Marino de Medici: Not a good outlook for Trumpism or Clintonism
It has already started. The very columnist of the Washington Post who throughout the primary campaign lambasted Bernie Sanders as a grouchy old man with “pie in the sky ideas” and no chance to be elected is now claiming that the “socialist” candidate for the Democratic nomination will prove his worth by strongly supporting Hillary Clinton in the November presidential election.
For her part, the day after winning in Pennsylvania and other states, the former secretary of state reached out to Sanders praising him profusely for “challenging us to get unaccountable money out of politics.” Her husband, Bill Clinton, was not far behind in suddenly discovering something that Sanders has long been inveighing against, the dire impact of inequality upon American middle class and in a particular case, the decision of Carrier Corporation to take its production facilities to Mexico. In trying to appropriate Sander’s crusade, Hillary Clinton is now extolling her opponent’s impassioned effort to “close the gap of inequality”.
The Democratic establishment, Wall Street and the financial industry behind Hillary Clinton are ready to smother with love the rebel movement of Sen. Sanders. It is a significant move toward establishing the Clinton candidacy as the confluence of social and racial liberalism with finance-friendly economics.
Progressive economics as preached by Sanders appear to go over the head of the Democratic core constituencies, with two fundamental exceptions, the young and the independents. This is a big problem for Hillary for several reasons. Most of all, because these social and political aggregations are not about to accept Clintonism and the marginalization of Bernie Sanders, even though he may fail in his quest for the Democratic nomination. It all boils down whether the post convention developments will see a repeat of the ideological chasm that exploded in the Democratic Party in 1980 with the confrontation between Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy. The edge of Kennedy’s challenge was far too sharp to allow his insurgency to be neutralized by his loyalty as a party line Democrat. It was a challenge that left an indelible mark on the course of Democratic Party politics. Many Americans never forgot Kennedy’s parting words at the New York convention: “don’t give up.”
Bernie Sanders is perfectly capable of repeating that daring cry for change that propelled his campaign against the banks “too big to fail,” the corporate stranglehold on campaign financing and policies that lead to interventionism overseas. Clearly, this may be Sanders’ last hurrah for no other reason that the United States is not ready to fully embrace his style of social democracy. Granted, it is no longer the bad word that it was in the past but corporate America will never allow for the single payer system, a business that insurance companies will not let go of in favor of a state run health program as in the European model.
The sympathy of so many “millennials” for democratic socialism may not start an evolutionary transformation of America in the next decades. But one thing is quite apparent, it can throw a monkey wrench into the wheels of Clintonism in the November election, by abstention or opposition.
But then there is Donald Trump, who can throw the election into a work of political fiction with a spurious script to which Americans lamentably have become accustomed during the primary campaign. The campaign itself is not going to be pretty. In fact, it is quite possible that it may increase the negative percentages of both candidates. More than 57 per cent of Americans who were polled view Trump unfavorably. Hillary Clinton is in the same league, with 52 per cent unfavorable marks for her candidacy. These are historically disastrous marks for prospective candidates, truly a fight to the end. Not a good outlook, by any standard, for Trumpism or Clintonism.
Marino de Medici is a Winchester resident and formerly the dean of foreign correspondents in the United States.