I would like to begin with a short rant about the Democratic Party. I know it’s hard to look away from the war-drum-banging-border-wall-building-Obaaaamacare hating gangbang that is the GOP race, but please humor me.
People like to talk shit on the Republican Party a lot. I do it, you do it, anyone with a functioning cerebellum does it. It’s in the same spirit that you would make fun of a drunk uncle or a racist aunt. But I think it’s important that we call a spade a spade and recognize the Democratic Party is primarily composed of wimps, dorks, and stooges who generally get elected to national office by accident. The DNC should thank Political Jesus for sending them a young, charismatic savior in the form of Barack Obama to keep the party’s mojo alive from 2009 until now. Before Obama, the Democrats were a bunch of scattered children whose policies were more dependent on public polls than personal convictions. If they have any convictions at all. Case in point – Even after both (!) of Obama’s successful elections, they refused to associate with him for fear of political reprisal from Republicans.
It’s because the Republicans convinced the Democrats that Obama was an unpopular president with their classic three-pronged attack of Big Media, amphetamine-fueled pundits, and dark magick. They showed poll after poll showing how a slight majority of America didn’t approve of Obama, causing cowardly Democratic candidates to abandon ship en masse for fear of upsetting the Almighty Poll Gods. They were left with literally no other platform to run on other than “We’re not Republicans”, a dipshit tactic that already failed miserably in the unbelievably disappointing 2004 election.
Say what you will about the Republicans, but at least they have a clearly defined agenda. An evil agenda, but a well-defined one! Democratic values tend to exist in a kind of transparent, amoeba-like cloud that morphs based on how the voting public is polling. That’s why they always get their dicks handed to them in midterm elections when they have no leader or singular point to rally around.
To give you a sense of the ineptitude, let me elaborate on the 2014 midterm election. In case you forgot what happened leading up to those midterms, the Republicans in Congress shut down the government and almost nearly plunged the entire world into economic chaos less than a year before the election. And the Democrats STILL couldn’t figure out how to beat them. It would be like having a twin brother wreck the family car, but your parents still buy him a car instead of you because they still don’t consider you trustworthy enough.
Say what you will about the GOP, but their ability to pull their dysfunctional shit together in time for every
Thanksgiving election season is the main reason their brand is still relevant in our national government. This year, their stakes are higher than ever. In the 2016 election, their very existence is at stake. One more election cycle without the executive office means the GOP will likely eat itself in a conservative feeding frenzy that will tear the party apart. Romney’s loss in 2012 was blamed on him being too moderate. Yes, I’m serious. This year it’s a hardcore-conservative or bust. Even the current chaos taking place in the House will clear up in time for them to rally and vote lock step behind their Chosen One in the national. The GOP in the 2016 election will be like Frieza at the very end of his apocalyptic battle on Namek. Bloated with power, money, and hatred, they don’t give a damn whether they blow up the entire planet if it means victory against the hated Goku Democrats.
What does that mean in 2016? It means that whoever the Democrats end up nominating in 2016 needs to create a voter base that’s just as enthusiastic and motivated as the Republicans if they want to win. It means having a message. It means having an identity. It means having the constitution to withstand the ten plagues, demonic hellfire, and the armies of Hades that the GOP will unleash to take what back what belongs to them. And most of all it means getting people off their lazy asses to vote.
Let’s see if any of our contestants are up to the task:
THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEES
MARTIN “Junior” O’MALLEY
Martin O’Malley is the new heir to the John Edwards Award for most handsome presidential candidate, narrowly beating out Carly Fiorina. Let’s hope his career doesn’t take the same path as Mr. Edwards. He’s also the only one of the lesser three candidates (the others being Jim “Awkward Dad” Webb and Lincoln “Windsock” Chafee) to survive the initial debate purge. Here’s to you, Mr. Bronze Medal.
O’Malley is the 61st Governor of Maryland and former mayor Baltimore, a city well known for its dedicated commitment to crime and racial tension. His current claim to political fame is the implementation and development of CitiStat (and later its larger brother StateStat), a kind of comprehensive data compilation tool that allows a government agency like the police department to keep accurate records of crime, police response, and accountability across the city. Originally devleoped for use by the NYPD, it uses statistics to help monitor and gauge the effectiveness of a police force in areas that are crime hotspots. On the state level, StateStat creates a massive data portal that allows the public open access to information regarding the government. If you ever have trouble falling asleep, here’s the website.
