July 09th, 2018 (Opinion) — With the outrage over separating families at the border and the prospect of another conservative Supreme Court Justice, Clinton Pallbearers are once again pointing fingers at Sanders and Stein supporters. Never mind that Gary Johnson Voters (4.49 million) far exceeded the Jill Stein Voters (1.46 million) in the general election and both establishment candidates generated another abysmal voter turnout with 45 percent not voting at all, the Clintonites primarily blame the “Bernie Bros” for her loss. Therefore, I felt the need to respond to the recently resurrected, all-too-simplistic challenge of whether I still feel good about my Stein “Protest Vote.”
Unequivocally, yes. It wasn’t a protest vote though. That is the establishment’s self-serving diminution of my vote’s meaning. It is my inalienable right to say with my vote who stood for my principles. Who I trusted with the immense power of running government. I refused to endorse either of the two evil candidates, let alone make the choice of the lesser of the two.
Donald Trump did not even merit consideration. Not for a moment. His incompetence and racist appeal to nativism were clear from the beginning. Further, it was entirely obvious he was preying upon those suffering from the economic deprivation of neoliberal capitalism, promising populist measures to “make America great again.” It didn’t matter to Trump that they were false promises. For Trump, “winning” was all that mattered.
Without public service beforehand, Trump had no political track record to judge. Although there is no way to be sure of this, we can presume that Trump cleverly realized that in our American political culture, there is no penalty for lying. Especially since there is no recall or snap-election method for unseating a President. So he lied repeatedly to make himself look better or his competition look worse. Further, while the mainstream news media reported on obvious lies from time to time, they rarely challenged him directly. Instead, they soaked up his reality-star ratings.
For a Progressive, the man provided essentially nothing appealing. At least nothing that we could trust he would deliver.
In comparison, Clinton had obvious drawbacks. Clearly, she lacked charisma for a wide segment of the voter population. Her supporters were fervent, but a majority of people were unenthusiastic to say the least. She had glaring faults, such as illegally using a private email server for government business; refusing to reveal what she said at private speaking engagements, later having it revealed that she said “you need both a public and a private position;” questionably selling access to the Secretary of State office for donations to her campaign and the Clinton Foundation; and Bill Clinton’s $66 million in corrupt contracts in anticipation of Hillary’s win. Essentially, she was the quintessential corrupt politician in a year of raging anti-establishment feelings.
Yet most important to me was that Clinton belongs in the Hague.
Hillary Clinton talks to Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal during a meeting on Syria in Paris, April 19, 2012. Jacques Brinon | AP
Therefore, how could I endorse either of these establishment candidates? I understood the menace of a Trump presidency, but I could not vote for a war criminal either. To do so would be an endorsement of her crimes. I will never again overlook such actions and explicitly provide my approval.
Ask a Clinton supporter about voting for someone with this track record and they will respond “but Trump is worse.” Perhaps, but in voting for Clinton they are knowingly saying her foreign policy that destroyed the lives of so many millions was acceptable. Further, if indeed Trump is worse, shouldn’t a liberal not have voted for either? Wouldn’t that be the moral thing to do?
After losing the general election, Clinton did not lead the near instantaneous citizen revolt against Trump’s anti-women, anti-minority, anti-immigrant, anti-environment, anti-public education and pro-war policies. In fact, she was nowhere to be found. As the Los Angeles Times reported, “‘The aftermath of the election was so devastating,’ Clinton said [at] the Women in the World Summit . . . ‘I had to make up my mind I was going to get out of bed, yes; I was going to take walks in the woods, yes.’”
Thereafter, one of her first political statements, if not the first, was calling for a no-fly zone in Syria. To enforce such a move would have required an act of war against Russian planes already there at the request of a sovereign government. Clinton called for confronting a nuclear-armed Russia that already was legitimately worried after NATO had moved right up to Russia’s borders and then started conducting war games there. The war criminal has continued to show her true colors and the Clinton Pallbearers wanted me to turn the military and security agencies and their $1 trillion of annual expenses over to her?
My own view of Clinton’s militarism may not have been the most common reason for Progressives not to support Clinton, but almost all Progressives felt they were robbed of a fair election process for the Democratic nomination.
The most obvious act of the DNC undermining of the Sanders campaign appeared with the timing of the Primary Debates. Six were held, but were scheduled for the least optimal times for viewership. Clearly, this hampered an insurgent challenger playing catch-up with the anointed front-runner. The DNC also limited Sanders chances by adding a new rule limiting the Democratic nominees to 6 debates. The rule was singularly determined by DNC Chair, and 2008 Clinton Campaign Co-Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, despite dissent from her DNC Vice Chairs.
