“Indifferent to truth, willing to use police-state tactics and vulgar libels against inconvenient witnesses, hopeless on health care, and flippant and fast and loose with national security: The case against Hillary Clinton for president is open-and-shut. Of course, against all these considerations you might prefer the newly fashionable and more media-weighty notion that if you don’t show her enough appreciation, and after all she’s done for us, she may cry.” – Christopher Hitchens on Hillary Clinton, 2008.
Once again, the Clinton power-couple are vying for the domination of US politics. Despite the latest polls suggesting that Bernie Sanders is closer to the Democratic nomination than he has ever been, Hillary is still the most likely candidate to run for the Oval Office. While a Clinton-led administration is far more favourable than a Trump one, it would not be because of any outstanding qualities of the prior. Only on rare occasions, such as the Benghazi hearing, did Mrs Clinton show the resolve of a President. Sanders, on the other hand, has been challenging the American political process and offering an attractive alternative, something that requires consistent President-esque resolve and determination.
“Do the elected officials in Washington stand with ordinary Americans – working families, children, the elderly, the poor – or will the extraordinary power of billionaire campaign contributors and Big Money prevail? The American people, by the millions, must send Congress the answer to that question.” – Bernie Sanders.
Whether Hillary is posturing herself, as she did throughout the debate on January 17th, as the natural successor or not is irrelevant to the argument of what kind of leader America needs. The Clinton couple are experts in the political art of triangulation, shape-shifting ad nauseam to whatever image is most convenient to them. Even if Obama’s tenure was the best we have seen from a US President in recent history, she is not the candidate that will help America tackle the wider problems of inequality, for instance, in the long-term. Indeed, the jury is still out on a mixed 8 years with an increase in gun crime and income inequality but also positive steps that Sanders had been calling for years before such as a new relationship with Cuba, a programme to reduce arms capabilities in Iran, and nationwide legalisation of gay marriage. Her mistakes in professional conduct should be the least of our worries, as compared to what her prestidigitation means for the American public. She is not only part of the American elite, but has no integrity or will to challenge it.
“Let us wage a moral and political war against the billionaires and corporate leaders, on Wall Street and elsewhere, whose policies and greed are destroying the middle class of America.”- Bernie Sanders.
It has been often said that Hillary Clinton is more competent than Bernie Sanders, and granted, she has had her moments. However, Bernie Sanders has served as a Congressman for 16 years and a Senator for 10. All this time he has been tackling the main issues of our day that are of such importance to the future of the nation. He has been more than vocal on wealth inequality, climate change, gender and LGBT+ rights, universal health-care, parental leave, education opportunities, the criminal justice system and campaign finance reform among many other decisive issues.
“Greed is not good. In fact, the greed of Wall Street and corporate America is destroying the very fabric of our nation. And here is a New Year’s resolution that I will keep if elected president, and that is, if Wall Street does not end its greed, we will end it for them.” – Bernie Sanders.
Hillary, on the other hand, has served 8 years as First Lady, 6 as Senator, and now her current position as Secretary of State. When it comes to adding up all the years served in US politics respectively, Hillary and Bernie run surprisingly close. But Sanders is the more experienced candidate insofar as he has experienced, and shares, the frustration that the American people have with the American political class.
It has been argued that her proximity to the upper echelons of power grants her an advantage in the sense that she has a presidential nous but this is a ridiculous argument. In Britain, one would not rightfully argue that Alistair Campbell would make a good Prime Minister because he has been close to Number 10 for years and he knows the ins and outs and what it is like to be a Prime Minister. In any case, it is Sanders who is aware of, not only the political process of the United Status, but also the public perception around it.