I like Martin O’Malley a lot for several reasons. First and most importantly: He’s young. This is significant considering the rather advanced age of all the other Democratic candidates. Hillary will be 68 by election time (one year below also-ridiculously-old Reagan when he took office). Sanders will be 75. It illustrates the current problem with the Democratic field: They’re old as fuck. Not Supreme Court level of decrepit, but still pretty crusty.
For a group that strongly depends on young millenial support, it’s important that Democrats begin displaying candidates that look like they won’t be a hindrance in the grocery line. The Dumbledore-on-crank energy displayed by Bernie Sanders is the exception, not the rule. O’Malley represents the next generation of “young” Democrats (he’s 52) that will inherit the Party when the Great Clinton Wars are finally over. Other members of the young Democrats include Cory Booker (Senator from New Jersey and definitely probably a future presidential candidate), Julian Castro (probable running mate for Hillary), and Kirsten Gillibrand (New York Senator).
O’Malley also embraces a progressive agenda that falls somewhere on the spectrum between Hillary and Bernie. He espouses a lot of the traditional liberal (yay gay marriage, boo capital punishment, etc.) values while also keeping his rhetoric anti-corporate enough to appear groovy to the young kids. He did a masterful job during the debates of maintaining a proper, though boring balance between Bernie’s sweeping populism and Hillary’s focus-group approved pragmatism. It helped set him apart from Webb and Chafee’s babbling implosions and it made him look like the only other candidate that deserved to be on that stage next to Hillary and Bernie. It was my first impression of O’Malley outside of internet articles and I found myself extremely impressed. If I had a political Fantasy Football Team, he would be one of my early draft picks.
Obviously O’Malley has no real shot at the nomination with Berniemania sweeping the nation and Clinton keeping her pimp hand firm on the establishment, but he’s making the right moves to keep himself in our national conversation after the election is over. Playing footsie with Bernie and Hillary, in addition to his pre-existing credentials as a governor, will give him a solid shot at a Cabinet position or even the Vice Presidency if Julian Castro were to spontaneously burst into flames. Weirder things have happened. Right, Sarah?
BERNIE “The Rookie” SANDERS
Newton’s Third Law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This can be demonstrated in how the rabid fanboyism of the American Left has moved from a young, smooth talking black man from Chicago to a prickly old Jewish man from New Hampshire. In the last few months, Bernie has stolen the hearts, minds, and Facebook mini-feeds of progressives across the country with a somehow endearing combination of old man straight talk and manic populist idealism. Bernie’s fanatical devotion to truth telling has won him a considerable amount of support from millenials and older liberals disenchanted with the feckless nature of the modern Democratic Party. It has certainly thrown a bit of a curveball to Hillary’s campaign team, who were really banking on not doing any actual work until at least March. At the very least, we can thank Bernie for ruining their holiday plans.
Millenials in particular have developed a raging obsession with Sanders. It’s certainly understandable. Our generation has been steeped in nihilistic apathy toward politics since the wide-eyed idealism of the Obama presidential campaign gave way to the dead-eyed political swamp of the Obama presidential administration. We’re jaded against most politicians by virtue of their disingenuousness. The one thing that unites almost all the presidential candidates, independent of their political beliefs, is their uniform lack of appeal to young voters. In our life experience, most politicians fall into the realm of either corrupt liars like George W. Bush or out-of-touch suitbots like Hillary Clinton. We don’t have the patience for politics when we’ve emerged from our cocoon of higher education to a world that seems to dismiss our entire existence. Bernie is popular among millenials because he’s the only national politician that will admit everything is fucked and the game is rigged. In a national climate filled with double-speak and teeny baby-steps toward progress, some of us are falling over ourselves to reward this honesty and make this old fuck our KING.
I now present the question that forms the actual point of this particular essay: What will happen to that particular movement when Bernie does not get the Democratic nomination?
