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Message to The Clintons. Please Leave Politics and Never Come Back, (That Includes Chelsea)

Neoliberals Using Massive Gaslighting to Keep Masses Warm During Orange Mutant Reign.

The Clintons have done enough damage: Steven Strauss
They need to take their money, step away from politics and hope no one follows their example.

President Obama famously said a key element of his strategy is: "Don't do stupid s—." Hillary Clinton was unable to learn this simple lesson, despite losing to Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary (and serving in Obama’s Cabinet for four years thereafter). The Clintons, of all people, should have been aware of the challenges of a presidential campaign — yet, they still did an amazing number of stupid things.

Hillary Clinton and her allies have blamed her election loss on the investigation of her private email server — especially FBI Director James Comey’s letter telling Congress he was revisiting that investigation just days before the election. The unprecedented decision to put all of Clinton's emails on a private server, however, was made by her and her team. It should have been obvious to anyone that a secretary of State hosting her own email server, without even bothering to get approval from the State Department, in her own house, was going to seem odd and trigger questions.

Having created this ill-considered server, however, a little common sense would have suggested that Clinton ensure all her emails were properly archived before leaving government service. This would have, at least, blunted some of the negative publicity. Instead, she and her team couldn’t be bothered to do so, and we had two years of agonized prevarication and evasion about them.

Clinton wanted her own private email server to keep her personal matters from becoming public. Well, here’s some free advice to future presidential candidates: If you want to maintain your privacy, don’t run for public office. If Clinton wanted to maintain her privacy, she shouldn’t have run for president.

Fundraising for the Clinton Foundation resulted in more foolishness. Any high school graduate would have known that donations to the Clinton Foundation from the world's leading kleptocrats and autocrats (while she was serving as secretary of State) were going to raise questions.

More amazingly, did she really understand that she was planning to run for the American presidency? Based on what the Clinton Foundation did with its funds, it sure looks like the job she wanted was secretary general of the United Nations. The Clinton Foundation does excellent life-saving work in places such as Haiti, Colombia, Peru, Malawi, El Salvador, Rwanda and Tanzania, but it appears to do very little in the USA. Since Clinton's goal was the American presidency, more high-profile projects in places such as West Virginia or Flint, Mich., would have helped disadvantaged Americans and created real connections in communities where Clinton needed them.

From 2001 through 2015, the Clintons earned more than $ 150 million in speaking fees (and Hillary Clinton alone is estimated to have earned about $ 20 million of such fees from 2013 to 2015) often paid by the rich, infamous and/or kleptocratic — another very shortsighted move. Imagine if instead, Clinton had spent 2013 to 2015 giving free speeches at community colleges and high schools, in the Midwest and battleground states. It would have built a lot of support and goodwill.

Former president Bill Clinton, having been Arkansas attorney general and the subject of numerous investigations, is thoroughly familiar with our legal system. It should have been obvious to him that his drop-in on Attorney General Loretta Lynch (while the Justice Department was investigating his wife) would set off a firestorm of criticism. Further, if he hadn't dropped in on Lynch, she wouldn’t have had to recuse herself, thereby enabling Comey to step in and share with us his self-serving, unprecedentedly melodramatic opinions.

Every moment on the political campaign trail is precious. Clinton’s loss in Wisconsin, for example, might have resulted from her never having visited that state during the entire campaign. Yet, Clinton insisted on flying home most nights during the campaign season — a significant expense of money and, more important, of time and lost opportunities. Imagine if she had used those evenings for more rallies and more contact with local voters in the battleground states — to listen to their needs and

In my opinion, Donald Trump (relative to Clinton) has bigger conflicts of interest, is even more clueless about most Americans’ lives, appears to be a compulsive liar, and will likely be a disastrous president. Trump also managed to get a free ride from some of the news media, appealed to the worst in Americans, and benefited from Russian interference in our election.

Even so, a swing of about 100,000 voters, in three key states, would have given Clinton the presidency. Many voters (who had been Obama supporters) couldn’t develop enough enthusiasm for Clinton, however, to vote for her. I’m no fan of single-cause explanations, but I do believe the above mistakes contributed to her loss.

Because of this election, millions of Americans could lose their health insurance, and the Supreme Court might turn conservative and stay that way for a generation (probably endangering reproductive and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights).

Let me make a suggestion to Bill and Hillary Clinton: You’ve done quite enough damage. Keep your money and stay out of politics.

