Best of Truthdig’s Reports 2016: Chris Hedges Prophesies Throughout the Election
Editor’s note: From Dec. 23 through New Year’s Eve, Truthdig is running a roundup of the top 10 stories of 2016 in the following categories: Live Blog, A/V Booth, Report, Book Review, Ear to the Ground, Cartoon, Film Review, Live at Truthdig and Truthdigger of the Week.
It should come as no surprise to regular readers of Truthdig that Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author and columnist Chris Hedges dominated our Report section in an election year that offered what many saw as a narcissistic authoritarian and an impenetrable servant of the rich.
The continuation of an aggressive shredding of social contracts throughout the English-speaking West since Hedges joined our pages in 2006 has made his plain-spoken message of radical resistance against injustice painfully relevant to a large—and growing—number of people.
In eight out of the 10 columns here, Hedges trains his pen on Democratic Party elites and their progressive challenger Bernie Sanders, and sketches the shadow that looms like an executioner over the United States. Of the remaining two columns, one is by economist C.J. Polychroniou and one by former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich.
In this interview with the transatlantic political economist C.J. Polychroniou, political philosopher Noam Chomsky speaks about the election, the state of the U.S. political system and the threat that Donald Trump poses to the world.
Leaked emails showed that Democratic elites helped elevate a buffoonish rival whom they saw as the perfect foil for Hillary Clinton. But the game they are playing—if they do not address rising inequality, despair and loss of civil liberties—will usher in an American fascism, Hedges warned in October.
Corporate Democrats rigged the primary elections, selling out Americans to Wall Street and stripping them of their civil liberties, Hedges wrote before the party’s convention took place. And then those Democrats wanted voters to be mute props in a political theater. Democracy will only come from the streets, Hedges wrote.
Liberals have no moral authority to preach to a dispossessed white working class about racism, multiculturalism, identity politics or diversity, Hedges wrote after a frustrated working class helped Donald Trump win the White House. The abject failure by liberals to fight for economic justice triggered the protofascist backlash embodied by Trump’s election victory, Hedges explained.
The collapse of our democratic institutions, the pillaging of the economy by the elites and the surrender of our most basic constitutional rights will be enshrined permanently into law, Hedges wrote in a portrait of what the United States could become under Trump.
By capitulating to the corporate machine, Bernie Sanders sold us out, Hedges wrote after the progressive challenger lost the Democratic Party’s primary. By calling on us to accept “reality,” Sanders mocked the reality his followers made possible, Hedges continued, adding that people will have to carry out the political revolution on their own.
When Sanders proved competitive after the initial contests in the Democratic Primary, Hedges wrote that no “movement” or “political revolution” will ever be built within the Democratic Party, and that the Sanders campaign was just one more betrayal of the left.
Back in February, Bill Clinton’s former labor secretary announced the death of the Republican Party, declaring it to be no longer a living, vital organization.
The fangs of a strengthened and emboldened police state will appear the moment Trump’s base realizes it has been betrayed, Hedges wrote shortly after Trump’s election.
Before the election was decided, Hedges accused college-educated elites of carrying out a savage neoliberal assault on the working poor on behalf of corporations. The nominations of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to the major parties’ tickets meant all of us were being made to pay for their works.