Saturday, June 11, 2016

Trump, Clinton and Kabuki theater

Hillary Clinton seems to be someone who is obsessed with being the first woman elected as president of the United States. (Isn't that sexist?) She's been planning this for years and has even worked out a way to pay for it at the last Democratic National Convention in 2015. From that effort, she got more than 400 superdelegates to side with her long before even the first vote was cast.

In my correspondence and conversations with friends on and offline, I find myself being asked to forgive her for her mistakes, even potential crimes, just to vote for someone that is not Donald Trump. I am being asked to vote out of fear. But my intuition suggests that voting for someone out of fear is not the right thing to do. Call it target fixation or the law of attraction, it is now clear to me that our fears are being exploited by people who want Hilary in the White House.

Someone once said that we should not be basing our vote on fear, but rather, something we want. That someone went on to say that every time we vote out of fear of something we don't want, we tend to get that, anyway. That someone was Dr. Jill Stein, presidential candidate for the Green Party and her comments prove this point rather well. Dr. Stein has also pointed out that what we see as a source of fear for Trump, we already see in Hillary Clinton. From an interview with Democracy Now:
So, let me say first off, this is a problem that could be fixed with the stroke of a pen, this electoral system that tells you to vote against what you’re afraid of and not for what you believe. And, you know, what we’ve seen over the years, this strategy has a track record: This politics of fear has actually delivered everything we were afraid of. All the reasons you were told you had to vote for the lesser evil—because you didn’t want the massive Wall Street bailouts, the offshoring of our jobs, the meltdown of the climate, the endless expanding wars, the attack on immigrants—all that, we’ve gotten by the droves, because we allowed ourselves to be silenced. 
...
Trump says very scary things—deporting immigrants, massive militarism and, you know, ignoring the climate. Well, Hillary, unfortunately, has a track record for doing all of those things. Hillary has supported the deportations of immigrants, opposed the refugees—women and children coming from Honduras, whose refugee crisis she was very much responsible for by giving a thumbs-up to this corporate coup in Honduras that has created the violence from which those refugees are fleeing. She basically said, "No, bar the gates, send them back." You know, so we see these draconian things that Donald Trump is talking about, we actually see Hillary Clinton doing.
What Dr. Stein has observed is that our country is caught up in target fixation, over and over again. When we focus on what we don't want, we tend to get it. This is also true when we focus on what we want. That's why we see so many people saying Bernie or Bust. I count myself among them. We want Bernie Sanders for president, not Hillary, not Trump.

A few days ago we saw Obama deliver a half-hearted statement endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. Then Biden endorsed Clinton. Then Senator Elizabeth Warren endorsed Clinton. Shortly after that, Obama, Biden, Clinton and Warren all launched attacks against Trump. This all seems so contrived, it's as if the leaders of our country are deliberately trying to get us focused on Trump as the adversary rather than to focus on what we want.

None of these people are adversaries. I believe that in the end, they all want to go to bed at night knowing they did the right thing. But this is politics, and this alignment might be believable except for one thing. Three weeks before Trump announced his candidacy, he had a talk with Bill Clinton by phone. We don't know exactly what they talked about, but we do know they talked politics. What did they say that prompted Trump to run for president?

Now I have to ask myself, do we really need to fear Trump as president? What about all those nasty things he's said?

I might find those things he's said believable except that he's an entertainer and an actor as well as a businessman. Don't believe me? Check out his extensive listing on the Internet Movie Database. I don't know about you, but I'd say we've all been played the fool for believing that Trump is the antagonist that he is portrayed to be.

Do we really have a reason to fear Trump? I think more than a few people have noticed that he actually shares a fair number of policy positions with Bernie Sanders. Neither one of them are establishment candidates, so to some, his views may seem unconventional, just like Bernie Sanders. Have a look at a list of areas where we can find agreement between the two. Here is a very detailed analysis from Vox, a well respected source of fact-checked articles. Here's a nice bullet list from the Atlantic with some additional analysis:

  • Both oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
  • Both support maintaining or expanding current levels of Social Security benefits.
  • Both support some upper-income tax hikes.
  • Both lament the pernicious role of money in politics (this is why, as Stan herself notes, Trump likes to falsely claim he’s funding his own campaign).
  • Both opposed the Iraq war (Stan herself notes that Trump “would have left Saddam Hussein in power”) and believe the money spent on it could have been put to better use domestically.
  • Both have been known to worry that increased immigration could depress working-class wages.
  • Both have supported single-payer health care.
  • Both have flip-flopped on gun control.

So when the establishment press calls Trump a racist or misogynist, do you believe them after seeing how much he's in agreement with Sanders and his credits as an actor? We don't hear much about the similarities between Trump and Sanders in the press because as far as the mainstream media is concerned, Hillary Clinton is the protagonist and Trump is the evildoer, the one desperately needed to distract us from Sanders. "Please, please, please, vote for Hillary out of your fear of Trump. It's our only hope." That's the story in this political theater.

I see Trump as a necessary element to get us all distracted from the awful record of Hillary Clinton. To get us to vote for her, despite the awful taste in our mouth. To get us to forget about her emails (yes, you do need to worry about them dear Hillary supporters), the pay for play transactions through her family foundation, and her inconsistent policy positions.

I also see Trump as a businessman and an actor. He runs casinos and is probably not that bad at playing poker. Here he is, giving poker lessons. Could it be that he's been giving us a poker face all along? I don't think he's the only one. I think Hillary has been giving us that, too. She's been bluffing with a poor hand for a long, long time. Perhaps we should call her bluff by voting for Sanders and if not Sanders, then Dr. Stein.

If you want to catch the ball, you have to keep your eyes on the ball. Vote for who you want, not against someone else. You might get what you want for a change.
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