Thursday, March 3, 2016

Playing the Fear Card

Fresh off her shallow victories in Southern states which no Democrat could ever hope to win in a general election, the Empress-in-Waiting is contemptuously pivoting away from the Bernie Sanders threat (which she has a very hard time countering, simply on grounds of his ethics, and her lack thereof). She is choosing to largely ignore her flush-with-cash, still strong social democrat opponent. She is passing Go on her monopoly board and taking the fight directly to Donald Trump's Boardwalk.

Metal Queen Amidala, Monopoly Star Wars Collectors Edition

Trump is Hillary's dream opponent. Never mind that he has a pretty good chance of beating her in the general, and a not-so-good chance of beating Bernie. He is a made-to-order identity politics enemy for her. If Bernie is the chick magnet currently attracting the majority of the young female votes Hillary thinks she's entitled to, then Trump represents the opposite, repellent pole.

The sooner that Trump can pivot from attacking Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and begin making crude sexist remarks about Hillary, the sooner (she hopes) she can triangulate, the sooner that swarms of XX chromosomes will start circling her wagon in solidarity. Whatever liberal appeal that the Clintons are able to boast about has been historically and mainly grounded in the many unfounded right-wing attacks against them.

Hillary is anxious to get past the very real threat of democratic socialism, and right into the nitty gritty of Republican misogyny. She is anxious to contrast her socially responsible, pro-market neoliberalism with Trump's fascism and crude bathroom jokes. She is anxious to transform her public persona from the global femme fatale who makes a mess out of everything she touches, to the damsel in distress who nonetheless bravely fights back against the Trumpian goon squad. Despite her strength, she still needs our help! Cry for her, America!

If we won't vote for her because we don't like her, really like her, then maybe we'll vote for her simply because we're scared to death of Donald Trump. Maybe we'll be so shocked and appalled at Trump's brand of organized crime, we'll forget about Hillary's speeches to Goldman Sachs and the little calling cards she is rumored to distribute to all her donors.

Despite the fact that less than a third of the delegates have been selected in the Democratic primaries, despite the fact that she faces more debate confrontations with Bernie Sanders in the coming days, Hillary -- with much media help --  is again prematurely crowning herself the Democratic nominee. Pick your daily meme out of the corporate media hat: "her path is wide -- Bernie's is narrow." She has the "Firewall" and the super-delegates -- The New York Times and other suspects have reduced The Bern to a misshapen snowman token melting down somewhere on low-rent Vermont Avenue in the Great Whitey White North.


And definitely, feel the guilt. If you can't or won't feel the guilt, a new brand of Hillary Lit has been created just for you. These screeds, often written in true confessions mode, are by and about women who have suddenly seen the light about their addiction to Bernie. They are bravely kicking the Sanders habit, checking themselves into neoliberal rehab, and getting clean for Hillary. If they can do it, you can do it. Put the Us back in Uterus!  See here, for a choice example of the genre, and do check in at Salon, The Guardian and Daily Kos on any given day for the latest advice and tips in Bernie recovery self-help.

And then there are those self-professed die-hard Bernie supporters prematurely urging us to pivot to Hillary in the event that Bernie doesn't win the nomination. We are supposed to pick the Goldwater Girl lest we get another Nixon Guy. Remember McGovern like you Remember The Maine. The New York Times has published a letter to the editor with that message, and is taking the rare step of inviting reader comments to reader commentary. Because if the pundits can't convince us (and they can't), maybe our peers can. In a very polite and gentle manner, of course. 

Another stale trope is a lot meaner: if you don't support Hillary, then it automatically follows that you are an inhumane closet Trumpian. Every time you so much as mention her emails or her secret speeches at Goldman Sachs, Tinkerbell dies and another zombie Trump voter is created. Plus, you are a Hater. At the very worst, you are a purist Hater addicted to pure Bernie smack.

