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Bernie or Bust? Hillary or Trump? What’s a good progressive to do?

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook the following question, concerning this year’s presidential election:

Quick poll: Do any of you know either:

1) Someone who would vote for Sanders over Trump, but would vote for Trump over Clinton.
2) Someone who would vote for Clinton over Trump, but would vote for Trump over Sanders.
3) Someone who would vote 3rd party or stay home if the choices are Clinton vs. Trump
4) Someone who would vote 3rd party or stay home if the choices are Sanders vs. Trump

I know a person in one, but only one, of these categories. If you know someone (or are someone) in one of these categories, which is it?

My response:

I am a die-hard progressive and a policy/history wonk, to boot, and to me it is abundantly clear that Sec. Clinton is the candidate in the race most closely associated with genocidal policies abroad and institutionalized racism at home. When it comes to policy, she is the living incarnation of all that Trump has come to represent. The victims of policies she has championed over her long, self-serving career number in the MILLIONS, and they are disproportionately black, Muslim, Latino, and POOR. Furthermore, she is a very dishonest politician, completely under the control of Wall Street crooks, industry lobbyists, and neocon warmongers.

For these reasons, I WILL be tempted to vote for Trump over Clinton, if it comes to that (IT WON’T, because Bernie’s going to win).

The sad state of U.S. politics in the 21st century means that a loopy, ugly, dangerous, non-establishment figure, Donald Trump, stands well to the left of Sec. Clinton on SO MANY issues. Also, I don’t believe that Trump is actually some kind of hardcore racist — rather, he’s a shrewd, cynical, and opportunistic politician who understands the toxic environment in which he’s operating. Like Hillary Clinton, Trump is not above a little race-baiting demagoguery in order to win a primary race (Hillary’s conduct in the 2008 primary was as appalling as anything “The Donald” has vomited up). Color of Change co-founder James Rucker has offered a good summary of Clinton’s racist tactics against Barack Obama: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/can-black-people-trust…

To be clear, I think that Donald Trump has said MANY reprehensible things, and I strongly dislike the man and all he represents (please review my “Donald Dump” political cartoon). But at least he holds out some promise of pulling back from the neo-fascist establishment’s monstrous agenda. That agenda, led by Third Way Democrats and Republicans both, is predicated on entitlement-slashing austerity, TPP-promotion (slavery overlooking, national sovereignty effacing “trade” pacts), and endless genocidal wars, with the U.S. supporting al Qaeda and ISIS, even, when it suits Washington’s regime-change agenda. And then there’s the fact that President Obama has devoted his time in office to stealthily restarting the Cold War, backing Nazis in Ukraine and endlessly, needlessly, provoking both Russia and China.

So, let’s not be reductive. Today’s “Democrats” are the most radical right-wingers in our nation’s history, when it comes to POLICY. “Democrats” like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have achieved virtually all of the most extreme policies on the far-right’s long held wish list, including beginning to tear down the famed “Third Rail” under Obama… and then there’s NAFTA, mass-incarceration/disenfranchisement of blacks, HeritageCare, the end of Glass-Steagall, permanent terrorism-fueling wars, hunting journalists and whistleblowers like spies, and the destruction of the Bill of Rights in the name of “fighting terrorism.”

Sure, their rhetoric is far superior to that of the GOP, but that is a simple matter of BRANDING. 90% of today’s Democrats work for the same mass-murdering, biosphere-destroying, freedom-despising, rule of law-dismantling, middle class-crushing FASCISTS as the Republicans do. In fact, as Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford has beautifully surmised, Third Way Dems are NOT the “lesser evil” but the “more effective” of two evil brands, representing the very same interests. Michelle Alexander, in her recent piece for The Nation, has pretty much concurred. BRANDING isn’t everything. And liberal rhetoric, while important, means next to nothing when the substance — the REALITY — is grotesquely, appallingly evil.

In other words, sometimes we have to consider the history and the POLICIES that the candidates have championed. And on that front, Hillary Clinton is one of the most terrifying right-wingers I have ever seen coming for the presidency (#2 after GWB). Trump isn’t far behind, but at least he’s rhetorically interested in reversing the neoliberal/neocon agenda that poses the most significant threat to humanity.

One final point: if a President Trump comes into power (please, NO), the Democratic base might remember to care every once in a blue moon about habeas corpus, torture, indefinite detention, Wall Street plunder, and endless war… Hell, they might even lift a finger to stop fracking, deep-water drilling, and the collapse of the oceans. Whereas under a second President Clinton (please, please, NO), it will be straight back to Nappy Time for the left, while the far-right establishment rolls forward over the Earth’s grave.

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