The Clintons have done enough damage: Steven Strauss

The Blind Spots Of Liberalism
What an impoverished small town tells us about the dangers of not taking class seriously.

I grew up in what could be called the California Appalachians. My town’s population was around a thousand, with a median household income of $ 37,000. The local public school consisted of a series of air-conditioned, double-wide trailers that served as classrooms for combined grades (first and second in one, third and fourth in another, and so on). The only permanent building was the administrative office.

The town had multiple saloons and churches, and a movie theater that doubled as the performance space for Christmas plays. There was one doctor, with an office and an x-ray machine. Main Street was two blocks long, with false fronts on every building, a train platform with one Amtrak departure per day, a community pool, and an active Lions Club that put on parades.

What had once been the main industries, mining and lumbering, had dissipated by the time my family arrived, and most of the populace seemed to be employed in some type of government or service sector job, owned a small business, or lived a subsistence life off of arts and crafts sold to holiday seekers heading further up the mountain to ski. A few gold prospectors still worked the river, but they didn’t appear to have much luck.

In this community, a shaved head was not a fashion statement, but a telltale sign of a louse infestation: only more affluent families could afford both the medicated shampoo and the spare time to comb all the nits out. While a girl with pretty locks might have been worth the effort, no one thought to waste such resources on a boy from a poorer home.

The official statistics claimed the town was over 90 percent white, but even that seemed low: other than a couple kids in the upper grades and a couple you might see down by the river or at the pool, knowing any child who was not identifiably white (or Christian, or even a native English speaker) was rare.

Even so, it would be hard to argue that life was set up in favor of all the children living there. Alcoholism was rampant, and so was food insecurity. Kids — well aware that playing by the rules was unlikely to get them fed any quicker — were already stealing food by the first grade.

Poorer children might eat at the homes of their better-off friends, but no one seemed to think much about the parents’ hunger. Perhaps they were blamed for their predicament — for not having finished high school, for not being able to find work, or for blowing the family’s cash at the saloon.

Mine was the kind of town that a classless identity politics forgets. The kind of town where being male or white or Christian wasn’t synonymous with having decent housing, proper medical care, or a steady job.

Elevating Elites

Politicians are remarkably adept at pitting the economically disenfranchised against the racially or sexually marginalized.

Fear of hitting a glass ceiling is set against the fear of having one’s wages stolen. Fear of never being able to love the way one wants to love is set against the fear of losing one’s job and being out on the street.

At times, liberal forms of identity politics can fall into this trap. The reactionary that blames the plight of workers on the breakdown of traditional marriage and porous borders has more in common with the liberal pundit who blames racism and homophobia on the ignorance of white workers than either would like to admit.

But it was not white working-class people who drafted the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that Bill Clinton signed into law in 1994. It was not struggling rural workers who sold this bill to the public by labeling young black men “super predators.”

The people in my small town did not own the private prisons that paidinmates $ 0.23 to 1.15 an hour, nor did they own the companies (like Whole Foods) that exploited prison labor. They were, however, hurt by the downward pressure that such labor schemes placed on workers’ wages.

Inevitably, the blind spots of classless identity politics benefit elites.

In one rarified area, the wage gap has apparently vanished: chief executive officers of America’s richest companies. But this means very little to, say, women in traditionally feminized occupations like nursing and home health care work. A $ 15 minimum wage would be a more significant win for feminism than gender parity for CEOs.

Similarly, in my childhood town, glass ceilings and the shattering of them didn’t improve the lives of those just trying to pick themselves up off the floor.” The Yahoo CEO’s gender, or the US president’s race, had very little impact on the average citizen’s life. It wasn’t of much consequence to them if a prominent CNN anchor was gay, or if a black woman was a media mogul, or if a past Olympian had gender reassignment surgery.

However, it did matter if their standard of living was simultaneously decreasing and the precarity of their job was endangering their children’s future.

Classless identity politics is a failure because it ends up elevating elites instead of recognizing the commonality all working-class and poor people share. We all experience oppression due to class, even if that oppression can be compounded by race, gender, or sexuality.

We must recognize, as a class, that working-class women have more in common with working-class men than they do with Marissa Mayer, and fight together to end exploitation of male and (particularly) female labor. We must recognize, as a class, that working-class LGBT people have more in common with working-class straight people than they do with Tim Cook, and fight to end all working-class oppression (particularly that based on sexuality).