Feel the Bern
“I’m not impugning your integrity. I’m impugning the integrity of the system. And I’m telling you that the kind of political system we have right now is the reason the middle class is dying in this country. And the reason that I should be president instead of you is that you don’t know it, and that you’ve helped build that system, and that you still defend it.” – Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton, 2015
For more than 30 years, Sanders has championed issues that would have been removed by the US political radar if it were not for his enthusiasm and determination. Much like Podemos in Spain, Corbyn’s Labour in the UK, Tsipras’ Syriza in Greece, and other growing forces of a re-ignited Left, Sanders has continued this trend in America. The new Left has filled a political vacuum that has been isolated for too long and has seen the development of a kind of class consciousness in a time where the richest 62 people have more wealth than the rest of the world combined. Now is the time for all these movements, including Bernie’s, to damage the system that is rigged in favour of the richest one percent.
Sanders is a better Obama than Clinton…and Obama
“Finally, let’s understand that when we stand together, we will always win. When men and women stand together for justice, we win. When black, white and Hispanic people stand together for justice, we win.” – Bernie Sanders.
The floodgates have been opened by the Sanders campaign for a powerful and progressive struggle. Indeed, the irony is that if he does not win, his criticisms of the political elite will be again proved correct. If Hillary wins the nomination, it will be evidence of the seemingly scripted nature of US politics and the importance of financial influence to achieve a position atop the political summit. Furthermore, if we are arguing that there are aspects of Obama’s administration that should be developed, then Sanders is the stand-out option to challenge wealth inequality in America, since Obama called it the “greatest issue of our time” – this is despite Obama omitting the spectre of inequality in his final State of the Union speech. A continuation of Obama’s lack of practical reaction to this regard will not be the America that Americans need. Whereas an active development of the President’s words into the radical reforming passion of Sanders will be a huge step in the right direction.
Even in the health-care debate Sanders trumps Mrs Clinton. Hillary has not offered any development to Obamacare that builds on to universal health-care, whereas Sanders has a plan, though admittedly incomplete, to progress into a single-payer system in which every legal resident is covered by the government. This is the true universal health-care that would have been a dream under the Obama administration but that can be realised if the unlikely but desirable possibility of Sanders in the White House comes to fruition.
Foreign policy matters follow a similar pattern, too. One cannot discount that Hillary was in favour of intervention in Iraq, whereas Obama and Sanders were, and are, not. Of course, Clinton has ever-conveniently changed her opinion and attempts to avoid the fact of her support for the supremely unpopular Iraq War, as well as her role in prolonging action against the genocidal Milosevic regime. She seems to be pathologically blinkered in foreign policy, totally out of touch, or she takes up the contradictory positions she does for external interests. She was strongly in favour of intervention in Libya, now an ISIL hotbed, and she wavers from one position to the next with regards to Syria and the Assad regime. Sanders is more inclined to recognise the limits of American power and more likely to agree with Obama when he accepted that the US should no longer act as a policeman to the world but rather an influential partner. He can be trusted to see through the great successes of the Obama years such as the Iran Deal and renewed relations with Cuba. Clinton, alternatively, will undoubtedly repeat her interventionist stance as Secretary of State, yielding to the floundering errors of the past 8 years in Libya and Syria to cite a couple.
Will Hope Over-Power The Dollar? One Can Only Be Hopeful
“Hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it. Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.” – Barack Obama.
One hopes that it is not up to Chomsky (who has supported both candidates in differing interviews), Obama, the bookmakers, or the financial elite on Wall Street that dictates the argument in question, but rather which candidate is the right one to tackle the biggest issues and bring the biggest positive change to America. In Sanders, the Democrats can have someone who appreciates the impact that Obama has initiated but also the confrontational and tenacious attitude to see the project through. America needs someone at the helm who recognises the contradictions of capitalism and the damage of what can seem from the outside as a corporate kleptocracy.
The casino nation cannot continue. The neo-liberal wet dream must be challenged. If you believe Clinton can make progress on this front, you are mistaken, but she might try to convince you if she thinks it will suit her…she will still receive her easy money from Goldman-Sachs. Sanders is the only true challenger to corruption and all her works. One might recall Hillary being the bookies’ favourite in 2008 until Obama emerged victorious thanks to the campaign’s effectiveness in the weeks preceding – a Sanders victory is not entirely out of the question by any means.