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag. A speck of dirt is way more qualified to be president." Tell us what you really mean, Rand!

In today’s New York Times, Paul Krugman’s editorial, while aimed at Republicans, has meaning for all Americans:
The bottom line is that even if you don’t like Mrs. Clinton or what she stands for, it’s hard to see how you could view her possible victory with horror. And it’s hard to see how you could view Mr. Trump’s possible victory any other way… Democracy isn’t about making a statement, it’s about exercising responsibility. And indulging your feelings at a time like this amounts to dereliction of your duty as a citizen.
To end this post, here is one last piece from Friday’s New York Times. In Gail Collins’ blog, Joan Wheeler from New Orleans wrote:
Joan: One of the most important reasons to elect Hillary Clinton is to put down Donald Trump, and put him down hard! Trump is the biggest threat to this country that I’ve experienced in my 84 years on the planet. That includes the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, McCarthyism, Richard Nixon, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of J.F.K. and Martin Luther King, the presidency of George W. Bush, the current problem with terrorism and every other bad thing this country has gone through in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Gail: Well, Joan, I’m not sure I agree with you about World War II. But you have definitely driven your point home.
Trump is truly alarming and should not be anywhere near the Oval Office or the nuclear button. For this election season, the spotlight needs to be shifted off of Hillary and turned on Trump. Hillary policies can be fought once she is in office.

So everyone, purchase your clothespins and get ready for November 8!

Goal Thermometer

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At 12:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're going to be persuasive you have to come up with quotes from better people than Hillary operative Paul Krugman.

At 4:47 AM, Anonymous Jo said...

I'm still trying to understand how Mrs. Clinton would be better for the country and the world than Mr Trump. So far it appears the two are equally bad, which doesn't mean I'm glossing over how bad a Trump presidency would likely be. In foreign policy and economics, Clinton seems to be promoting the neo-con, neo-liberal Washington Consensus with more disasterous foreign policy blunders and war, and more inequality that strengthens the billionaire class, weakens democracy and marches us into a brave new fascist world.
Here is some information about trade deals which is relevant:

At 5:50 AM, Blogger Natalie Daniels said...

Trump is inviting foreign governments to hack a former state department official. He cannot perform simple duties such as saying consoling words to a Gold Star mother. Instead he states could she speak and makes an anti-Muslim statement. He uses racial dog whistle politics. He cannot understand geopolitical events. He does not even care about learning policy and does not really want to govern. What kind of President will he be? He is an orange hell clown who is the most temperamentally unsound candidate in modern history. He makes Herman Cain look like FDR. His revenge oriented behavior will put us into dangerous international positions and he can't or won't grasp the seriousness of governance. He would encourage our troops to commit war crimes and advocates torture. I predict his orange butt would be in front of the Hague by the end of his presidency due to his instability.

I live in a swing state and will not vote for my ideals. I will vote in good conscience against Trump the Tyrannical. I will vote for the candidate who is the best pants suited to govern in a complex world.

At 6:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My nose has enough damage done to it over the many grim years of voting for "not quite as bad," but, clearly, still shit candidates.

Once again, the ONLY useful thing Obumma (2012) has done was to liberate many of us from the insult and self-abuse of the electoral clothespin.

I hope everyone has noticed how reelecting Obumma seems to not have made that alleged critical difference re SCOTUS nominees, as he and the DNC were unable to grok the importance of a senate majority in regard that "extremely important" issue. (This a fitting encore to the 2010 census year approach of “oh, the party in the White House always loses seats in the mid-terms.”)

Does anyone really think HRC, if president, will be able to make those predicted several SCOTUS replacements with fewer than 60 actual Democrats in the senate? If you enjoyed Obumma derangement syndrome, you are going to love the GOP congressional reaction to the Generalisssima. (If she's elected they will probably impeach her in anticipation during the upcoming lame duck session.)

At the very best she will "get things done" with the GOP and pack the SCOTUS with the next two generations worth of the court's corporate corps.

John Puma

At 2:10 PM, Anonymous dameocrat said...

Trump is not an aberration. He is planned. Ater the George W Bush debacle, the neocon warmongers, like Robert Kagan, Max Boot, & Bill Kristol, wanted someone to make them look competent, so they encouraged Trump to win the GOP nomination, and backed Clinton, so they could kill all leftwing causes, like reversing climatechange, a strong middle class and peace, and not look dumb anymore because Trumpster was worse. They'll do it again in 4 to 8 years after they make more trouble in the middle east. People like you are enabling it, because you care about your pet causes more than democracy itself.

I won't hold my nose. I am voting for Jill Stein. Wake up!

At 11:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vote for Jill Stein and you'll feel better but the rest of the world will be suffering under Trump. You wake up.

At 10:09 AM, Blogger Corax said...

Anonymous, it’s a funny thing, but the Republicans are saying a vote for any other candidate is a vote for Clinton. You say it’s a vote for Trump. I say it’s neither. Vote your conscience! Don’t vote for evil and you will not be responsible for the evil.


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