It’s a common trope among Centrist (Right Wing Faux) Democrats to say that Donald Trump is a fascist on a par with Hitler (the more sophisticated and historically accurate will say Mussolini). If true, who exactly is responsible for creating the conditions of post-Great War (WWI, they didn’t know there would be a second) Europe where such a figure could thrive?
Ah, I see you’ve been doing your reading, the Neoliberal (global as well as D.C.) Elite Consensus.
If you think of the country as in decline, as most people do, and you think the cause is the predatory behavior of the big-money elites, as most people do, then you must know you have only two choices — acceptance and resistance.
Why do neo-liberal Democrats, like the Clinton campaign, not want you to have big ideas, like single-payer health care? Because having big ideas is resistance to the bipartisan consensus that runs the country, and they want to stave off that resistance.
But that’s a negative goal, and there’s more. They not only have to stave off your resistance. They have to manage your acceptance of their managed decline in the nation’s wealth and good fortune.
Again: The goal of the neo-liberal consensus is to manage the decline, and manage your acceptance of it.
Amid all the accusations that Hillary Clinton is not an honest or authentic politician, that she’s an endless shape-shifter who says whatever works to get her to the next primary, it’s important not to lose sight of the one truth she’s been telling, and will continue to tell, the voters: things will not get better. Ever.
At first, I thought this was just an electoral ploy against Sanders: don’t listen to the guy promising the moon. No such thing as a free lunch and all that. But it goes deeper. The American ruling class has been trying to figure out for years, if not decades, how to manage decline, how to get Americans to get used to diminished expectations, how to adapt to the notion that life for the next generation will be worse than for the previous generation, and now, how to accept (as Alex Gourevitch reminded me tonight) low to zero growth rates as the new economic normal.
Clinton’s campaign message isn’t just for Bernie voters; it’s for everyone. Expect little, deserve less, ask for nothing. When the leading candidate of the more left of the two parties is saying that — and getting the majority of its voters to embrace that message — the work of the American ruling class is done.
I’m getting tired of the argument that if you criticize Clinton, saying she’s bad for poor people or for black people or for other constituencies, that you’re somehow presuming false consciousness, that you’re somehow presuming you know better than those voters.
Not only does that move defang any and all political argument and political critique; not only does it presume that we’re not talking to each other as citizens, that we can’t criticize each other’s opinions and judgments but are instead walled off from each other in hermetically sealed silos (an especially irritating notion to me personally: I mean, who are these people I’m getting emails from at all hours of night, violently disagreeing with me, from all points of the ideological spectrum, and why am I responding to them, if we’re not in a dialogue?); but it also is radically self-defeating, especially for the left.
You don’t think, come November, that a fair bunch of working class people are going to vote Trump? Are we not allowed to say that that’s a bad move for them and for the rest of the country?
People, it is possible to say two things at once: a) voters have reasons for casting the ballots they do, that they get something for their vote, that it’s not irrational; and b) that it’s still, all things considered, a bad move that they should reconsider.
The only world in which you’re not allowed to say some combination of those two things is a world where you in fact believe that you are so radically different from your opponents that you can’t even enter their world to have a discussion or dialogue with them. I’m not sure what kind of world that is, but it sure as shit ain’t a democracy. Or even on the road to a democracy.
Avedon Carol adds (and this is an email reported by Gaius Publius so no link)-
Bernie Sanders wants to do these two important things:
- Create enough abundance for everyone so that there is far less resentment and bitterness to divide us.
- Empower us to be better able to fight for ourselves.
Clinton’s program for dealing with sexism and racism is … what?
As far as I can see, she’s offering, at best, a kind of paternalistic sympathy that does little to ameliorate the actual problems we face.
And yet, the Clinton campaign is attacking Sanders for some sort of weird and undefined insensitivity to issues of racism and sexism that is “proven” by an inadequacy of photo-ops and the fact that some of his supporters, just like some of her own supporters, say things that are sexist and insensitive.
And she is still talking like the DLC.
Great minds, and so do ours.