Since the DNC Convention, there has been a trend among certain Clintonists to accuse third party voters of indulging in “selfishness,” “egoism,” or as expressed by Angela Davis, “narcissism.” If you are also saying these things, regardless of how you came to these conclusions, please let me ask you to consider it more carefully and to see the irony. After all, it does seem a bit selfish to bash away at others’ voting intentions because those intentions do not reflect what you want.
In any case, we get it. A vote for say, Jill Stein, is a wasted vote, a de facto vote for Trump, etc., so pinch your nose and vote for Hillary. This is the same mythology that has been self-perpetuating for decades, and like all myths, there is a modicum of truth to it. But beyond that, you ignore a much more important and dangerous irony: that Clintonism, at least in part, has played a role in making it possible for the rise of someone like Donald Trump. Trump, the monstrous bull in your china closet, is a member of a powerful class that has reaped enormous benefits, measured in wealth and influence, from twenty-five years of neoliberalism and corporate welfare—the economics of your party’s candidate.
Aside from escalating dangerous proxy wars in Syria and elsewhere, your Clinton Democrats have pushed for shredding public assistance, market deregulation, banking deregulation, derivatives deregulation, privatization, and trade deals that would make Ronald Reagan beam with contentment. Of course, some of this continued during the Bush years, but during those years we watched Democrats jump up and down on Capitol Hill applauding with support as if they wanted to be seen as more Republican than Republicans. The predictable result of this economic policy agenda has been some of the wildest economic crises in modern history, the destruction of the livelihoods for millions, and a deepening of economic apartheid in America. And while the wealth of the already wealthy compounds, Hillary collects hundreds of thousands in speaking fees from Wall Street. Your party’s corporate neoliberalism has served to destroy an authentically democratic system of checks and balances. Your party has made it clear that its principal constituents are the likes of Walmart and Wall Street, with a bone or two tossed to the rest. Is it such a shock, therefore, that so many now feel completely alienated by the Democratic Party leadership?
Trump supporters—mostly the unpolished and marginally educated types who will never be invited to your soirees or go to school with your kids—are rabid. Trump did not create these people, nor are they going to disappear when Hillary takes office. Trump himself might vanish from the political stage or, hopefully, end up in prison, but there probably will be another spine-chilling demagogue to take his place.
Putting this in a historical context, recall the speech delivered by Republican Senator, John Sherman, on the Senate floor as he was making a case for the first major piece of antitrust legislation over a century ago, “You must heed [populist] appeal or be ready for the socialist, the communist, the nihilist. Society is now disturbed by forces never felt before…” Perhaps now we can add the fascist to his list.
A true narcissist spends much time gazing in the mirror. In this reflection, you might soon see a new monster looming behind you in creepy Trump fashion, and you might also see standing behind him an ugly crowd of brown shirts.