Part 6 in my series on the US Presidential Election. Disagreement is welcome; trolls will be ignored.
The Democratic Party is in deep trouble.
Put bluntly, it has a micro problem and a macro problem. The micro problem is called ‘Hilary Clinton.’ The macro problem is deeper, more profound and may – in the end – prove to be significantly more dangerous. It is nothing less than the threatened loss of all relevance to America.
Hilary Clinton, as I noted in two of my previous articles (here and here) is a simply appalling candidate. Indeed, her nomination is a joke in bad take. To all of the reasons I gave earlier, we can now add …
-There is a very strong perception that Hilary Clinton got away with a very serious set of criminal charges simply for being too big to indict. Laws are for little people, not for Hilary Clinton. The FBI did not clear her of any or all charges. Instead, it was decided not to go ahead with the prosecution.
-There is a very strong belief that Hilary Clinton won the nomination because the campaign was rigged in her favour.
-Hilary remains as laughably tone-deaf as ever. Appointing the person responsible for said rigging to a post within her campaign gives a very bad impression, yet Hilary is utterly unrepentant. Getting the father of a Muslim soldier to blast Trump on stage – and ignoring the parents of the soldiers killed because of her decisions was bad enough – but not checking his credentials beforehand was worse. Warning of the danger of giving Trump unfettered power over the IRS is just laughable when there is a whole series of scandals concerning Obama’s abuse of the IRS.
-Hilary still has a number of scandals dogging her heels. The Clinton Foundation – what happened to the money? Who gave them the money? What was the quid pro quo? What did Hilary say in those Wall Street speeches that have never been released? How close is Hilary to foreign investors, politicians and religious extremists? What about the links of her staff to foreign parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood?
-And so on and so on and so on.
Hilary simply has too many weaknesses to be a good candidate. Those who blast Trump for having no foreign policy experiences must somehow overlook the fact that Hilary has plenty of experience – all bad. Hilary played a major role in crafting a genuinely foolish foreign policy that weakened the United States at the worst possible time. She has flip-flopped from side to side, as the political winds blew hot and cold; she shows no sign that she is capable of choosing a policy and sticking to it when things threaten to go wrong. She certainly seems incapable of recognising a mistake and admitting to it.
Worse, she has to simultaneously defend President Obama’s legacy while moving away from it. Obama has proven a disastrous president – can she convince vast numbers of Americans that she can do better, after playing a major role in his administration?
Hilary has been a strikingly divisive figure ever since Bill Clinton was elected President of the United States. One may ask what Hilary has done to deserve this – to which one might toss the question right back. What has Hilary done? What are her achievements outside the political world?
The current global disruption has been categorised as a popular revolution against the political elites. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders would not have done so well if there wasn’t a groundswell of popular revulsion against the elites. And Hilary is the ultimate representation of the elites. What does she have in common with the average American citizen? She doesn’t understand their lives, she doesn’t speak their language, she doesn’t have any comprehension of why the hoi polloi are tuning away from the political elites …
And, realistically, what charge can be levelled against Donald Trump that cannot also be levelled against Hilary?
In short, in this truly absurd election season, Hilary’s nomination for the presidency may be the most absurd thing of all.
The single most dangerous problem facing any revolutionary movement lies not when the movement is at risk of being defeated and crushed, but when total victory lies within its grasp. Victory does not just mean the end of the struggle, it means the end of the revolutionary movement itself. There is, quite simply, no longer any reason for its existence.
And yet, those who control such movements are rarely willing to abandon their power, now they have accomplished their goals. Power is seductive – and very few people are willing to give it up. History is littered with the remains of revolutionary movements that kept searching out new enemies, rather than sitting back and accepting the fruits of victory. The French Revolution and the Russian Revolution turned into tyrannies – and give birth to emperors with absolute power – because their leadership simply didn’t know when to stop. In order to justify their existence, they waged war on an endless series of newer and newer enemies, purging former friends and allies in their quest for relevance. Eventually, they collapsed in on themselves.
