Let's Make Sure We Know Who The Real Donald Trump Is Before We Go Into Battle
"How the fuck did she lose to this clown?Before we dive into this, I want to remind everyone that 25.6% of eligible voters cast their ballots for Clinton and 25.5% voted for Trump. But a massive plurality of eligible voters-- 46.9%-- didn't, for one reason or another, vote at all.
-David Keith, Democratic operative
A few days before the election we looked at a massive poll of school children and Clinton led Trump 57-32%, even beating him in deep red strongholds like Louisiana, Alaska and Idaho, where Hillary wound up losing, respectively, with just 38.4%, 37.7% and 27.6%. Now look at this map of the U.S. tweeted by Eliza Byard after the election, showing how 18-25 year old voters went. Yeah-- the South is solid again... for Hillary. I see just 5 red states: Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota, Kentucky and West Virginia, which happened to be among the worst-performing Clinton states this Tuesday across all ages. As we mentioned, she lost Idaho with just 27.6%. It was even worse in Wyoming (22.5%) and West Virginia (26.5%). Just 27.8% of North Dakota voters went for her and Kentucky gave her a relatively robust 32.7%.
Thursday morning Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) tweeted "no job, no hope, anger driving rural voters to the polls is the same keeping urban voter home. Dems need to get this." They could start by reading Glenn Greenwald's Intercept piece, Democrats, Trump, and the Ongoing, Dangerous Refusal to Learn the Lesson of Brexit. It excoriates the elites on both sides of the Atlantic who branded the Brexit supporters and Trump backers as "primitive, stupid, racist, xenophobic, and irrational... The indisputable fact," he wrote, "is that prevailing institutions of authority in the West, for decades, have relentlessly and with complete indifference stomped on the economic welfare and social security of hundreds of millions of people. While elite circles gorged themselves on globalism, free trade, Wall Street casino gambling, and endless wars (wars that enriched the perpetrators and sent the poorest and most marginalized to bear all their burdens), they completely ignored the victims of their gluttony, except when those victims piped up a bit too much-- when they caused a ruckus-- and were then scornfully condemned as troglodytes who were the deserved losers in the glorious, global game of meritocracy."
That message was heard loud and clear. The institutions and elite factions that have spent years mocking, maligning, and pillaging large portions of the population-- all while compiling their own long record of failure and corruption and destruction-- are now shocked that their dictates and decrees go unheeded. But human beings are not going to follow and obey the exact people they most blame for their suffering. They’re going to do exactly the opposite: purposely defy them and try to impose punishment in retaliation. Their instruments for retaliation are Brexit and Trump. Those are their agents, dispatched on a mission of destruction: aimed at a system and culture they regard-- not without reason-- as rife with corruption and, above all else, contempt for them and their welfare.
...Democrats knowingly chose to nominate a deeply unpopular, extremely vulnerable, scandal-plagued candidate, who-- for very good reason-- was widely perceived to be a protector and beneficiary of all the worst components of status quo elite corruption. It’s astonishing that those of us who tried frantically to warn Democrats that nominating Hillary Clinton was a huge and scary gamble-- that all empirical evidence showed that she could lose to anyone and Bernie Sanders would be a much stronger candidate, especially in this climate-- are now the ones being blamed: by the very same people who insisted on ignoring all that data and nominating her anyway.
But that’s just basic blame shifting and self-preservation. Far more significant is what this shows about the mentality of the Democratic Party. Just think about who they nominated: someone who-- when she wasn’t dining with Saudi monarchs and being feted in Davos by tyrants who gave million-dollar checks-- spent the last several years piggishly running around to Wall Street banks and major corporations cashing in with $250,000 fees for 45-minute secret speeches even though she had already become unimaginably rich with book advances while her husband already made tens of millions playing these same games. She did all that without the slightest apparent concern for how that would feed into all the perceptions and resentments of her and the Democratic Party as corrupt, status quo-protecting, aristocratic tools of the rich and powerful: exactly the worst possible behavior for this post-2008-economic-crisis era of globalism and destroyed industries.
