by Peter Bohmer, October 20, 2016
I have watched the three presidential debates this year. Trump’s contempt for women, his anti-choice, anti-Mexican and anti-Muslim immigrant stance, his stereotyping of Black and Latinos, his proposed tax cuts for the wealthy and the corporations was disgusting. His toxic machismo and not so coded racism and white nationalism were on full display. Clinton, although not as bad never mentioned poor people, and called for and bragged about continued U.S. militarism. To Trump’s racist claims about electoral rigging and fraud in Black communities, his mentioning of Philadelphia, St. Louis and Chicago; Hillary Clinton could have but didn’t respond with the past and present actual racist voter suppression, especially by Republicans but also many Democrats in limiting voting by people with felonies, requiring multiple ID’s, making registration and voting difficult, especially in low income communities. Also these three debates were limited by no questions about one of the central issues of the day, climate change, and the excluding of the Green Party Presidential candidate, Jill Stein and the Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson. … (see link above)
July 14, 2016
What I find missing from my friend, Michael Albert’s commentary in the Left Unity section of Znet, https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/we-need-a-united-left/ is an acknowledgement and a validation of the moral outrage felt by many people, mainly but not only young people, that they are being told to choose between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Michael Albert is right that Hillary Clinton will do less harm than a Trump presidency but the harm of her militaristic, imperialist and neoliberal administration will be major to people inside the United States, and probably even worse for those living in other countries.
So I think people who say they cannot in good conscience vote for Hillary Clinton, even in contested states such as Florida, Ohio, etc. should not be criticized nor pressured to change their mind. I know many, many people in this category and when I ask them what they are likely to do in November, besides talking about their anger at the mainstream media promotion of Clinton and the marginalization of Bernie, and the daily and massive coverage of Trump; almost all of them also tell me they will either not vote or vote for Jill Stein and the Greens. I do not criticize this decision although if they ask me what I believe, I say that voting for Hillary Clinton in states where it is not clear who will win, also makes some sense and is defensible.
Reducing voting to a strategic decision leaves out the moral dilemma felt by so many newly politicized and radicalized people, who are a natural base for the growth of an anti-capitalist transformational politics. My point is not so much that I totally disagree with the analysis that Michael Albert and others put forward; I disagree with the way they are presenting it.. This is important because it makes building social movements and anti-capitalist organizations that include both those who are making a tactical decision to vote for Hillary Clinton in some states and those who absolutely refuse to vote for her, more difficult, now and after the November, 2016 elections.