By Michael Phillips
Jul 24, 2016
I'm working hard to stay positive, optimistic and objective. I'm also attempting to zoom out and to see the events unfolding politically from a decades wide perspective rather than just being angry or upset in the moment that Hillary didn't harness the grassroots progressive support possibly available to her from the Sanders movement. I think I see some options for long term hope, though I have not lost sight of the concerning short term loss that Clintons' choice of Kaine creates. Big change is not pain free right? I think every progressive should enthusiastically vote for Clinton - and then get to work creating a new progressive party. Why?
Hillary's choice creates a YUGE opening on the left at a time when the left is well organized, energized and mobilized at the grassroots level. And at the same time her conservative choice of Kaine absolutely destroys what remains of the Republican Party. Thinking Republicans are defecting all over the country. A coalition of republican women are organizing to vote for Clinton. GWB is even rumored to endorse Clinton at the convention this week (I know, I know - I'm not lumping GWB fully into the thinking category). Meanwhile KKK leader David Duke has announced he is running for the senate and fully supports Trump. Charles Manson has come out in support of Trump. The GOP is now the party of fear, hate and racism, and rational leaning republicans (yes there is such a thing) want no part of it. Hillary and Kaine are effectively the new GOP... though more progressive and without as much of the fear-mongering. Hillary is running for president of everyone - not catering to the progressive agenda. And it turns out I think I'm ok with that. I've come to believe it's a smart move, possibly historically brilliant.
Think for a minute about the massive opening this creates on the left for a new party dedicated to justice of all kinds, and equality, without the burden of centrist Wall Street friendly democrats compromising every position we put forward. In the long term wouldn't it be ideal that the fear infested GOP be put out of its misery, absorbed by a reconstituted party of conservative democrats, and that a new party advocating democratic socialism be realized at last? When you zoom out of the immediate disappointing circumstances and think about what may be happening historically as an opportunity, could Clinton's move to absorb rational republicans be genius? Like I said I'm trying to stay positive. Bernie was my choice. I donated about 20 times to his campaign. I've never really trusted Clinton. But I've had it with the rich old white man drama queens of the GOP fueling their undereducated base with fear and hate so that they can divide us and create more gains for the top 1/10th of 1%.
The GOP base will soon be nothing but a fringe group of extremists consumed by fear and their own ignorance. I believe the democrats, because they are taking the center, will win big in 2016 - house - senate - everything - everywhere. I believe that if Clinton were to have chosen a progressive VP she would have perpetuated the Republican Party and continued the same old battles we've seen for 50+ years. And I believe she would have given Trump a shot at a win.
After this election a new party can and should be born that would have the potential to quickly become competitive with the democrats and make the remnants of the Republican Party as irrelevant as the Green Party. No, I do not believe any Sanders supporter should vote for Jill Stein. She has absolutely zero experience that would qualify her for an office beyond mayor of a mid sized town. She has a big heart and she is fighting for so much that is important to fight for but she would be a disaster in the White House.
So I'm voting for Clinton because I'm voting against Trump (ignorance, fear and hate), because her choices for the SCOTUS are more likely to solidify a woman's right to choose - at least through the next generation, because I think her strategy absolutely annihilates a dangerous and already half dead GOP, because whether intentional or not her move with Kaine creates a massive opening on the left for a new progressive party free from the right leaning establishment democrats, and because I'm optimistic.
So given Clinton / Kaine, I've made some Clinton / Kaine lemonade. I hope you join me in voting for Hillary Clinton and the most progressive downstream candidates you've got in your area. And then I hope we can break away from this new Republican / Democrat mashup, and design and build a Democratic Socialist party of progressives. Bernie and others have already proven that our base is very real and powerful. But the fact is, we don't stand a chance inside the Democratic Party. And that's ok.
This is a big opportunity. Let's not squander it by focusing on the short term disappointment. Zoom out with me. Please try to see these opportunities and others with me.