I say when rather than if because I think it’s important for us all, particularly Bernie fanatics that are already aiming their hate lasers at my forehead, to acknowledge several points about Sanders, his policies, and the current state of our political system that do not bode well for his chances. Please understand, I say this as a Bernie supporter. Bumper sticker and everything. I strongly believe in what the man has to say and I support a majority of the policies that he advocates.
“But Corbin!” you might be saying while clutching your precious idealistic pearls, “how can you support Sanders and still criticize him? TAR AND FEATHER THE CONSERVATIVE TRAITOR!”
Because I recognize that politicians are human beings with flaws and problems, just like everyone else. It’s why I continue to support Obama despite his tendency to allow drone strikes on hospitals and schools. It’s why I will vote Hillary in the general election, despite the fact that she reminds me of my 7th grade math teacher. There is not a single statesman in our history that was wart-free. Teddy Roosevelt was a bit of a white supremacist. JFK cheated on his wife like it was a sport. Jefferson kept slaves. Abe Lincoln may have issued the Emancipation Proclamation, but the only slaves it emancipated were the ones in the northern, slave-free states. It’s important to acknowledge the negatives about things you support. It’s called having a three-dimensional mind. If you would like to live in an echo chamber that only spoon-feeds you positive things about your chosen candidate while simultaneously shitting on everyone else, then perhaps you should consider switching your allegiance over to Donald Trump and his equally detached supporters when the hammer falls.
1.Bernie’s objectives are symbolic and mostly unrealistic.
Don’t get me wrong, true believers. I believe it’s perfectly rational and doable to increase the minimum wage to $15, provide free tuition for public universities, institute universal health care and childcare, expand Social Security, and celebrate by taxfucking the big banks and Wall Street until they can’t sit down. However, I also understand that we live in an actual living, breathing world and not a colossal version of SimCity where you can just change public policies with a few click tabs and be on your merry socialist way.
I want to remind everyone that being president in our country does not automatically make someone God King Xerxes. Back in junior high civics class, you may recall hearing about this system of “checks and balances” that our Founding Fathers built into our national government to ensure that no one branch could become more powerful than the other. I’m sure if they were alive today, those Founding Fathers would have a good chuckle about how that very system is responsible for the gridlocked tire fire that is our current political climate, as demonstrated in this sketch:
How A Bill Becomes A Law, 2014-2015 Edition
House GOP: WE PROPOSE A LAW TO BAN OBAMACARE.
House Dems: Seriously?
House GOP: Never mind, we want to defund Planned Parenthood!
House Dems: WTF why-
House GOP: PASS! WOO! EAT IT, LIBS.
Senate: Guys, this isn’t gonna work. Obama’s gonna veto the shit out of this.
House Dems: That’s what we’re saying.
House GOP: STFU. PASS IT.
House GOP: PASS IT, FAGS.
Senate: Fuck off, no.
House GOP: You guys suck we’re gonna go crash the economy bye.
Obama: Hey, could you guys do me a favor and pass a budget sometime this year?
House GOP: Your mom.
This is pretty much how our national government has functioned since the 2014 Tea Party Wave. Specifically, it doesn’t.
Must I remind you that it took three years (counting the obligatory legal fuckery in the Supreme Court), hundreds of media tantrums, dozens of backroom negotiations, and at least a few broken pieces of furniture in the White House before we finally passed a Frankenstein-like version of universal health care? And now remember that instituting true universal healthcare is just one of many goals for hypothetical President Sanders when he faces a legislature full of resentful Republicans and reluctant Democrats. The Republicans in particular will be relentless in stonewalling every single step in economic progress that Sanders will push. The only thing that a Republican hates more than a Clinton is a goddamned socialist and they’d rather be dead than see the good ol’ USA turn into a commie hellscape like Denmarkistan.
It would be one thing if Bernie had fellow Democratic Socialist peers in the legislature that would help push his ideas through Congress, but he doesn’t. Very few Democrats in office would be willing to stick their necks out and risk being labeled a dirty socialist for supporting Bernie policies. Bernie would be a lone, sane man fighting against the multi-trillion dollar Megatron of American Business; not to mention the über-powerful military-industrial complex that would inevitably take the brunt of the budget cuts to provide for Bernie’s pet programs. It would make for a killer Hollywood movie (possibly starring Tom Hanks), but in reality it would simply be fucking depressing to watch every single one of Bernie Sanders’ dreams crushed against the mighty millstone of our fucked up government, which is exactly what will take place.
