“The prevailing quality of life in America -- by any accepted methods of measuring -- was inarguably freer and more politically open under Nixon than it is today…” Hunter S. Thompson, 2002.
Where to begin? Like the scene in Chicago, the area around the site of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia is awash in temporary fencing, barricades, and police, all dedicated to keeping thousands of protesters from injecting a dose of reality into this week of political fantasy. How Orwellian when peaceful protesters are penned in blocks away from the convention hall in what are called “ free speech zones.” Free speech that the powerful do not have to hear or see or respond to.
Looks like Bernie Sanders was right all along -- the Democratic National Committee was actively sabotaging his upstart campaign from the get-go, using the sort of tricks that are normally reserved for the opposition party. The revelations (thank you Wikileaks) show a few things. First, Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a hack who would do anything for her pal Hillary Clinton. Second, the big-shots in the DNC obviously knew that Hillary would not win a contest played on a level field; cheating and foul play were necessary to push Hillary over the top, because her campaign sure as hell failed to generate much organic enthusiasm.
But even with all the DNC’s shenanigans on Clinton’s behalf, the Sanders campaign made Clinton work. What does this tell us? That there is a reason Donald Trump is today leading in the polls. Now, Clinton will get the usual jump coming out of the Convention, but even so, voters east, west, north and south will still view her unfavorably, as a prevaricator and liar, and one who, like the fictional Mafioso Don Corleone, rewards loyalty. Instead of kicking Wasserman Schultz to the curb, Clinton makes Wasserman Schultz the honorary chair of her campaign.
Talk about tone deaf and oblivious to voter perceptions. But we knew that when Clinton tapped Tim Kaine to be her sidekick; that was like flipping the bird to Bernie supporters with one of those oversized foam fingers. Clinton chose a nice, safe corporate clone who believes in the fairy tale of “free” trade and “clean” coal. Talk about one step up and two back. Clinton is so insulated in her DC/NYC bubble among the political and financial elites that she really has no clue what her actions look like to those of us out here in the real world.
Clinton’s arrogance is breathtaking, and it’s that total disdain for ordinary citizens that is giving Trump buoyancy. As filmmaker Michael Moore recently wrote, a lot of people in this country are fed up with politicians of both parties, fed up with the influence of bankers and hedge fund managers and resource extractors, fed up with the way the middle class is being ground to dust. Now, rich, white, demagogic Donald Trump is a strange champion for the downtrodden middle class -- but when Trump hammers bankers and free traders and pols, he’s speaking a language struggling people relate to; all the promises of the Bush’s, the Obama’s and the Clinton’s haven’t amounted to shit, so why not take a ride on the Trump express and lob a Molotov cocktail at the elites?
Hillary Clinton is damn lucky the election isn’t tomorrow. You can bet she will not receive the same reception on Thursday night that Bernie got on Monday. When the camera panned to where Bill Clinton was sitting you could see that he understood this, too. Hillary doesn’t engender the love that Bernie does -- she wants it, terribly, but it’s not who she is.