Time for Some Mea Culpas from the Clinton Camp?

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Time for Some Mea Culpas from the Clinton Camp?

It looks like Clinton will win, but only because Trump is the weakest candidate ever to seek the office

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders basks in the enthusiasm of supporters at a Sunday rally at KeyArena in Seattle, Washington in March of 2016. (Photo: Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)

Donald Trump is doing everything he can to lose this election, and yet he remains within striking distance because too many people believe the lesser of two evils is still too evil to vote for.  As the Wikileak emails increasingly reveal her obvious duplicity on big banks and Wall Street, the myth of the “progressive who gets things done” is evaporating before our eyes.

It’s all about turnout now.  And while Trump is making it obvious he’s totally unfit to serve as President, Clinton’s campaign is smothering any enthusiasm among progressives.  This thing should have been in the bag all along, but the scary man still has an outside chance, with polling aggregates showing her with just a 6 point lead—less than half what Sanders had as the primary came to an end.

Which brings us to the mea-culpas.

The Elite Establishment Media (EEM) emphasized two reasons for backing Clinton over Sanders.  First, they claimed she knew how to get things done while Sanders and his supporters were “happy dreamers.”  Second, they argued that she was more electable, claiming that she’d been vetted and there was little more the Republicans could do to her after all she’d been through, while Sanders would not be able to withstand the withering assault they would launch on a “socialist” from the small state of Vermont.

And when asked, Hillary supporters cited these two factors—more than any others—as the reason they favored her. 

Let’s start with the folks who lectured us on “how change happens.” 

Yes, that would be you, Dr. Krugman—and the rest of the media who hawked the incremental change mantra.

According to you, Clinton knew how the world worked, while Sanders and his supporters were mere dreamers.

Well, it’s pretty obvious that if Clinton wins, she will be hog-tied by a Republican Party that hates her with an irrational passion. They’re already talking about impeachment, and as for legislative compromise?  Forgeddaaboutit. Their attempts to block Obama’s agenda will look like cooperation by the time they’re done with Clinton.

Basically, she’s so hated by their constituents they have no choice.  Any cooperation with her will get them voted out. Just ask Eric Cantor or any of the other conservative Republicans who got tossed out for the sin of cooperation. 

Ms. Clinton, should she win, is likely to be one of the most embattled presidents in history, and far from getting things done, she’s likely to be locked in a rear guard action against a protracted conservative assault.

All this was knowable, back when Clinton was pushing herself as “progressive who gets things done,” but the Elite Establishment Media (EEM) was so committed to electing one of their own, that they manufactured rationalizations to justify it.  Some might even have believed their fabrications.

It gets worse. The only hope for real change in our system is for the President to have coattails big enough to bring in candidates down ballot.  Clinton is barely holding on, she is widely distrusted and disliked, and her strategy until recently was to say as little as possible and let Trump self-destruct.  That’s likely to get her the Presidency, but it won’t do much to get a progressive majority in the Senate, let alone the House. So much for change.

Meanwhile, Sanders garnered support from Independents, generated almost no hate, inspired trust among the vast majority of voters, and proposed a bold agenda that was centered on the people’s interests – precisely the ingredients needed to get down ballot candidates elected, and to crush a fraud like Trump.

Finally, we didn’t need incremental change, we needed revolutionary change. With a government owned and operated by the Oligarchy, the world facing the existential threat of climate change, a complete loss of faith in the electoral process, and an economic system that had been hijacked by the rich, incremental change was never going to be enough. Could a revolutionary approach have succeeded?  Hard to say, but it was more likely to succeed than an uninspiring appeal to incrementalism, and it had to be attempted in any case.

So, as we watch a wounded Hillary Clinton stagger toward the Presidency with the scary man still in the race, it’s time for the “Clinton will get things done crowd” to issue some real apologies. Frankly, they ought to turn in their credentials.  As Krugman likes to say about the austerity hawks who warned about inflation, debasement of the dollar and high interest rates, at some point being so wrong for so long should have consequences.

And now for the “Hillary’s been vetted” crowd

Here again, the EEM let their desire to select their chosen one trump their ability to reason.  And the result is that Trump is still alive.

There were two lessons from this primary season.  First, the people were tired of over scripted pay-to-play party loyalists.  Second, it became clear that despite conventional wisdom, the majority of Americans are left of center on an issue-by-issue basis.

No one is more scripted than Hillary Clinton. Krystal Ball captured the full extent of this when she said:

The very fact that her team is so publicly mulling these choices reveals that they have no clue that their biggest problem isn’t making the proper electoral calculations, but rather that their entire campaign is based on electoral calculations.

And as for the notion that she’s “a progressive who gets things done...”—well, most real progressive knew all along that she was slightly to the right of center, but with the latest WikiLeaks, even the EEM should have figured it out by now.

What’s this got to do with being vetted?  Well, Clinton leaves a trail of lies, deceptions and flip flops that would make her a sitting duck against anyone but the human train wreck that is Trump. Throw in her extraordinarily high distrust and dislike ratings—second highest (to Trump) since such things have been tracked—and she’s both extremely vulnerable, and unlikely to inspire a large turnout.

And Trump’s one remaining hope of winning is a very low turnout.

This too, is not rocket science, and the pundits who were telling us Sanders would get creamed in a general election and that Hillary wasn’t vulnerable (even with several thousand State Department emails yet to be released) should have their mics turned off or their pens and computers confiscated.  But first they should apologize for getting so much, so wrong, for so long.

So, yeah, it looks like Clinton will win, but only because Trump is the weakest candidate ever to seek the office.  Oh, and her victory won’t come with a mandate for change, and it won’t be a victory for the people. 

Then again, she hasn’t sealed the deal yet, and if she doesn’t, the US will have a madman as President, and if that happens, it’s because the EEM conned American voters into believing Clinton would be a better candidate than Bernie, and that she would be a “progressive who got things done.”  In reality, she’s neither a progressive, nor will she get much done.  And any pundit worth his or her salt should have known it a year ago.

Yeah, it's time for some serious apologies from the cognoscenti.

John Atcheson

John Atcheson

John Atcheson is author of the novel, A Being Darkly Wise, an eco-thriller and book one of a trilogy centered on global warming. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the San Jose Mercury News and other major newspapers. Atcheson’s book reviews are featured on Climateprogess.org.

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