It is of critical importance that the progressive movement make a sober assessment of the direction of the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders has made the argument that his remarkable campaign, which drew the support of millions, would move the Democratic Party to the left.
The reality, as demonstrated by what took place in the 4 days during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, shows that the Democratic Party in fact has moved to the right, not to the left.
By the third day of the convention the majority of the Democratic Party delegates were chanting, “U-S-A! U-S-A!” to drown out the “No more war” chants of the Sanders supporters who were rejecting the bombastic, militaristic and pro-war agitation of the convention speakers.
President Obama spoke with the language of ultra-rightist Ronald Reagan about American exceptionalism and the primary role of the United States in world politics. When Vice President Joseph Biden proclaimed about the United States, “We will not be beaten,” the convention erupted again with the chant, “U-S-A! U-S-A!” The whole event sounded like a typical Republican Party convention.
In fact, vast parts of the Republican Party establishment, and the military-industrial complex now see the Democratic Party nominee, Hillary Clinton, as their preferred choice.
More than 150 well-recognized Republican Party foreign policy establishment elites have signed a letter supporting Hillary Clinton for president. Mitt Romney also made a pre-recorded video presentation to the Democratic National Convention condemning Trump. The billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who presided over Stop-and-Frisk policing, also addressed the DNC to support Hillary Clinton.
Sanders drew the support of millions of people, especially young people, because of his message against Wall Street, his opposition to staggering student debt, his call for genuinely universal health care and his plea for economic and social equality. The Democratic Party establishment used every trick in the book to suppress the Sanders movement.
When Sanders failed to get the nomination, he announced that he would support Hillary Clinton. He could have run as an independent third-party candidate or as a Green Party candidate, and he certainly would have received at least 20 percent of the popular vote. Instead, he is making the argument that Trump, the notorious racist bigot and misogynist, is so profoundly bad that it is a requirement of everyone to support Clinton.
But it is important to really look beneath the headlines and the conventional wisdom about “lesser-evil” politics.
Take the issue of nuclear war, for instance. The corporate-owned media is attacking Donald Trump because he purportedly asked, “If we have nuclear weapons, why can’t we use them?” The media says that Trump is clearly mad and should not have authority to use nuclear weapons.
But just this week, the Obama administration authorized the development of the B61-12 nuclear bomb/missile that would create for the first time a “smart nuclear bomb.” What makes this weapon significant is that it makes nuclear weapons “precision bombs” with an adjustable level of yield. The point is to make nuclear weapons more usable as tactical weapons.
Immediately as a consequence of the Obama administration’s decision, military planners will begin to prepare contingency plans that will include the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea, Russia, China and other countries. In other words, the Obama administration and Democratic Party leadership is in practice leading the world towards the very scenarios that Trump threatens in rhetoric.
The corporate owned media, the Democratic Party and much of the Republican establishment condemned Donald Trump for his bizarre and abusive treatment of the family of a Muslim U.S. soldier who was killed in Iraq. Of course, they did nothing to condemn those responsible for the deaths of the soldiers and Iraqi civilians. And Clinton herself of course was an avid supporter of George W. Bush’s criminal invasion of Iraq.
It is clear that Clinton, once elected, will shift the U.S. military strategy in Syria. She would place U.S. aircraft into a direct confrontation both with the Syrian Arab Army and its air defense systems as well as with Russia. The Syrian Arab Army has done the majority of the fighting and dying to defeat ISIS.
When she was selected as Secretary of State in 2009, Hillary Clinton appointed Victoria Nuland as her spokesperson. Nuland had been the spokesperson for Dick Cheney at the time he and Bush were systematically lying to the people of the United States about Iraq. Nuland in turn was the principal architect of U.S. policy in support of the fascist-led armed coup d’etat in Ukraine, which greatly damaged U.S.-Russia relations and put all of Europe on a knife’s edge.
The sober assessment is that the Democratic Party has moved to the right rather than to the left in spite of the campaign of Sanders, and in spite of the millions of people who want genuine change. In order for those aspirations to be realized there needs to be a real political revolution. That means building a mass movement in our communities and at the grassroots level. You can’t have a political revolution and support an imperialist warhawk like Hillary Clinton at the same time.