Another glaring undemocratic move was the negotiation of over 400 Super Delegate votes prior to the announcement of anyone’s candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination. The process of having Party insiders casting ballots separate and apart from the popular primary vote was intended to change the candidate in case the popular vote resulted in a candidate who had no chance of winning the general election. Instead, Clinton, with the complicity of the DNC, used the Super Delegates to create a head start of 9% of the total delegate vote. In reporting the standings in the race by number of Delegates, the mainstream media would dutifully include the Super Delegates throughout the primaries, giving Clinton an appearance of an insurmountable lead. This despite the fact that the Super Delegates were not obligated to cast their ballots until the Democratic Party Convention.
Throughout the primaries, this had a significant visual impact on most voters. For example, after Sanders had essentially tied Clinton in Iowa and overwhelmingly won New Hampshire, Clinton held 451 Super Delegates (9.5% of the Delegates needed to win the nomination) to 19 (0.4%) for Sanders. So while the two states provided only 52 regular delegates and 68 in total, Clinton held a commanding lead when including the pledged Super Delegates of all the states. In short, from the outset of the primaries, backroom deals provided Clinton with 18.9% of the Delegates she needed to win the Democratic nomination (9.5%/50.1%) and the mainstream media maintained her status as the ultimate candidate throughout the process.
A woman holds a sign that reads “Ignoring DNC’s Corruption Condones It!” as Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign rally in Commerce City, Colo., Aug. 3, 2016. Andrew Harnik | AP
As Counterpunch reported, there is ample evidence for investigative reporter Greg Palast’s outright accusation that Clinton and the DNC cheated. For example, Clinton beat Sanders by 0.2% in Iowa, a virtual tie. Yet the state party never sent “vote counters to the most rural parts of the state, where Bernie was favored over Hillary. About 5% of Iowa caucus votes were never counted.” “Voters in pro-Sanders precincts in Arizona faced long lines because pro-Hillary elections officials didn’t provide enough voting booths.” In New York, “arguably the most important contest of the primary season,” in the borough of Brooklyn where Sanders was born and had a huge following, “at least 125,000 New Yorkers were illegally purged from the rolls, had their votes lost/thrown away, or were not permitted to vote due to broken voting machines – all in Brooklyn.” In California, “state election officials . . . didn’t bother to count a whopping 2.5 million provisional ballots.”
Further, in Chicago, by law ordinary citizens are able to observe audits of the voting machines. When they saw and documented election workers change hand count tabulations to match the electronic tallies, and reported this to the Chicago Board of Elections, their concerns were never addressed. For example, in one precinct the hand count was changed to delete 21 Sanders votes and increase 49 Clinton votes to match the computerized tally. This represented 20% of the total vote in that precinct. Obvious evidence of election fraud from electronic voting machines was never considered a threat to the integrity of our election system though.
Wikileaks’ release of e-mails provided incredible insight to how undeserving Clinton was as a candidate. One such email “with the header *CLINTON ADMITS SHE IS OUT OF TOUCH* – is from a Goldman Sachs-Black Rock event in 2014 in which Clinton discusses her distance from middle-class Americans.” The DNC e-mails also showed many actions and plans that did or would have undermined the Sanders campaign. Shockingly, one e-mail suggested a question could be planted at a Sanders event to ask him if he believes in God to undermine his chances. Another email suggested undermining Sanders by constructing “an anti-‘Bernie narrative’ focusing on the fact that he ‘never ever had his act together.’” One email thread shows the DNC discussing an apparent problem of Bernie pushing for a $15 minimum wage and “a more balanced position regarding Israel and Palestinians.” DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz clearly showed hostility to Sanders, referring to his campaign manager as a “damn liar” and an “Ass.” RT reported how DNC worked “in close contact with news websites” with one email thread discussing how the DNC should direct how an article’s title and content should be changed. Another e-mail revealed how “an influential reporter at Politico made an apparent ‘agreement’ with the Democratic National Committee to let it review a story about Hillary Clinton’s fundraising machine before it was submitted to his editors.”
The fallout from the Wikileaks release ultimately forced the resignations of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC CEO Amy Dacey, communications director Luis Miranda, and chief financial officer Brad Marshall. Even if a Clinton supporter were to suggest the e-mails were not significant, they were apparently bad enough to clean house.
Furthermore, Clinton likely violated campaign laws by raising money for the state Democratic parties, only to see that money immediately moved back to the DNC. As Politico reported, “the Democratic front-runner says she’s raising big checks to help state committees, but they’ve gotten to keep only 1 percent of the $60 million raised.” In addition, Counterpunch reported that Clinton offered to jointly raise funds through the Hillary Victory Fund and thereby gained the Super Delegate pledges.
All of these revelations, well before November 8, should have led to Clinton’s resignation. They did not and so many of her supporters that I addressed refused to acknowledge the impropriety of the entire Primary process. It did not matter to them, their candidate was winning. Yet it mattered to other voters who already distrusted Clinton.
So to return to my own view of not voting for Clinton, if someone won’t contest election fraud, they have no place questioning my vote.
As soon as Wikileaks revealed the e-mails, damage control at the Clinton Campaign and the DNC took over. The DNC never denied the authenticity of the e-mails, but they did change the conversation by blaming Russia. Consider the implications of this.
