With Trump Sure to Lose, Forget About a Progressive Clinton
With the nominating convention over and the struggle with Bernie Sanders behind her, Hillary Clinton is triangulating sharply to the right, “scooping up the dollars” and the endorsements of elites “shaken loose in the great Republican wreck,” writes Thomas Frank at The Guardian.
She is reaching out to the foreign policy establishment and the neocons. She is reaching out to Republican office-holders. She is reaching out to Silicon Valley. And, of course, she is reaching out to Wall Street. In her big speech in Michigan on Thursday she cast herself as the candidate who could bring bickering groups together and win policy victories through really comprehensive convenings.
Things will change between now and November, of course. But what seems most plausible from the current standpoint is a landslide for Clinton, and with it the triumph of complacent neoliberal orthodoxy. She will have won her great victory, not as a champion of working people’s concerns, but as the greatest moderate of them all, as the leader of a stately campaign of sanity and national unity. The populist challenge of the past eight years, whether led by Trump or by Sanders, will have been beaten back resoundingly. Centrism will reign triumphant over the Democratic party for years to come. This will be her great accomplishment. The bells will ring all over Washington DC.
In this ironic and roundabout way, Trump may prove to be a disaster for the reform politics he has never really believed in. Indeed, it would be difficult to find a leader who could discredit populism more thoroughly than this compassion-free billionaire. For Friedman’s beloved “elites”, I predict that Trump will come to serve an important symbolic purpose. Trump loves to boast that he is immune to the scourge of money in politics, that he’s nobody’s puppet, and from his coming ruin and disgrace we will no doubt be told to draw many lessons about how money in politics actually helps prevent the rise of people like Trump and makes the system more stable.
For decades, the Davos set have told us that doubt about “globalization” was a species of racism, and soon Trump, as a landslide loser, will confirm this for them in overwhelming terms.
My friends and I like to wonder about who will be the “next Bernie Sanders”, but what I am suggesting here is that whoever emerges to lead the populist left will simply be depicted as the next Trump. The billionaire’s scowling country-club face will become the image of populist reform, whether genuine populists had anything to do with him or not. This is the real potential disaster of 2016: That legitimate economic discontent is going to be dismissed as bigotry and xenophobia for years to come.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.Wait, before you go…
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