Donald Trump Frees Us to Vote as We Wish
By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese
Once again, Democrats are trying to herd voters into voting Democratic based on fear of the Republican. Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant warns that there will be a propaganda wave advocating “we must unite to stop Trump.” The fear of Donald Trump, fueled by his attacks on women and racial and ethnic groups, really is unwarranted, because Trump’s self-destructive campaigning is leading to a landslide loss. The reality is that Trump frees people to vote for what they want, not against what they fear.
The task this year, as Black Lives Matter activist Kwame Rose points out, is to defeat Trump and Hillary Clinton. But the bigger task is to reject the two big-business parties and build a third party that can challenge the status quo. The country will transform when the corporate-financed party’s multi-decade stranglehold is broken and a mass movement challenges whomever is in office. As Sawant points out, the 1968 election showed that the anti-war movement was more important than who was elected, as Nixon was forced to do many things he did not want to do on war, the environment and worker’s rights. This would have been unlikely under a Democratic president.
The media will join in the frenzied fear of Trump because it builds profits. They will not tell you that a landslide is imminent, because their advertising dollars go up if Trump competes well, and they are looking at hundreds of millions in profits from election ads.
Here’s the truth—and the Brexit vote result will not change it: Trump is not building campaign infrastructure, has very little funding and minimal staff, and is the most unpopular nominee in history. The Electoral College map is so weighted toward Democrats that he cannot overcome it.
The May Federal Election Commission report revealed a lot about the Trump campaign.
- Trump has just 69 people on payroll, compared with Clinton’s 685.
- Trump’s campaign spending showed no signs of building national campaign infrastructure. The Trump campaign spent only $48,000 on data management and $115,000 on online advertising. These expenditures should be in the hundreds of thousands for a national presidential campaign.
- Trump is spending on himself, with 10 percent of campaign spending going to Trump companies and family members, including $4.6 million spent on his airplanes and over $500,000 in rent and utilities spent on Trump companies ($493,000, for instance, to rent Trump facilities such as Mar-A-Lago, $26,000 to rent the Trump National Doral Miami golf course for one event and another $11,000 on Trump’s hotel in Chicago). Five thousand dollars went to Eric Trump Wine Manufacturing, and $4.7 million was spent on hats and T-shirts from Ace Specialties, owned by a board member of Eric Trump’s charitable foundation.
- Trump reported just $1.3 million in cash on hand, less than the defunct Ben Carson and Ted Cruz campaigns and less than 121 congressional campaigns; Clinton reported $42.5 million.
- Trump raised $3 million in May; Clinton raised $26 million. Republicans donors are refusing to fund his campaign because they do not want any part of a campaign with little prospect of success or one that spent the primaries criticizing them as unnecessary.
- In the face of this, Trump is saying he will self-fund his campaign, but his personal funding is inadequate against the billion-dollar Clinton campaign.
- The Trump campaign has not aired a television advertisement since he secured the nomination and has not booked any advertising for the summer or fall. Clinton and her allies spent nearly $26 million on advertising in June alone.
The lack of organization makes coming back from record-high negative ratings hard to imagine. Perhaps with the firing of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, the campaign will turn the corner, but it has a steep uphill climb to catch Clinton.
The key poll finding is that 55 percent of voters say they could never support Trump. Even worse are his negatives with specific groups. An ABC News poll found nearly unanimous negative views among blacks, with 94 percent seeing him negatively; 89 percent of Hispanics agree. Among whites, 59 percent view him negatively. Among women, Trump has a sky-high negative rating of 77 percent, and among voters under 50, 76 percent view him negatively.
But the really bad news for Trump is the Electoral College map. Clinton is building organizations in every state, but especially in the eight so-called battleground states. She starts out with 247 of the 270 votes she needs. She is planning to spend $145 million on television ads in these battleground states through November (Trump has no spending planned). All she has to do is win Florida, one state of the eight, and she wins the election. Currently, she has an eight-point lead in Florida, hardly a battleground-state number.
The other battleground states may not exactly prove to be battlegrounds, either. They are all states that Obama carried in both his elections, except one—North Carolina, which he won once. Clinton is projected to win all 10 June polls for North Carolina by an average of 5.8 percent.
It will become evident that there will be only a couple of real battleground states. Right now, it looks like these will be Ohio and New Hampshire, but they will be irrelevant because Clinton will win a large majority without either. That means all of the country will be a “safe state.”
The reality is that Clinton could win all the battlegrounds and some normally Republican states, too. An Electoral College landslide for Clinton is likely in 2016.
Let’s try to imagine Trump overcoming all these realities and somehow winning. He would be a weak president. He would be facing a Democratic Senate, maybe even a Democratic House (certainly one with a smaller majority of Republicans). The remaining Republicans will be worried about the 2018 midterm elections and will distance themselves from Trump. His agenda will be blocked by Congress.
