The DNC has nobody to blame but themselves…
Some quick thoughts on the recent election.
The Democratic establishment, who decided in 2008 that Clinton would be the next President, is in a state of shock over Donald Trump’s victory. But as in 1968, the Democratic Party should have listened to the young people. In 1968, Democratic presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy, a “labor union socialist,” inspired the country’s young people, who were disenchanted with the power brokers, the “establishment,” the special interests and lobbyists, and harnessed their energy and idealism. The Democratic establishment ganged up on McCarthy and rigged the process so as to impose Hubert Humphrey as the Democratic candidate.
Fast forward to today: Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed “socialist,” excited young people and others who were rebelling against the political establishment. But the Democratic establishment rigged the process and imposed Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee.
Had the Democratic establishment played fair and not rigged the primary against Sanders, he would have been the Democratic nominee and the Democrats would have won the presidency and maybe even the Senate. The Democrats cannot scapegoat the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, as they (unfairly) scapegoated Ralph Nader in 2000. Stein garnered 0.9 percent of the popular vote, hardly enough to make any kind of a difference.
Folks don’t trust Clinton…
I don’t think there’s a single reason why Clinton—who was considered the frontrunner and was predicted to win and win big—lost. But a major underpinning of the various reasons people, including Democrats, who didn’t support Clinton is that they simply didn’t trust her. And not that they thought she didn’t tell the truth (although many thought that) but that they didn’t have faith that she would have their interests in mind and protect their interests.
For example, Clinton lost a good chunk of the “rust belt,” industrial states that are heavily union. Her assertion during a CNN Town Hall in Ohio that, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business” surely didn’t help her in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Arizona and other mining states. That she chose Tim Kaine as her running mate also may have hurt her among unionists. As governor of Virginia, Kaine militantly supported his state’s anti-union Right-to-work law and denied public-sector workers the right to form unions that could engage in collective bargaining.
Clinton’s association with NAFTA also probably hurt her in the rust belt states. According to the Economic Policy Institute’s Robert E. Scott, in just the first 10 years after NAFTA was implemented, it caused the loss of 879,280 U.S. jobs, most of which were high-wage manufacturing union jobs. Scott reports that NAFTA is a major contributor to rising income inequality, suppressed real wages for production workers, weakened workers’ collective bargaining powers and ability to organize unions. (“The high price of ‘free’ trade: NAFTA’s failure has cost the United States jobs across the nation,” Economic Policy Institute, November17, 2003)
Clinton and Wall Street: a bad combination…
Clinton’s well-known ties to Wall Street also probably hurt her. Clinton claimed to stand “…in support of Tribal resources and sacred sites.” But she was totally MIA regarding the assault on the Sioux and their native supporters in Standing Rock, North Dakota, people who are protecting their tribal resources, water and land, and their sacred sites. When under pressure Clinton did issue a statement on Standing Rock, it was insultingly bereft of substance, saying that the view of all parties (including the desecrators of the sacred sites) should be respected. It didn’t go without notice that the same interests that are funding her campaign are funding the assault on the Sioux’s sacred sites and water rights: Bank of America, HSBC, UBS, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase.
I have no doubt that the many analyses that will be made in the next few weeks will bring out more examples of Clinton’s deep personal and political ties to Wall Street being a factor in her defeat.
Put the blame where it belongs—the DNC…
An issue that keeps coming up in discussions—and arguments—about the election is that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) bears much of the blame for blatantly interfering with the primary race and rigging it for Clinton. Many people are convinced that if the DNC had not interfered, Bernie Sanders would have been nominated and that in January, 2017, we would be inaugurating President Sanders rather than Trump. There is deep resentment regarding the Democratic establishment’s hijacking not only the primary election but the party itself and expecting Democrats to unthinkingly go along with what the establishment dictates.
But all is not lost. Folks will be upset and sad for a while, but there are many things serious Democrats can do in the next two to four years to take back the party from the establishment elites who take us—Mexican Americans/Latinos—for granted. As long as we act like sheep and refuse to challenge or hold accountable the Democratic Party, we will be treated and seen as sheep. The simple, undeniable truth is that the Democratic Party will respect us only—I repeat, ONLY—when we make it known to them that they do not own us and when they see that we utilize our votes intelligently and discriminatingly. As long as the Democrats KNOW we’ll vote for them regardless of what they do—which is what I think Hillary Clinton and the DNC believed—why should they even pretend to respect us?
It is no wonder the Democratic Party is hemorrhaging members in large numbers. Nationally, 42% of Americans identify as Independents, while only 36% identify as Democrats. Until the Democratic rank-and-file take back their party from the elite, the hemorrhaging will continue. And the Democratic Party has no one but itself to blame for this hemorrhaging. Perhaps after losing enough elections, the party and its minions will grow back their backbone and put the “demo” (the people) back into its name.
About them white folks…
The racial aspect of the election results—i.e., the white people have spoken—is the topic of much discussion. But my sense is that a good portion of the white folks who voted for Trump are people from the rust belt (union members even) who were voting more against Clinton than for Trump. That’s true of other whites who felt abandoned by the Washington elite of both parties. Had Bernie Sanders been the nominee, I’m certain the racial dynamics of the election would have been significantly different. That’s not to dismiss the overt racists—KKK, Neo-Nazis—who support Trump. [When I raised this issue with a Republican acquaintance, he reminded me that in the 1950s-1960s, the Democratic Party in the Deep South was the sponsor and enabler of the KKK—i.e., the Democrats can’t claim the high ground on this.] Maybe it’s my optimistic nature, but I don’t see that element as being the controlling majority of the Trump base. Let’s hope I’m right and that President Trump will be a different person than Candidate Trump. c/s
Copyright 2016 by Sal Baldenegro. To contact Sal write: firstname.lastname@example.org