It may seem odd to discuss revolutionary movements in the same breath as the oldest American political party, but there is a point to this. Indeed, many of the problems currently facing the Democratic Party stem from its own successes.
The Democratic Party, in my view, can be fairly described as a set of ever-shifting voter blocs, presided over by the elites (the DNC). Each of these blocs – feminists, homosexuals, unionists, transgenders, blacks – has different sets of priorities. These priorities have a tendency to conflict, so successful candidates for the nomination must find a way to balance the desires and concerns of each of these blocs, without alienating too many of the other blocs. The general approach is to suggest, strongly, that these groups are victims – of everything but themselves – and that the Democrats will fix the problem if voted into office.
But the delicate balancing act may be falling apart.
I think it is fairly safe to say, right now, that the average right-winger in the United States accepts and tolerates the presence of homosexuals. He may not like the idea of homosexuality, but he accepts that homosexuals have a right to exist. And really, what more do the vast majority of homosexuals want? This acceptance allows them to start moving into the Republican Party – or, perhaps more dangerously, to start questioning the fundamental necessity for the Democratic Party.
The terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando illustrates the problem quite nicely. Nearly every political figure – Donald Trump was the only major exception – shied away from pointing the finger at Islamic Terrorism. Homosexuals suddenly had good reason to wonder if their best interests were being upheld. The enthusiastic support the Democrats had displayed, in the past, for gay rights had suddenly vanished. And they were not the only ones. Feminists, too, had good reason to worry about what might happen if more and more radicalised Muslims came to America.
In a desperate search to remain relevant, the Democratic Party needed more and more ‘victims.’ But every new ‘victim group’ they found came with its own baggage. The attempt to cast the transgender bathroom issue as the latest civil rights issue ran into the simple problem that every parent in America would be utterly horrified at the thought of their daughters sharing changing rooms with a biological man. Attempts to make people pity refugees from the Middle East ran straight into the simple fact that American patience with Islamic bad behaviour has almost completely run out.
And they have unleashed a whole series of dangerous new problems. Choosing to beatify a thug (killed during a violent attack) and a thief (shot in the process of committing a crime) has unleashed a wave of criminal activity as police refuse to do their jobs, fearing that they will become the latest target of the social justice mob. Black Lives Matter (which recently released a series of absurd demands) has done nothing more than confirm a number of very unflattering stereotypes about young black men; the absurdities on college campuses have more and more Americans screaming for repression, not tolerance.
One may argue that none of this is actually true. That doesn’t matter. All that matters, in politics, is perception. And the general perception is that the Democratic Party has played a major role in unleashing chaos.
The Democratic Party needs to take a good hard look at itself. Blaming Trump, or Putin, for its problems is disingenuous. The problems are structural and need to be fixed, urgently.
Someone – a grown-up – should really have gone to Hilary and explained, patiently, that she is simply an appalling candidate. She lost in 2008 to Barrack Obama; now, she’s a lame duck sinking in a quagmire of her own creation. The DNC should have looked for a candidate who could unite the party; Hilary could have been thanked for her services, then quietly pensioned off. (Or whatever – I have no idea how this situation could have been legally handled.)
Instead, they have a major problem. There is no reason to expect that Bernie’s supporters will automatically vote for Hilary. Why should they? They think Hilary fixed the nomination. Why should they not consider voting for Trump or simply staying home? And even without that, Hilary is not capable of being inspiring. Her credibility is non-existent. It seems unlikely that anything she says will be accepted without question …
And there is a growing perception that the media will always lie. As I have noted before, the media attacks on Trump are disregarded by his supporters – because they’ve seen too many decent candidates destroyed by media lies. And now the media has no credibility either.
Donald Trump has plenty of weaknesses. But many of them can no longer be exploited.
And whoever wins this election, the Democratic Party will have to spend some time cleaning up its own mess.