It goes without saying that Trump is a sociopathic con artist obsessed with personal enrichment: the opposite of a genuine warrior for the downtrodden. That’s too obvious to debate. But, just as Obama did so powerfully in 2008, he could credibly run as an enemy of the D.C. and Wall Street system that has steamrolled over so many people, while Hillary Clinton is its loyal guardian, its consummate beneficiary.
Trump vowed to destroy the system that elites love (for good reason) and the masses hate (for equally good reason), while Clinton vowed to manage it more efficiently. That, as Matt Stoller’s indispensable article in The Atlantic three weeks ago documented, is the conniving choice the Democratic Party made decades ago: to abandon populism and become the party of technocratically proficient, mildly benevolent managers of elite power. Those are the cynical, self-interested seeds they planted, and now the crop has sprouted.
Not clear enough? Naomi Klein, writing for The Guardian, stated flatly that it was the Democrats' embrace of neoliberalism that won it for Trump, something we asked DWT readers to consider back in September. Klein smirks that today the Democratic Party, Inc "will blame James Comey and the FBI. They will blame voter suppression and racism. They will blame Bernie or bust and misogyny. They will blame third parties and independent candidates. They will blame the corporate media for giving him the platform, social media for being a bullhorn, and WikiLeaks for airing the laundry. But this leaves out the force most responsible for creating the nightmare in which we now find ourselves wide awake: neoliberalism. That worldview-- fully embodied by Hillary Clinton and her machine-- is no match for Trump-style extremism. The decision to run one against the other is what sealed our fate. If we learn nothing else, can we please learn from that mistake? Here is what we need to understand: a hell of a lot of people are in pain. Under neoliberal policies of deregulation, privatisation, austerity and corporate trade, their living standards have declined precipitously. They have lost jobs. They have lost pensions. They have lost much of the safety net that used to make these losses less frightening. They see a future for their kids even worse than their precarious present... Trump speaks directly to that pain."
Trump’s message was: “All is hell.” Clinton answered: “All is well.” But it’s not well-- far from it.Don't forget, Obama won union households in Wisconsin by 33 points in 2012. Tuesday Clinton scraped by with a bare 10 point margin, the reason she lost the state. One of the brightest spots Tuesday came in Seattle, where Pramila Jayapal was elected on an unabashedly progressive/activist platform, with 56.7% of the vote. "We have to be clear as a party," she warned, "about where we stand on trade deals." In a state where every other Democratic member of Congress is a pro-TPP New Dem, she wasn't afraid to speak up loudly and clearly that unfair trade deals should be a line in the sand in Democratic Party politics.
Neo-fascist responses to rampant insecurity and inequality are not going to go away. But what we know from the 1930s is that what it takes to do battle with fascism is a real left. A good chunk of Trump’s support could be peeled away if there were a genuine redistributive agenda on the table. An agenda to take on the billionaire class with more than rhetoric, and use the money for a green new deal. Such a plan could create a tidal wave of well-paying unionised jobs, bring badly needed resources and opportunities to communities of colour, and insist that polluters should pay for workers to be retrained and fully included in this future.
It could fashion policies that fight institutionalised racism, economic inequality and climate change at the same time. It could take on bad trade deals and police violence, and honour indigenous people as the original protectors of the land, water and air.
People have a right to be angry, and a powerful, intersectional left agenda can direct that anger where it belongs, while fighting for holistic solutions that will bring a frayed society together.
Such a coalition is possible. In Canada, we have begun to cobble it together under the banner of a people’s agenda called The Leap Manifesto, endorsed by more than 220 organisations from Greenpeace Canada to Black Lives Matter Toronto, and some of our largest trade unions.
Bernie Sanders’ amazing campaign went a long way towards building this sort of coalition, and demonstrated that the appetite for democratic socialism is out there. But early on, there was a failure in the campaign to connect with older black and Latino voters who are the demographic most abused by our current economic model. That failure prevented the campaign from reaching its full potential. Those mistakes can be corrected and a bold, transformative coalition is there to be built on.