Got a problem with it? Next time vote in your mid-term elections, idiot. We have elections every two years, not four. Congressional elections matter just as much as the presidential ones. Remember civics class? They’re the ones that make the laws. That way you don’t have to hedge all your progressive dreams on one politician, you dumb shit.
2. There is no massive conspiracy to keep Bernie from being nominated.
This one is going to hurt. Sorry guys.
Right now the current meme circulating the liberal blog-o-sphere has been the notion that there is a massive media and corporate conspiracy to shut Bernie Sanders out of the nomination process so that Hillary can waltz to the nomination without getting any blood on her pantsuit. After the Democratic debates, there was a firestorm of posts from the Bernie fan club about how Bernie won every online poll regarding the debate, yet strangely the media was still reporting that Hillary won the debate. Clearly the work of the sinister Illuminati keeping the common people down.
Now let’s think about this logically for one moment, shall we? You cannot deny that Sanders’ most enthusiastic support comes from people on the internet. Liking Bernie is the most common trait on social media next to hating Kanye West. Hop on Facebook or Twitter and you won’t have to scroll for long before you find one of the many meme photos of Bernie gesticulating in elderly fury with accompanying quotations. Mad props to the Bernie campaign team who were able to generate dozens of easily digestible and shareable image macros that perfectly encapsulate his platform. Take note Hilldawg: That is how you work a social media campaign.
Considering his otherwise-anonymous status in traditional media, it’s reasonable to infer that a vast majority of his supporters exist and operate on the internet. Sooo…if you have a powerful base of extremely vocal, internet savvy diehards, how do you figure any polls based on internet response will break down?
Remember folks, never trust online polls. They’re almost always biased. Usually toward options involving Hitler.
Another meme circulating the Bernie-sphere post-debate was the idea that Bernie won the debate simply based on the fact that he was able to appear on national television and spread his message without media censorship. I would be willing to agree with that line of logic if Bernie received a post-debate bump in his numbers that reflected that victory, but he is still losing to Clinton by the same margin that he was nationally and in primary swing states. Sorry guys, back to the drawing board.
Currently, Bernie is polling at least ten points behind Clinton nationally. He stands a fighting chance in Iowa and New Hampshire due to their high population density of his bread-and-butter demographic: Young, middle-class white people. Now that Joe Biden has dropped out of the race, there’s now a significant chunk of Democratic voters that could potentially be convinced to join Team Bernie. In order to do that, Bernie needs to expand his message beyond “Corporations bad, socialist programs good”. Potential voters agree with Bernie on a lot of his points regarding the economy and campaign finance. That was never in doubt. It’s when you look at his other policies that things tend to get a little sketchy. Which brings me to my next point:
3. Bernie is weak on issues other than domestic economic policy.
Watching Bernie in the debate was a rough experience for me. I had no doubt that Bernie would hit all of his marks with wealth inequality, climate change, and campaign finance reform. They’re some of the most important domestic issues facing us today and Bernie knocked those points out of the park. Unfortunately, I also had to watch Bernie get publicly roasted early in the debate with the two issues that will ultimately cripple him: Gun control and foreign policy.
Gun control is the one area where you can criticize Bernie for not being liberal enough. He has voted to shield gun companies from class action lawsuits, voted against background checks, and has publicly said that gun companies should not be held responsible for mass shooting deaths. Ironically, these are credentials that would make him less scary to a Republican swing voter if it weren’t for that pesky “socialist” thing. And of course it’s the one issue on which Hillary has constantly staked a definitive stance. If it were really a close primary race between Hillary and Bernie, Hillary would just have to put Bernie on the spot about gun control as it relates to the current mass shooting epidemic. Gun control is a thermite-hot button issue for liberal voters and the accompanying media sensationalism alone would take all the piss out of Bernie’s populist messages.
