shadow

By Anthony Cody.

The Democratic National Convention has been painful to watch. In the days prior, we had the revelation of emails which demonstrated what Sanders supporters had felt throughout the primary – that the DNC was biased towards Clinton, and was acting to enhance her candidacy despite their claims of neutrality. Most significantly, as Matt Taibbi explains here, Clinton was using the apparatus of the DNC to extract money from wealthy donors in amounts up to $353,400 each. This allowed the Clinton campaign to stay competitive at a time when Sanders was buoyed by millions of small donations.

But Sanders took the stage Monday night and guided us towards candidate Clinton in spite of this. It is a bitter pill to swallow – to see someone cheat in a contest and be awarded the prize nonetheless. But as Sanders pointed out, this is the world we live in. The job of creating a better one still lies before us.

We are seeing great attention paid to the misdeeds and corruption of Donald J. Trump, and that is as it should be. We have learned of his past as a discriminatory landlord. We know about the fraudulent Trump University.  And most of all, we know he has run a campaign fueled by xenophobia and racism. He is a truly frightening authoritarian who could cause great harm.

There are several different ways to support Clinton’s candidacy. One would be to downplay or smooth over the corruption of the DNC and our political and economic system, and act as though this is normal and thus even acceptable. I cannot do that.

Presidential elections are referenda on who we are as a nation. This is an opportunity to raise up to scrutiny all sorts of concerns that are too often ignored. How have the trade policies of the last few administrations affected the working class in our nation? What effect has NAFTA had? Clinton and Kaine supported, but now tepidly oppose the TPP. Will Clinton maintain this opposition if elected? Or find a way to “fix it” and get it passed as some have suggested. In the past, voters have not understood the significance of these corporate trade deals. Thanks to the Sanders campaign, this is much better understood. Clinton and the corporate Democrats cannot be allowed to sneak this by this time.

In the area of foreign policy, we need a much better understanding of what is at stake. Of course Trump’s wall is lunacy. But Clinton’s record in Latin America should not be ignored. Neo-colonial domination of Central and South America has been a bi-partisan project stretching back decades. This election is a chance to spread understanding of this, even if it is not helpful to candidate Clinton.

On issues of racial justice, the Clintons have a troubling history. As Michelle Alexander revealed, the Clintons’ role in abolishing welfare and expanding our incarceration nation must be remembered. We cannot, in good conscience, allow this to continue.

How will education reform be handled by a Clinton administration? We know that big money held sway over education policy under President Obama. Candidate Clinton has been vague and inconsistent, offering both criticism and praise for charter schools and high stakes tests. Tim Kaine has shown a better understanding of education issues. But in 2008, many of us thought that Obama would be better than George W. Bush on education, especially with Linda Darling-Hammond advising him. But then the hedge fund money talked, Darling-Hammond walked, and we got seven years of Arne Duncan. So the only thing that will keep Clinton from going the way Obama went is intense grassroots pressure.

All of this brings us to the great challenge this election presents to us. We have a balancing act to perform. While I plan to vote for Clinton, we cannot simply “get on board” the DNC campaign train. We cannot unsee the corruption, the deep flaws in Clinton and her corporate allies. There IS something wrong with taking big money for speeches from Wall Street financiers, especially when they invite you back time after time – and you refuse to share what you told them.

We must continue to uncover the corruption of both corporate Democrats and corporate Republicans. If grassroots organizing can reclaim the Democratic Party so it fights for working people, then that would be excellent. Such a reclamation is under way over in Britain right now and is worth watching. If corporate Democratic Party leadership clings to power and will not allow this to happen, then a third party alternative should be strengthened. I respect those who have already made this leap, but I cannot do so while Trump looms.  I have joined Bernie Sanders effort to continue his political revolution and defeat Donald Trump,  and look forward to the continued growth of this movement.

What do you think?

Author

Anthony Cody
Anthony Cody

Anthony Cody worked in the high poverty schools of Oakland, California, for 24 years, 18 of them as a middle school science teacher. He was one of the organizers of the Save Our Schools March in Washington, DC in 2011 and he is a founding member of The Network for Public Education. A graduate of UC Berkeley and San Jose State University, he now lives in Mendocino County, California.

Comments

  1. Michael Paul Goldenberg    

    #StillNotWithHer And never will be.

  2. Linda K Eastman    

    Thank you, Anthony, for articulating my intuitive feelings so well.

  3. howardat58    

    Bernie Sanders is going to be Clinton’s biggest thorn in the flesh.

  4. Janice Strauss    

    Thank-you, Anthony, for articulating my feelings so well. If we “pull the lever” for Clinton, I believe we have an obligation to see that she remains true to our progressive values. I would add that Kaine’s poor support of unions necessitates careful watching there as well.

  5. Michael Paul Goldenberg    

    @Janice Strauss: with what leverage do you think you can hold HRC’s feet to the fire? That really worked so well with Obama in 2012. If she wins in ’16, she’ll be playing you over the Ted Cruz Monster in ’20. Or another GOP “monster.” It works EVERY TIME.