That is the task ahead. The Democratic party needs to be either decisively wrested from pro-corporate neoliberals, or it needs to be abandoned.
Aside from reminding him that "the people" willed Hillary be the president and that it was the system-- the corrupt, rigged system-- that gave it to Trump, let's remember that we don't really know where Trump stands on anything from minute to minute. David Sanger, Maggie Haberman and Binyamin Appelbaum got into it in the NY Times yesterday, terming the one shining principle that shines through the mishmash of Trump pronouncements is that "the world is a zero-sum place, and nations, like real estate developers, are either on the winning side of a deal or the losing side" and that he's "the ultimate pragmatist, perfectly willing to dispense with seemingly core beliefs in return for negotiating advantage. That is why many of his closest supporters have long cautioned that the most headline-grabbing proposals of his run for the presidency should not be taken literally-- they are guideposts, the supporters suggest, not plans... [T]he world is about to find out what Donald Trump really believes. Or at least what he is going to try to do."
Let me circle back to young people and how to reform a decrepit Democratic Party and its sclerotic leadership which is no longer a vehicle for the legitimate aspirations for America's working families as much as it is a vehicle for career advancement for mortal enemies of America's working families, from the Clintons down the food-chain to bottom-feeders like Rahm Emanuel, Wasserman Schultz and Joe Crowley. Simon Sanders was Bernie's Press Secretary. She wrote an OpEd for the NY Times Wednesday about the role for millennials inside the party.[H]is instincts often mix elements of what he has heard or read from the left and the right. His economic policy might best be described as “Big Government Conservatism,” a mix of major tax cuts, mostly for businesses, and a massive infrastructure program to rebuild the dank airports and collapsing bridges that he used in the campaign as a symbol of America’s declining status. It is a subject he comes to easily as a developer who wanted to get customers to his properties.
So far, those proposals do not add up to a coherent strategy. The tax cuts come right out of the Republican playbook; the spending right out of the Democrats’ agenda of spurring the economy with government-led job creation. His commitment to preserve social programs is far more Obama than Reagan. His vow to rip apart the Affordable Care Act, the symbolic domestic achievement of the Obama presidency, adopts the favorite cause of the Republican leadership with whom he has often clashed.
Experts who have looked at his proposals-- many so vague they cannot be “priced”-- have concluded that federal deficits will soar. And that gets to Mr. Trump’s willingness to entertain two completely contradictory thoughts at once, because rarely did he finish an interview or a debate without reminding listeners that a federal debt heading toward $20 trillion was a “disaster” that only he could fix. In his first year, he will have to square those two promises-- or not.
Millions of young people rose up during this election season and declared they cared about the issues - criminal justice reform, climate change, education, the economy and social justice. Those young people, were resoundingly independent in their thoughts and their politics, but engaged with the Democratic Party in an effort to move the needle. These activated millennials demanded they be heard and their issues discussed.
Instead, they were met with tales of who fought and died for their right to vote, fear of a Donald Trump presidency and chastised for not readily supporting the Democratic nominee.
For the Democratic Party to move forward and win, young people-- some of the party's most vocal critics-- cannot be shut out of what will be a rebuilding process. Party leadership must bring millennials into the fold with a focus on the issues. Millennials must be brought to the table as equals, their ideas and sentiments valued and their input turned to action. More than just television and radio ads, the Democratic Party must actively show up in communities from Seattle to Oakland, Denver to Atlanta, Minneapolis to Philadelphia, Miami to Baltimore and everywhere in between to extend an offer of partnership to young voters.
With or without the Democratic Party, young people are going to get organized and they are going to act. It was young people who stood up boldly and challenged the presidential candidates to assert that “black lives matter,” have a social and criminal justice plan and to think radically. They did not come to the work empty handed or without direction.
The process of partnership will not be easy. Today, many millennials are more skeptical of the system than ever, but young people are vital to the vibrancy of the Democratic Party. Young activists, protesters and noise makers ... it's time to let them in and let them lead.