If gun control doesn’t fuck Bernie over in the primaries, then his foreign policy (or lack thereof) will be his undoing in the general. Although Bernie has a lot to say about the things affecting our country on a domestic level, there’s been a noticeable lack of strong statements about America’s role in global affairs. His stated policy of pulling us out of NAFTA, TPP, and other trade agreements would create fairly dramatic waves economically as America would do the equivalent of saying “fuck this guys I’m out” to the world, creating a giant vacuum that other countries will trip over themselves to fill. Remember, we’re living in a global economy now where everything affects everything. You can’t just say “OK, we’re going to completely reverse our entire economic policy” and expect things to be totally bro-chill.
During the debates, Bernie gave the equivalent of “What he/she said” answers regarding Syria, ISIS, and Russia. It suggests a poorly thought out or otherwise nonexistent plan to handle threats to American interests abroad. Although they are, realistically, not even close to the top ten issues facing our nation, they are absolutely issues that the GOP has been exploiting and fear-mongering for years. Half of the Republican debate consisted of candidates stating, in no uncertain terms, that we were all going to fucking die if we did not send troops to combat ISIS in the Middle East while simultaneously challenging and beating Putin in an arm wrestling match. Nothing like good ol’ fashioned machismo to fire up that skittish voting public.
In terms of creating Nostradamus-like visions of the Apocalypse, the only person that can outdo the GOP is Michael Bay. In a hypothetical debate between Bernie and Some Republican Candidate, the Republican will just continually squawk about ISIS sleeper agents and Putin’s ability to go Super Saiyan 4 while Bernie desperately tries to get in a word edge-wise about the fucking economy. Everyone in the media will parrot the meme that Bernie is an international wimp as moderates scare themselves into voting Republican, just like what happened with fucking Kerry. The names have changed but the song remains the same
And finally, let’s be real about something:
4. He’s fucking old, guys.
If elected president, Bernie Sanders will be 75 upon taking the Oath of Office. A single term in office is four years. Think about that for a second. Being president is a job that has been proven to have strong life-sucking qualities. Being in charge of the world’s largest and most pervasive military abroad while also constantly grappling with political enemies at home will put a significant amount of grey in your hair after a certain point. Poor Bernie, if he manages to survive the stress of office, will leave it looking like a combination of the Cryptkeeper and the Babadook. The man deserves better than that.
But mourn not, Bernie supporters. There is victory even in defeat. Bernie has accomplished more than you think. As I previously mentioned, his campaign has displayed a stellar example of how to raise a formidable grassroots campaign without major media backing or funding. The man has raised more money than almost any other political candidate from small donations alone. That’s simply amazing in a post-Citizen’s United world and helps us realize that we, as a collective voice, still command an amazing amount of power in our democracy.
His overwhelming support from millenials should be a tip to aspiring politicians that this is what the future holds for our voting public as we advance farther into the 21st Century. Words like “liberal” or “socialist” no longer carry the Scarlet Letter-connotations that they did decades ago. When Bernie proudly declares himself a Democratic Socialist, it inspires others that hear him and agree to declare it with just as much passion. For once, the left wing in our country has felt empowered and motivated instead of persecuted and stifled. After watching Democrats bend and cower at liberal accusations for the past decade, it’s refreshing to see someone own it without worrying about their political stock price.
I see a generation of future progressives being inspired by Sanders to perpetuate his ideals the same way he did, by speaking truth to power and allowing themselves to become both an instrument and an obstacle to our current political machine. Call me a dreamer, but I think we’ll be feeling the Bern long after this election is over.
HILLARY “Hotline Bling” CLINTON
One thing that all sides can agree on: Hillary Clinton is a polarizing figure. Bring up Clinton in a political discussion and you’re just as likely to trigger a passionate argument among conservatives as you are amongst liberals. Republicans will shriek about her shadiness, her elitism, and Benghazi. Liberals will decry her corporate ties and moan about her obvious disingenuousness. The only candidate that conjures an equally fiery response is Donald Trump. Hillary has been running this campaign for president since 1996, so you would think that she’d have figured out a way to soften those edges by now. So it goes.
We, as a nation, have been collectively preparing ourselves for a Hillary candidacy since she was hilariously beaten by Barack “MVP” Obama back in 2008. Bernie supporters like to draw parallels to 2008 because it had a similar narrative: Hillary’s almost-guaranteed candidacy is threatened and ultimately surpassed by idealistic Senator with grassroots support. As you can see, the Democratic tradition of losing easy elections applies to primary contests as well.