Election Day

Since I lived there, the population of my childhood town has nearly doubled, fueled in part by telecommuting and cash migrating from Silicon Valley. Median income has risen to $ 47,000, but the median home price fell 43 percent between 2003 and 2013. The school has moved to more appropriate permanent buildings.

This November, the town (and 362 other Placer County, California precincts not unlike it) voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, 51.1 percent to 39.5 percent.

But it’s hard to blame sexism or racism for Clinton’s loss.

On Election Day, the people of Placer County also voted for Kamala Harris, a black woman, to be their US senator. Her vote share? 63 percent. And her vote tally? 16,178 more than Clinton’s.

The Blind Spots Of Liberalism

Clinton’s Failure With the Working Class Had Little to Do With Trump Voters

Liberals have spent much of the past month picking through the corpse of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and loudly arguing about how to write up the autopsy. Most of these (amateur, political) morticians believe that the deceased had its image poisoned by the FBI, the media, and, perhaps, covert Russian agents. But there’s been a lot of disagreement about whether that poisoning (in combination with a bout of pneumonia), would have been fatal, were it not for the victim’s self-inflicted wounds.

To get more specific and less metaphorical: A lot of progressives have argued that Clinton put too little emphasis on her economic agenda and spent too little time campaigning in the Upper Midwest — and that together, these two mistakes led a bunch of white, working-class Obama voters to lift Donald Trump into the White House.

Others have disputed this narrative, arguing that it understates how much of Clinton’s rhetoric and platform focused on working-class issues, while overstating the degree to which Trump’s support derived from economic anxiety, as opposed to white racial resentment.

This week, The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson offered one of the most comprehensive versions of this rebuttal, in a column titled “The Dangerous Myth That Hillary Clinton Ignored the Working Class.” In it, he argues that liberals’ complaints about Clinton’s messaging on the economy owe more to wishful thinking than empirical evidence.

[H]ere is the troubling reality for civically minded liberals looking to justify their preferred strategies: Hillary Clinton talked about the working class, middle class jobs, and the dignity of work constantly. And she still lost.

She detailed plans to help coal miners and steel workers. She had decades of ideas to help parents, particularly working moms, and their children. She had plans to help young men who were getting out of prison and old men who were getting into new careers. She talked about the dignity of manufacturing jobs, the promise of clean-energy jobs, and the Obama administration’s record of creating private-sector jobs for a record-breaking number of consecutive months. She said the word “job” more in the Democratic National Convention speech than Trump did in the RNC acceptance speech; she mentioned the word “jobs” more during the first presidential debate than Trump did. She offered the most comprehensively progressive economic platform of any presidential candidate in history—one specifically tailored to an economy powered by an educated workforce.

What’s more, the evidence that Clinton lost because of the nation’s economic disenchantment is extremely mixed. Some economists found that Trump won in counties affected by trade with China. But among the 52 percent of voters who said economics was the most important issue in the election, Clinton beat Trump by double digits.

Thompson proceeds to suggest that liberals have looked past these realities, because they point to a conclusion deeply threatening to the progressive project: “Clinton didn’t lose because the white working class failed to hear her message, but precisely because they did hear it.”

Which is to say: As the nation becomes more diverse, the white working class is becoming more chauvinistic in its attitude toward social welfare — they “support the mommy state, but only so long as it’s mothering them.” Thus, the Democrats will make few inroads by amplifying the populism of their economic policies and messaging: So long as the party is associated with diversity and anti-racism, such appeals will fall on deaf (and/or racist) ears.

Thompson’s piece makes some worthy points. The idea that white support for redistributive fiscal policies will decline as America becomes more racially and ethnically pluralistic is worth taking seriously. After all, the strongest welfare states in the world were established in some of the globe’s most racially homogenous countries. And some historians have argued that nativist restrictions on immigration passed in the 1920s may have been a precondition for the rise of the American welfare state over the decades that followed.

Still, Thompson’s central argument is unsatisfying for a reason highlighted in his piece’s final lines:

For liberals, pluralist social democracy is the project of the future, and any alternative falls somewhere between xenophobic and amoral. But what if the vast majority of white voters who voted for Trump aren’t interested in any version of that future, no matter who the messenger is?

The answer to this question, at least on the presidential level, is: That would be fine.