On that note, I got another email from Hillary today, asking for-- what else?-- protection money. But unlike her previous fundraising missives, bitching that Bernie is raising more money than she is, she is now running on defense against Donald Trump.
Friend: (unlike Bernie, she hasn't even bothered to learn my actual name.)
I don't want to live in President Donald Trump's America any more than you do.
I'm proud of what we accomplished on Super Tuesday, but I'm under no illusion this race is even close to over.
Say you're ready to win this nomination, win the White House, and keep Trump out. Chip in $1 right now.
She's at that delicate point in primary season where she doesn't want to alienate Bernie supporters by criticizing Bernie too harshly. So she's playing the Trump fear card against us. She is appealing to fear, because her pro-corporation policies themselves have no appeal whatsoever. Better to suffer in dribs and drabs under a Clinton restoration than to die quickly under a Trump regime. 

I don't even need to borrow a Monopoly token to symbolize Trump. He already has one. Allowing us to pretend to actually be him as we desperately plod, compete, gamble or cheat our way through the game of life is at the very heart of his own political and popular appeal. Only the Establishment is surprised that global financialized capitalism has provoked such a blue collar backlash in the paradoxical person of a billionaire demagogue.

Insert Your Own Face & Inherit $200 Million From Daddy


Meredith NYC said...

Sexist attacks will just help elevate our big money 1st woman prez in the eyes of her many followers. The pro Hillary feminists think electing the 1st woman is the top priority, despite her ties to big money. So they will make sexism the big issue in the campaign.

They ignore that our extreme economic inequality affects women and children the most. And it affects racial minorities the most. Thus Sanders’ reforms are the 1st necessary steps. not just more calls for overcoming gender and racial bias.

Who would have thought that women’s lib would in 2016 be used to support a Repub-lite 3rd Clinton administration prez, who will keep us stuck or even take us back?

Charles Blow today in his big bad anti Trump column briefly mentions the media for elevating Trump, but says that topic is for another day. Comments say, well, why don’t you talk about that now?

Columnists are shooting at easy target Trump, so they can look like humanitarian, rational liberals against the forces of darkness. But aren’t they themselves manipulated by the effects of big money?

This is how big media is controlled by pressures of conformity, not even outright quid pro quo, or explicit censorship. The columnists criticize but still maintain their prestige and influence with the in-group powers that be. So easy to paint themselves on the side of the citizen majority, but in reality they function as part of the blockage to true democracy.

We never see the word’s ‘Citizens United’ and campaign finance reform from Times columns. Just heard an excellent interview from author Wendell Potter on new book “Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It.”

Many of the same countries that have public financing of elections also have h/c for all at low cost, AND have already elected their women heads of state.

But, lets ask.....Would Hillary be the Democratic front runner if she hadn’t got her start being married to Bill? She started as the wife of a powerful man, part of a couple who have long cultivated the powerful and the rich.

There are so many women in public life of high achievement in politics, academia, govt, business, non profits, journalism, etc ---I see them speaking on cspan every week. Not married to former presidents.

Do we need along with repeal of Citizens United, an amendment forbidding relatives of past presidents from running—in order to get unstuck and make progress?

Pearl said...

Sanders' Legacy After Super Tuesday: The Left Primary Challenge via @sharethis

By Naiman from Truthout

ScottW said...

Very nice column and you hit the nail on the head. One of my least favorite responses to pro-Hillary NYT's pundits columns goes something like, "I am supporting Bernie, but if he is not the nominee I will certainly vote for Hillary." No strings attached. No requirement Hillary even fake some progressive policy to gain one's vote. All if forgiven for all of the name calling. Resignation that nothing will change for the better. As if unbridled support is good.

I always think of lobbyists who demand something in return for their money. They would never give a quarter million dollar speaking fee without expecting support for their policies in return. But not the average identity voter. And we wonder why things only get worse.

Karen Garcia said...


Yes, and I wonder how many of those pro-Hillary boilerplate responses in NYT threads come from sock puppets employed by/affiliated with the campaign. Is it me, or are there many more green-checked contributors writing the boilerplate these days?

It has been a pleasant surprise that the most highly recommended commenters support Bernie. But if his candidacy takes a turn for the worse after the Ides of March, I wonder how many people will turn on a dime and support Hillary as the Lesser Evil.

I especially loathe the Clothespin Voters. "I will hold my nose and vote for her."

And then there's ye olde Supreme Court excuse. "I think she's one of the worst war criminals the world has ever known, but as long as she respects my right to choose, what do I care about how many foreigners she drones to death?"