The DNC subverted democracy by rigging the primaries in what few would argue is effectively an exclusively two-party system. Instead of facing the fact that at least one half of our election system is in fact not democratic, the Democratic Party blamed our most potent military rival with whom we already have recently strained relations. So not only was the most “experienced” candidate colluding in undermining democracy but to cover her tracks she was gambling with world peace and nuclear war. (Clinton continues to this day to blame Russia despite any proof being delivered to the public yet.)
What has been lost in all of this discussion is the purpose of primaries, the process for a party to decide on the candidate most likely to succeed in the general election. When the DNC decided it was going to do everything it could to help Clinton win, it effectively said we know better than the voters who has the best chance to win in the general.
They entirely missed the point of a primary. Not only is this process supposed to be about a public discussion and a response to the political desires of the voters in a democracy, it also serves to decide who is the most likely to win in a general election. In other words, if you can’t get enough votes in the primary to win, you’re far less likely to do better in the general election than the real primary winner.
This Democratic backroom judgment failed and now the bosses want to blame the cheated for not playing ball. So not only have they not admitted their guilt and the complete failure of their judgment, they want to blame the very Americans who they cheated out of a democratic process.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of establishment Democrats challenging Progressives is their insistence that Progressives put Trump in office. There is only one way to explain this fuzzy math — entitlement. Each Progressive who voted for Stein or did not vote at all did not increase Trump’s vote count by one vote. The vote count between the establishment candidates was the same before and after Progressive votes or no votes. So the only explanation for the establishment Democrat suggestion that Progressive votes changed the election is that Clinton was entitled to them. If we chose not to vote for Clinton, we deprived her of the votes she needed to win. This is how establishment Democrats have pressed their self-righteous demands on Progressives.
Progressives would also like to know why is there so much focus on them and not the Interstate Crosscheck system that purged millions of voters in 28 states. “The Crosscheck list disproportionately threatens solid Democratic constituencies: young, black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters,” yet the Democratic Party rarely spoke of this during and after the election. After the Florida voter purges that cost Al Gore the election in 2000, one would think that the Democrats would focus on this systemic voter disenfranchisement rather than further alienating the Progressive base of the Democratic Party.
Jill Stein speaks at a news conference in front of Trump Tower on her recount efforts in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Dec. 5, 2016, in New York. Mark Lennihan | AP
Further, it was Jill Stein, who the Clinton Pallbearers blame in part for Clinton’s loss, that filed suit for recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. In the eyes of a political leader that stands up for democracy, the election irregularities merited a recount even if they would not have changed Stein’s own outcome. Michigan provides a glaring example. “Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes. But a record 75,335 votes were never counted. Most of these votes that went missing were in Detroit and Flint,” which almost certainly would have flipped the state. If all three states went to Clinton, she would have won the electoral college and therefore the election. Yet the establishment of the Democratic Party did not support the recounts and fight the lawsuits the Republican Party filed after the recounts started. Why? We may never know the real reason, but the Clinton Pallbearers continue to blame Sanders and Stein instead.
Clearly, the establishment Democrats should be asking why didn’t more people vote for Clinton instead of blaming others for their loss. What did Clinton and the leadership of the Democratic Party do wrong to lose the support of the People? How is it Clinton failed to trounce the horrible competition she faced — almost laughably, the one opponent she and her election team preferred to face?
After all, isn’t it quite revealing that the establishment felt compelled to rig the primaries in Clinton’s favor? Shouldn’t that have told them how weak a candidate they knew she was, that she couldn’t be relied upon to win a free and fair election on her own
Lastly, the only way I will ever accept my choice being called a protest vote is if establishment Democrats acknowledge the primary was insurmountably rigged on Clinton’s behalf and that I never had a fair democratic process in which to participate. So if they want to call it a protest vote, fine. I protested the way the Democratic Party corrupted the primaries and in no way was I willing to support the candidate that received her anointment while cheating democracy. Especially after Clinton hired Debbie Wasserman Schultz immediately upon the latter’s resignation in disgrace. Clinton effectively said, “you did your job Debbie, now come work for me directly. We have your back regardless of the damage you did to the faith of the voters. After all, you did it for me.”
The loss to possibly the worst adversary ever is on the cheating Democrat leadership. Not only did Clinton not earn my vote with her militarism and corruption, but she effectively assured she wasn’t going to get it when she hired Debbie Wasserman Schultz. My vote for a third-party candidate standing against war did not elect President Trump.
Top Photo | Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves to the crowd as she takes the stage to speak during the fourth day session of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 28, 2016. Andrew Harnik | AP
Ian Berman is an entrepreneur and former corporate banker at leading global banks in New York City. He now focuses on financial advisory services and writing about representative government, equitable public policies and ending American militarism and Israel’s continuing colonization of Palestine. He is the Co-Founder of Palestine 365, the Ongoing Oppression and its predecessor, Palestine 365, on Facebook.
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