    I can’t be played this time. Hillary Trump and Donald Clinton can kiss my behind: a plague on both their houses.

    https://newmatilda.com/2016/03/23/john-pilger-why-hillary-clinton-is-more-dangerous-than-donald-trump/

    http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/38247-focus-who-should-bernie-voters-support-now-a-debate-between-robert-reich-and-chris-hedges

  6. Bob Velez    

    I’m as conflicted as the author suggests. I really believe that Trump is an existential threat to our democracy. I am unwilling to punish Clinton for her “sins” by making it more likely that Trump will win the election. I think that with advancing technology and dissemination of information, we will indeed have tools to keep politician’s feet to the fire. We do have to actually do it, though; I suspect that many (not all) who have decried the current state of affairs and responded with a resounding #BernieOrBust or #NeverHillary have not been on the front lines of social justice for very long and refuse to acknowledge the fact that candidates come and go and laying all your hopes OR all your distrust of the process on them is foolishness.

    Hillary is a weak candidate. For the good of the country, it would have been better if she had retired rather than run for president again. However, she is qualified and I do trust her way more than Trump. The hatred of her is mostly constructed and projected by right-wing ideologues who refuse to acknowledge that Democrats love America just as much as they do (if not more) and the Obama administration has been mostly successful. They are reality-rejecters who insist that half the country is un-American and worthy of the worst kind of scorn.

    1. Michael Paul Goldenberg    

      Bob, are you suggesting that millions of progressive men and women who reject Hillary Clinton do so because we are stupid and swallow manufactured falsehoods by the GOP, rather than for things that the GOP would NEVER criticize her for because they are, in fact, very much what most of the GOP has been about for a century or more?

      I’m a lot of things, Bob, but neither is stupid or a dupe of the Republican propaganda machine. What we hear far too little about over here in “liberal word,” however, is the centrist, neoliberal propaganda machine that tells us that Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton are “Democrats.” Well, I guess they are, if we have absolutely zero memory of FDR or Bobby Kennedy or Paul Wellstone, for starters. There was a time when being a Democrat meant more than a label. With the New Dems in 1992, that ended. I’m not for her. I’m not for Trumpo the Klown. My hatred for Hillary is NOT constructed and projected by right-wing ideologues. It’s based on a careful analysis of her and her career. And Obama has killed thousands in the name of American exceptionalism and the imperial presidency, too. He just doesn’t use dumb-ass George W. Bush rhetoric, and you’re perhaps deafened by the GOP dumbth machine so thoroughly that you’re ignore what evil, REAL evil, he’s done in our name. I voted for him twice. Bill Clinton twice. I’m not for her. Not once. Not even for a second. I held my nose against a true stench for the last time. Do what you must, but at least be honest about where much opposition to her comes from: progressive Americans who smell a rat the size of the Titanic in Hillary Rodham Clinton and won’t be played by the “Ogre” story again. Trump sucks, but he sucks without pretending to be my friend. If he wins, I’ll fight him every time he pushes something wrong. But at least I won’t have to WONDER if he’s my enemy.

      1. Mario Ruiz    

        Bob, the uncontrolled rage over the political defeat of Bernie Sanders is driving people like you to demonize our own candidate (not yours, obviously), and ensure the eventual election of the most vile candidate in American history. You refer to zero memory, but unfortunately, show scant understanding of the people you parade as paragons of American ultra-liberalism. According to Brinkley’s biography of Roosevelt (the best so far), Roosevelt “presented himself to the world as a beacon of confidence and optimism in difficult times, and his domestic achievements rank among the most important of any presidency in American history. However, and despite the fact that “he presided over a dramatic expansion of federal power, the New Deal did not transform American capitalism in any fundamental way.” Brinkley argues that, “Under the New Deal, liberty and the pursuit of security were hardly incompatible (remember his determination to get the US involved in WW II, before you blast Obama for killing,” thousands in the name of American exceptionalism and the imperial presidency, too.” ). As great as he was, Roosevelt ignored calls for civil rights and, with the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, he was implicated in “one of the greatest violations of civil liberties in American history.” Furthermore, in his dealings with Stalin, Roosevelt was too confident that the Soviet dictator “would cooperate in building a stable and consensual world order (read that again, a world order).” Roosevelt was one of greatest presidents we ever had, but he was not the flaming liberal you make him to be. If anything, he was a masterful pragmatist, who got things done, unlike the ideologue plaguing this election.

        As for Robert Kennedy, sure, he has been memorialized as a liberal icon, but was in reality a New Democrat (before that term became a four-letter word to extreme-left liberals). According to his biographers, he talked about reducing the role of the federal government in “telling people what’s good for them”, and spoke of creating incentives for businesses to save the ghettos from unemployment and economic decay. He bragged about lowering taxes on private companies and played up his experience as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. He veered so far to the right during the campaign that then-California Governor Ronald Reagan joked that Kennedy was sounding more and more like Barry Goldwater.” I admire Robert Kennedy. I was a kid when he visited the farm workers to offer his support, but just like Roosevelt, he was not a blind liberal, intent on purity of ideology, to the detriment of the country.