And finally, the sanctimonious castigating the "low information" voter who acts against his or her best interests is a common ploy among the Lesser Evilists.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Karen Garcia, for yet another spot on polemic. My only regret about playing the fear card is that Bernie has abdicated it to Hill by publicly announcing at the outset he will support the Democrats regardless who is nominated.

pipin said...

I noticed the same thing about comments on Editorial Board Editorials. 1st time I have ever ever seen it. The way I see it is they are playing their cards close. Which is a shame for a supposed liberal rag in the nomination season. The right in a spastic fit of openess are doing what the left has always claimed their mantle. An ironic twist of fate that could poison the well for liberalism, by keeping quiet about a brokered convention they feel is inevitable. I imagine Ryan prevailing but it could be anyone they deem feasable to beat Hillary. Republican elite got a two fold problem. They are playing with fire in the Senate races if that whole Supreme Court debacle comes front and center. They won't want to loose both the Presidency ( which isn't really a loss with Hillary - and they know it) and the Senate. Do you have a feel if Bernie could use this model to boost his chances? One thing is for sure. That NYTimes board WILL be reading those comments, everyone loves a Zombie movie!!

General Jinjur said...

Jay–Ottawa said...

A fine link indeed, General J. Thanks much. Revealing, but so discouraging. Me, as everybody knows, I try always to find a silver lining in the news. For instance, if the corporate tax giveaway by Dems & Reps United becomes law alongside the simultaneous takeover of the Treasury by Larry Fink––

on that, see...

––Americans will end up too broke to move far from their shacks or bridge shelters. Because they'll be down to a choice between food or fuel. Grass will grow tall in the cracks of highways and what's left of the Commons across America. Such a conversion of our infrastructure to the green side will appease Mother Nature and help push back, at least for a little while, the otherwise unaddressed effects of global warming.

Meredith NYC said...

Clinton Warren Ticket is being contemplated? Omg. W. Post opinion---

“Clinton must make Elizabeth Warren her vice president”
By Dana Milbank March 4


“....Trump’s bigotry and xenophobia are a disgrace to the party.
But Democrats would be foolish to think this guarantees victory for Clinton in November, because, for all his faults, Trump has an advantage: He connects with Americans feeling economic anxiety. With his talk of China “killing us” on trade and Mexico “destroying us” on manufacturing jobs, he has the potential to best Clinton in an area that traditionally benefits Democrats: a perception that he cares about the problems of ordinary Americans.

This “empathy gap” propelled President Obama past Mitt Romney in 2012 and nearly allowed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to topple Clinton in the primaries. If Clinton can’t fix the problem, it could doom her in November.

But there is, in this case, a silver bullet for Clinton: She can make Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) her running mate.

Though formal deliberations have yet to begin, the notion of a Clinton-Warren dream team has already been contemplated at Clinton’s campaign headquarters in Brooklyn. And there is likely to be more such talk, for several reasons:

Putting the liberal icon on the ticket would reunite the party and energize Sanders supporters who feel Clinton didn’t go far enough in adopting his theme of economic justice.

An all-female ticket would electrify Democrats and widen a gender gap that is already wide enough to swallow Trump, long accused of misogyny.

Above all, Warren’s passionate populism would provide a perfect antidote to the oft-bankrupt billionaire Trump. If Clinton embraced Warren, and more of her agenda, she could match Trump’s appeal to disaffected, white, working-class voters.

..... Asked whether Clinton “cares about the needs and problems of people like you,” only 42 percent said yes — a strikingly low number for a Democrat. Sanders rated 61 percent in the poll, and Obama (though not the best at establishing bonds with the common man) has generally been in the high 60s.

Clinton scored only six points better than Trump. Compare that with summer 2012, when Obama enjoyed a 22-point advantage over Romney on a similar question.”

Jay–Ottawa said...

"If Clinton embraced Warren, and more of her agenda...."

C'mon. The story is ridiculous. Think about it: you'd agree to vote for Hillary if Warren were standing beside her at the close of the Democratic Convention this summer? People who respect Warren won't if she lets herself be used by Hillary. Hillary would suck all the credibility out of Warren. A Hillary-Warren matchup on the Dem side is as likely as a Trump-Nader combo on the Rep side.