Hillary’s presence in this election was inevitable from any way you skew it. You’ll be hard pressed to find a person more synonymous with American politics for the last two decades than Hillary Clinton. Her popularity and prominence may fluctuate depending on what mask she’s currently wearing (First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State), but she’s always been a reliable fixture in the scene. She’s like the Foo Fighters of politicians. All of these titles and jobs have functioned as a grand resumé-building exercise for Hillary’s true objective:
Global domination for the mothership. Becoming the first female President of the United States. The Democratic Party has done its part by ensuring that no single Democrat would betray the Clinton campaign by becoming exciting or popular for the past eight years.
The stage had been set for the Clinton Coronation, but then ol’ Bernie Sanders had to burst in, angrily demanding a corned beef on rye with a side order of Progress and now we find ourselves locked in a battle for the Democratic Party’s very soul: Progress versus Pragmatism, Grandpa versus Ex-Wife, Crusty versus Pantsuit.
But before we elaborate on that ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny, let’s revisit everyone’s favorite dysfunctional political goons in the GOP.
No one has been more aware of the doomsday clock to a Hillary candidacy than the Republican Party. Ever since Romney was conclusively beaten by Obama, the GOP has been building up their war chests and re-loading all the weapons for their final assault on the Clinton Fortress. They’ve been preparing for this showdown since 1992, when they looked beyond President Bill Clinton to the real power behind the throne. Republicans have been trying to handicap Clinton for years. The story of Clinton and the Republican Party is similar in nature to the old Wile E. Coyote/Roadrunner cartoons as the GOP Coyote has tried increasingly more expensive and ludicrous means to trap and destroy the Hillary Roadrunner, only to be blown up or run off a cliff by their own momentum. After dozens of manufactured scandals and political attacks, Hillary remains unscathed.
Just ask Trey Gowdy and his gang of Republican Death Eaters on the House Benghazi Committee about Hillary’s mutant ability to avoid political scandal. Gowdy and his merry band of patriotic Republican peers spent three years building a case against Hillary regarding her conduct as Secretary of State during the extremist attack on the American embassy in Benghazi that left four Americans dead in 2012. This was a very big deal, considering American nationals NEVER die from terrorists anymore. If Benghazi had instead been invaded by a bunch of sexually repressed white teenagers with Wal-Mart purchased assault rifles and online manifestos, it probably would have been laughed off.
Ask any Republican about Benghazi, however, and they’ll tell you that the attack on Benghazi was the worst moment in American foreign policy history. If 9/11 and the Pearl Harbor bombing had a baby that was adopted by the Bay of Pigs, it couldn’t have been worse than the shameless criminal exploits that Obama and Hillary pulled off in Benghazi. What did they do? No fucking clue, but it was criminal goddamnittohell! Behold, the power of FOX News Propaganda.
It was up to the House Benghazi Committee to actually put some substance behind those accusations. Last week, they had the opportunity to put Hillary on the spot on national television with their dramatic findings. Anyone who actually had the stamina to sit through the broadcast were treated to watching Gowdy and the rest of the Republicans clumsily try to pin the deaths of four Americans on Hillary for eleven fucking hours while Hillary sat there like Bender in the Breakfast Club, looking fifty shades of bored.
By the end of the hearings, it was obvious that there was absolutely nothing to these hearings other than trying to sandbag Hillary’s presidential campaign. Just another attempted hatchet job to prevent the conservative Freudian nightmare of a Hillary presidency. It was a clear act of desperation and frustration.The Republican Party did NOT spend eight years chewing shoe leather after letting Obama steal the presidency just to let someone they hate even fucking more waltz into the office DAMNIT.
It’s ironic then that the biggest threat to Hillary’s path to the White House does not lie with Republicans, but with voters in her own party.
Democratic voters have always been a little finicky about Hillary. After all, it’s hard to root for the hero of a story when we know ahead of time that they slay the dragon, get the princess, and live in the castle happily ever after. We want an underdog to root for, not a political poodle that’s been groomed for two decades. We like to see people struggle for our approval. It’s why we love the Cubs and hate the Yankees. Hillary doesn’t need to be popular because she’s so damn good at politics that public opinion almost doesn’t matter.