        All I know about Wellstone is that he worked for peace, the environment, labor, and health care, and the rights of victims of domestic violence. I know he made the issue of mental illness a central focus in his career, and was a supporter of immigration to the U.S. Most notably, he opposed the first Gulf War in 1991. All in all, a remarkable man. However, in 1996, he voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, and I don’t see you demonizing him for that mistake. Like Hillary, he later apologized, but Berners don’t seem to believe that she deserves the same consideration.

        It requires a high degree of self-deception, or ignorance to attack Obama for doing the very best job anyone could have done under the same circumstances. I hope you’re a White male, otherwise, the next four years under Trump are going to be as miserable as they’re going to be for all other minorities and poor people. I know that nothing I write is going to make any difference, because right now, you’re still in the denial stage, but unless you really want a Trump presidency,SNAP OUT OF IT!

  7. Mario Ruiz    

    Anthony, I think I can understand your reluctance to get on the Democrats’ bandwagon, however, you build your case on an alarming number of assumptions and aspersions. Matt Taibbi doesn’t explain anything in his Rolling Stone commentary. He makes a number of unsupported assumptions, and concludes that the DNC used most of the money “toward expenses that, “appear to have directly benefited Clinton’s campaign.” He never offers any evidence, only conspiracy theories and unsupported conclusions, and you know that. Perhaps there was cheating, but Taibbi doesn’t prove anything, he just makes assumptions based on incomplete, or irrelevant data.
    You claim that “Presidential elections are referenda on who we are as a nation,” and yet, you seem to be willing, by your inaction, to let a vile Donald Trump define who we are as a nation. Donald Trump is racist, misogynist, and xenophobic. He is also a discriminatory landlord, a fraud, and a proven cheater. Still, you, and many Bernie supporters are willing to crucify the Democratic Party, over some grievous errors in judgment, and aspersions of Hillary’s character. She is not supporting the TPP, but her word is not enough, so she is expected to eventually turn around and support it. Don’t you see how crazy that sounds? You allow that “Trump’s wall is lunacy,” but take Hillary to the task for Latin American policies she didn’t devise. She’s even blamed for the Honduran Coup, even though there has never been any evidence that the US was involved. What you call “a chance to spread understanding,” looks nothing more than a rehash of debunked conspiracy theories and assumptions. Despite Michelle Alexander’s claims, Bill Clinton did not abolish welfare or “expanded our incarceration nation.” I grew up in East Los Angeles, and taught in high poverty, segregated schools for more than twenty years in LAUSD, and everyone I know will tell you that, Welfare Reform was needed. I was the oldest of five children, raised by a single mother, who had to hold two jobs to make ends meet. There were many others like my mother, who worked hard to survive; and yet, there were many more who refused to take responsibility for their own life, and made welfare a generational way of life. Many of my childhood friends grew up in welfare homes, started receiving welfare themselves as soon as they qualified, and their children have been welfare recipients now. Clinton did not abolish welfare, that’s a lie. What he did was reform it, so that people would not see it as a right, a way of life, in short, an entitlement.
    Sure, Obama let us down on education, but to assume that Hillary will do the same, is another assumption, although I agree that we need to exert intense grassroots pressure.
    So, there is no balancing act to perform. You can either fight to prevent a Trump presidency, or live to regret it. The Democratic Party is not the sole domain of Bernie’s followers, or neo-liberals disguised as extreme leftists. The idea of a third party alternative is quixotic, and I respect your decision not to take that route, “while Trump looms.” Bernie Sanders’s movement will not grow, or become institutionalized as long as his followers see everyone else as an enemy, or even worse, as the devil. Sure, we can pine for the perfect candidate, but that’s a luxury we can afford “while Trump looms.”

  8. Mario Ruiz    

    By the way, i know that my comments are going to be deleted, because past experience has shown that unless I follow the party line, and adhere to the prevalent ideology on this forum, my comments will be erased. It’s happened before, which is kind of ironic, because you’re supposed to be all inclusive. Well, we’ll see.

    1. Michael Paul Goldenberg    

      Mario, “I DARE you to print this letter” is so old, the first time I heard it, the Dead Sea was only sick.

  9. Ruthmarie Hicks    

    Exactly how on earth do you plan to leave the likes of a HRC “accountable?” Accountable to who? HOW? You don’t know, do you? The problem is that the neoliberals have us in a vice because “the other guy ” is always worse. I was watching business news on CNBC on Friday. They were all popping champaign corks. You know what they were saying? “Bernie’s gone! It’s all over for progressives, so she no longer has to worry about them. We will have our TPP and then some!”

    There is no way on this planet to hold the neoliberal’s feet to the fire on progressive issues except by NOT VOTING FOR THEM in the first place.

    I suggest that people in solid red or blue states vote a 3rd party candidate. Reduce the “win” significantly and deny Clinton an real kind of a mandate to govern from the right. What Hillary needs is a real deep seated fear of her left flank, that forces her to say NO to her corporate backers more than she says YES.

    We won’t win anything if we are so afraid of losing that we don’t fight back. And the only way to do that is with our votes. We really don’t have any other weapon.

Leave a Reply