Clinton, on the other hand, will be a strong president, with a supportive Congress. She will be able to push her agenda, as Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein calls it, of “war, Wall Street and Wal-Mart.” She really is the greater danger, because she will be the more effective evil, while Trump will be all rhetoric. Not only does a Clinton win mean a risk of more power for Wall Street through corporate trade agreements, it also poses a risk of more war, due to her belligerence toward Russia, China and multiple countries in the Middle East, Latin America and Africa.
Fear of Trump has been created to manipulate voters into voting for Clinton.
This year is an opportunity for people to vote for what they really want, rather than voting against what they don’t want. Trump has self-destructed so deeply that fear of electing him is a false fear. He is not a Hitler, but a David Duke without a political future.
Stein and the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson are already seeing large increases in their support. A recent CNN poll showed Stein at 7 percent nationally. That is more than three times what her support was in May and almost 2,000 percent ahead of where she finished in 2012. This is happening without any television or radio advertising. People are figuring out on their own that they do not have to vote for either big-business candidate and that there is a candidate they agree with.
Bernie or Bust is calling for people to emancipate themselves from the Democratic Party and register Green, in part to show the Democrats that they are serious about change, but also to continue the Sanders political revolution through November. They began the #GoGreen619 campaign on Juneteenth, because the goal is to declare emancipation from the Democratic Party and “unify our voices in a way that empowers us to transform our government.”
Other groups of Bernie supporters, All Things Bernie and Orange County for Bernie, have begun a campaign: Mass Exodus from the Democratic Party–Super Tuesday–Freedom from the Oligarchs. The campaign calls for people to help Sanders through the convention. Then, if Clinton is annointed, there will be a mass exodus from the Democratic Party on Tuesday, August 2, to renounce rule by the oligarchs.
Now that Sanders has made it clear he will not be running independent or Green, Movement for Bernie urges people to leave the Democrats and vote for Stein. Sawant says that the “movement should back Jill Stein as the strongest left alternative in the presidential election. …”
CNN’s poll found that both Clinton and Trump were viewed unfavorably by six out of 10 voters; only three out of 10 were excited about voting for either, and a minority said they would be proud if either were president. In fact, bare majorities of people from their own parties said they would pick Clinton or Trump as their party’s nominee.
The dislike of Clinton by Sanders supporters is becoming a major challenge for her campaign. A Bloomberg poll found that 45 percent of Sanders voters will not support Clinton. In addition, voters realize that votes for Johnson and Stein votes will balance each other out, so that both Trump and Clinton will lose support. Clinton is running to the right, getting Republican military and business support. The myth that Sanders moved her to the left is increasingly evident as false, so the divide is growing. This week, nearly all the Sanders campaign changes to the Democratic Party platform were defeated, including opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a living wage indexed to inflation, a carbon tax, fracking, calling for Israel to end the occupation and remove illegal settlements, and single-payer health care.
Voters say that they do not feel represented by either party, with 60 percent believing a third party is needed “because the Republican and Democratic parties ‘do such a poor job’ of representing the American people.” We have a record 50 percent of voters who consider themselves independent. Alicia Garza, a founder of Black Lives Matter, recently said that the two parties do not represent them and a third party is needed.
When voters realize that voting for a third-party candidate builds an alternative to the two big-business parties, support will increase. There are two achievable milestones. If a third-party candidate gets 5 percent, he or she will get federal matching funds in the next presidential election. If one gets 15 percent in the polls, he or she will be included in the presidential debates. This would allow 60 million Americans to hear views outside of the two oligarch parties. And the stronger the third-party challenge, the stronger the movement will be when making demands of the next president.
Voting for the lesser evil has created a downward spiral. The United States has the two most unpopular candidates from the big-business parties ever. Lesser-evil voting has given voters exactly what they didn’t want—a larger wealth divide, with bailouts for banks but not for people, as well as more wars and militarism. More voters see that lesser-evil voting does not work and realize if we do not vote for what we want, we always get what we don’t want.
This year, we can reverse that history. We can start creating a positive electoral spiral that builds a greater good. This year, people are free to vote for what they want, not what they fear.
Kevin Zeese is co-director of Popular Resistance and co-host of Clearing the FOG Radio. He worked for Ralph Nader’s campaign in 2004 and ran for Senate, nominated by the Green, Libertarian and Populist Parties, in 2006.
Margaret Flowers is co-director of Popular Resistance and co-host of Clearing the FOG Radio. She is running for Senate as the Green Party candidate, and she is honorary co-chair of the Green Party Presidential Nominating Convention.Wait, before you go…
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