Essentially, Hillary is the Tom Brady of the Democratic Party. Do we really need to see Tom Brady win again?
There are a variety of reasons for Democratic voters to be unenthusiastic about a Hillary candidacy. Obviously, there’s nothing particularly exciting about Hillary, other than the obvious milestone of having our first female president. Her pedigree as a career politician assures that Hillary will not be the agent of the zeitgeist that our young people are hoping for. She’s not a young black man from Chicago promising hope, change, and health care reform. She’s not a passionate old Jewish man raging against the machine. She doesn’t glow in the dark or fly. She’s been the mascot of “business as usual” Democratic politics for the last decade. Everybody knows exactly who Hillary is and what she stands for. She’s Doritos. She’s Coke. She’s McDonalds. She’s a proven, established, boring commodity.
Hillary is also sitting at a disadvantage for her extremely Democrat-like tendency to change her political positions based on popular opinion. Previous incarnations of Hillary Clinton voted in favor of the Iraq War and Patriot Act and did not support gay marriage. Most recently, Hillary tried awkwardly to piggy-back on Bernie’s populism by coming out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that she herself helped negotiate as Secretary of State. You almost have to respect the balls it takes for that level of political doublespeak. Her VIP list of corporate doners is also a giant turn-off to an authenticity-obssessed voting public.
As we have previously established, we’re entering a new cultural paradigm in which voters on both sides of the political spectrum favor authenticity and new ideas over moderation and political pageantry. Donald Trump has been riding the populist wave on the Republican side of the spectrum, whereas the Democratic Party is left in a kind of civil war of demographics. Bernie’s incessant pounding of the populist war drum has brought attention to the qualities about Hillary Clinton that hurt her most with voters: Her lack of common connection to those voters. In doing so, he probably caused more damage to Hillary’s campaign than the Republicans could have ever hoped to achieve.
I’m torn to pieces about the prospect of a Clinton candidacy. I stand by my earlier conclusion that she’s the best candidate to send against the eventual Republican candidate. Hillary was able to clean house against a dozen Republicans in an eleven-hour lumberjack match. A one-on-one with any of the scrubs vying for the Republican nomination would be a cake-walk. Truthfully, a lot of my complaints about Hillary are generally shallow and one-dimensional. I consider her boring. I don’t like the fact that she has Sara Bareilles on her Spotify playlist. Her pantsuits upset me. She also reminds me of an old math teacher from my middle school years. I feel like I’m not alone in this sentiment.
I am also not looking forward to the inevitable cloud of butthurt rage that will ensue when Hillary inevitably dispatches Bernie in the moment that will break liberal hearts across the country. There’s already talk amongst the more extreme Bernie supporters of not voting in the general if Hillary gets the nomination. This brings me back to my original premise: Democrats are fucking terrible at winning elections. Even with a winning candidate, we still hate her because she’s trying too hard to win. She has too much campaign money. She has too many endorsements. If Hilldawg loses the election, it’s because she will have successfully alienated millennial voters that will forsake the entire election so they can go start a giant drum circle in protest. Great job, Clinton. Now we have a bunch of damn dirty hippies on our hands.
I’m no fan of Hillary, but I will go to the voting stations and dutifully pull the crank for candidate Clinton in 2016 so we don’t end up with President Trump trying to build a wall around Texas, President Bush III starting another shady war in the Middle East, or President Cruz blowing up the entire fucking world. Most Democrats will probably do the same. The most important thing to remember going into this election, fellow liberals, is that this election is about holding the ground we’ve gained so far. We’re still a largely conservative nation that is just recently acquainting itself with progressive ideas. All of the gains we’ve made under Obama – gay marriage, marijuana legalization, Obamacare – can just as easily be taken away with a Republican president and newly conservative Supreme Court.
I always support people sticking to their ideals, but let’s not throw out the political baby with the idealistic bath water when Bernie folds. Clinton may be an out-of-touch, corporate shill but she’s our out-of-touch, corporate shill. Most progress in the world is made in baby steps and I would rather continue our slow lurch to rationality than abandon ship just because we’re not moving fast enough. Patience is a virtue, both in life and politics. Believe in the power of the Long Game. In the meantime, enjoy the show. Political theatre makes the best theatre.