Few progressives would argue that Clinton could have won the “vast majority” of Trump voters with a sharper economic message. But she didn’t need to win the vast majority of them to take the White House — the presidential race was decided by 80,000 votes scattered across Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Considering that Clinton barely campaigned or advertised in those first two states, it seems bizarre to ascribe her loss to the fact that voters there heard her economic message too well.

More critically, though, even if we stipulated that every single Trump voter is an unreachable racist, Clinton would not be absolved of failing to reach the Rust Belt’s working class.

Many pundits (including myself) put a lot of post-election emphasis on the Obama-Trump voter — the white, midwestern proletarian who backed the first African-American president, and then voted for the demagogue who tried to delegitimize him.

But while there were Obama-Trump voters — and while margins in the Midwest were tight enough to make them significant — they still played a supporting role in the drama of November 8.

Clinton did not lose Obama’s strongholds in the Midwest solely because white working-class Democrats flipped to Trump, but also because many Democrats stayed at home or voted third party. In Slate, Konstantin Kilibarda and Daria Roithmayr make this case in stark detail, by comparing the 2012 and 2016 vote totals in the Rust Belt 5 — Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin:

Compared with Republicans’ performance in 2012, the GOP in the Rust Belt 5 picked up 335,000 additional voters who earned less than $ 50,000 (+10.6 percent). But the Republicans’ gain in this area was nothing compared with the Democrats’ loss of 1.17 million (-21.7 percent) voters in the same income category. Likewise, Republicans picked up a measly 26,000 new voters in the $ 50–$ 100K bracket (+0.7 percent), but Democrats lost 379,000 voters in the same bracket (-11.7 percent).

Notably, Clinton’s struggles with the Midwest’s working class transcended racial lines: She received 400,000 fewer votes from black, indigenous, and other people of color in the Rust Belt 5 than Obama did in 2012. (While newly passed voter suppression measures in Ohio and Wisconsin likely contributed to this drop-off, they aren’t sufficient for explaining it: The drop-off was also observed in states like Pennsylvania, where no such measures were enacted between 2012 and 2016).

Slate’s data does not account for county-level shifts in voting patterns and thus, likely understate the significance of the white, working class, Obama-Trump voter.

Nonetheless, Clinton didn’t need to win over a single white Trump voter to take Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. She just needed to turn out working class Democrats.

It’s possible that Clinton’s failure to do so was unrelated to her campaign messaging. But considering the size of the drop-off, the burden of proof should lie with the defense.

It’s undeniably true that Clinton put together a progressive economic platform that, if enacted, would have made a positive difference in the lives of working-class voters. And she did tout that platform in some of her most widely viewed public appearances.

But it’s also true that Clinton did not center her campaign on a single, simple economic narrative. Only 9 percent of the Democratic nominee’s appeals in paid advertisements referenced jobs or the economy — compared with 34 percent of Trump’s. And rather than tie Trump to his party’s unpopular fiscal agenda, Clinton often tried to distance her opponent from Paul Ryan and the rest of the Republican Party, in hopes of engineering a bipartisan rebuke of the demagogue. In prosecuting her case against Trump, Clinton put far more weight on his incompetence and hatefulness, than she did on the inferiority of his economic agenda relative to her own.

Even when Clinton addressed economic issues, she tended to do so in a piecemeal, technocratic way. She offered voters much more substance on economic policy than her opponent did, but far less clarity and concision. As Mike Konczal writes for Vox:

What were Clinton’s three things to benefit workers? There was policy everywhere, but none of it was clear to voters. An infrastructure deal — though would that even happen and didn’t Obama already try that?

Anyway, Trump promised to do it twice as big. After that, it wasn’t clear what was a priority. Stuff that actually would affect workers’ lives was presented in a technocratic and vague way. Clinton spoke of “short-termism” instead of bosses who would rather give money to shareholders than invest in their companies and workers. “Shadow banking” instead of “Wells Fargo was ripping you off and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau stopped it.”

Clinton still won the economic argument among voters who turned out Election Day, per exit polls. But it’s hard not to suspect that the relative lack of clarity and urgency in her economic message was one reason so many working-class Democrats decided to drive straight home after clocking out on November 8.

All of which is to say: There’s little evidence to suggest that Clinton lost the presidency because white working-class voters had a clear understanding of her excellent (but, from their perspective, disconcertingly anti-racist) economic platform; so little, one might even call that suggestion a dangerous myth.

Clinton’s Failure With the Working Class Had Little to Do With Trump Voters

Source: ONTD_Political

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