This election has been the most polarizing and divisive election we have seen in recent times. Donald Trump’s violent and repulsive rhetoric leaves many people seeing no choice but to choose the “lesser evil” candidate. It has also allowed the corporate media to divert attention from Hillary’s pro-Wall Street career and warmongering which will keep coming back to haunt her.
Over the last few months WikiLeaks has been releasing thousands of leaked emails exposing Hillary and the entire Democratic Party apparatus for its close ties to Wall Street and foreign dictatorships like Saudi Arabia.
The Public and Private Positions of Hillary
That leaves one to ask #WhichHillary will voters be getting come this November? Earlier this year I wrote an article titled “Why Black People Shouldn’t Support Hillary” in which I outlined the political record of Hillary Clinton, not just as it related to the black community but also her flip-flop positions on a range of issues including LGBTQ rights and abortion. We saw Hillary flip-flop from one position to the next, supporting the TPP then not supporting it, saying “no” to a $15 minimum wage, then saying “I support the movement.” She has had a change of heart on other issues as well. Now some may say that the reason Hillary is changing her position is because she is being pushed by the movement.
Well let’s see how much Hillary has been redeemed from her corporate war hawkish past ways.
For months during the primary Bernie Sanders had asked Hillary to release the transcripts from the paid speeches she made to Goldman Sachs and other big business audiences which have now been released thanks to WikiLeaks. In a speech to the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC),a trade organization representing apartment building owners and developers, Hillary stated this about having “public and private positions” when it comes to policies:
“You just have to sort of figure out how to – getting back to that word, “balance” – how to balance the public and the private efforts that are necessary to be successful, politically, and that’s not just a comment about today. That, I think, has probably been true for all of our history, and if you saw the Spielberg movie, Lincoln, and how he was maneuvering and working to get the 13th Amendment passed, and he called one of my favorite predecessors, Secretary Seward, who had been the governor and senator from New York, ran against Lincoln for president, and he told Seward, I need your help to get this done. And Seward called some of his lobbyist friends who knew how to make a deal, and they just kept going at it. I mean, politics is like sausage being made. It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be. But if everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position.” [Speech For National Multi-Housing Council, 4/24/13]
How can we trust a candidate who thinks “back room” deals with corporate lobbyists, and lying to the public about her actual positions, are a necessary part of politics? Early in her campaign Hillary received a lot of criticism for receiving campaign donations from private prison lobbyists and corporations. Hillary claimed she will donate that money to charity but is her new-found recognition of widespread injustice in the justice system just her “public position”?
Hillary’s praise of the 13th amendment, coming from a candidate who participated in ramping up mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex specifically targeting black and brown people, is something to make me “a little nervous” for sure. The 13th amendment formally ended chattel slavery “except as punishment for a crime.” Today tens of thousands of prisoners are on strike against the prison forced labor system.
Servant of Wall Street
What’s even more damning is Hillary’s “private position” when it comes to Wall Street. Hillary was a political chameleon during the primaries when it came to Wall Street. She began with very vague critiques and boasted about how she told the bankers to “cut it out.” Under pressure from Bernie, her rhetoric shifted. In speeches to Goldman Sachs we see the real Hillary. Not only does she openly admit that candidates need funding from Wall Street, she also suggests that Wall Street has the right to ask questions before handing over money:
“Secondly, running for office in our country takes a lot of money, and candidates have to go out and raise it. New York is probably the leading site for contributions for fundraising for candidates on both sides of the aisle, and it’s also our economic center. And there are a lot of people here who should ask some tough questions before handing over campaign contributions to people who were really playing chicken with our whole economy.” [Goldman Sachs AIMS Alternative Investments Symposium, 10/24/13]
How can working people expect for their votes to have any influence when they are competing with Wall Street execs who are making backroom deals with politicians for campaign contributions? Especially a candidate like Hillary, who said in one speech:
“I represented and worked with so many talented, principled people who made their living in finance. But even though I represented them and did all I could to make sure they continued to prosper…” [Remarks at Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd in San Diego, 9/04/14]
How many millions of working people were devastated by the predatory lending and scams happening in the financial markets? How many homes were foreclosed on, how many jobs lost? Hillary admitted her goal when it comes to Wall Street is to ensure that Wall Street continues to prosper. Where does that leave working and poor people who continue to struggle working low wage jobs with no benefits? That doesn’t seem to be much of a concern for Hillary since she has admitted that she has no connection with working people.
“I’m kind of far removed from the struggles of the middle class because the life I’ve lived and the economic, you know, fortunes that my husband and I now enjoy. And I am not taking a position on any policy, but I do think there is a growing sense of anxiety and even anger in the country over the feeling that the game is rigged. And I never had that feeling when I was growing up. Never.” [Remarks at Goldman-Black Rock, 2/4/14]
With all the suffering that is happening worldwide and here at home how can one claiming to fight on behalf of working and poor people, to fight for the needs of everyone, think the system is not rigged? Does Hillary really believe that the $153 million she made in speaking fees while 15 million children in the U.S. live below the poverty line is due to a fair and just system?
It doesn’t end there. Hillary has publicly came out against trade deals like the TPP but her private position should give one great pause:
“There is so much more we can do, there is a lot of low hanging fruit but businesses on both sides have to make it a priority and it’s not for governments to do but governments can either make it easy or make it hard and we have to resist protectionism, other kinds of barriers to market access and to trade…”[Remarks to Banco Itau, 5/16/14]
If this is what Hillary really thinks of trade how can working people trust that she will protect their jobs? How can we ensure that she will stand against the TPP which she strongly advocated for in the past and as Secretary of State?
Or what about the environment? More frequent and intense drought, storms and heat waves are happening globally and occurring at a much faster rate than scientists previously predicted. Being already halfway to the two degree Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) threshold for dangerous global warming by 2050, environmental activists and scientists are concerned that if major changes don’t happen quickly serious catastrophe will be inevitable. Hillary has promised to take climate change seriously in public but in private she says this:
“I’m already at odds with the most organized and wildest. They say, ‘Will you promise never to take any fossil fuels out of the earth ever again?’ No. I won’t promise that. Get a life, you know … They are after everything and I’m just talking through them. And of course they go support somebody else, That’s fine and I don’t particularly care. But I do think I have to say, look, given everything else we have to do in this country, this is not an issue for me that I’m going to say I support. I want to work on other stuff.” [Politico.com]
Which Hillary should voters trust: the public Hillary or the private one?
#WhichHillary is the Lesser Evil?
It’s not surprising that Hillary didn’t voluntarily release these speeches. Imagine if she had released them during the primaries how damaging they would have been to her campaign. These speeches show her support for fracking, Wall Street, and many other positions that the majority of Democratic party voters are against. The leaks also show the biases of the corporate media and leading U.S. media organizations giving favorable coverage to Clinton over Bernie.
The initial leaks led to the resignation of DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the start of the Democratic convention, a strategic move to avoid a potential fallout between Bernie supporters and the Democratic Party. Instead of distancing herself from Schultz, Hillary Clinton immediately hired her to serve, in Clinton’s words, “as honorary chair of my campaign’s 50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country.” The presidential nominee has never once criticized the DNC for its biases or the ex-chairwoman. Hillary Clinton never even mentioned why the resignation happened.
The fact is these emails have only confirmed what Hillary has spent her entire political career doing: supporting the people who back her – Wall Street!
The Democratic Party leadership had a real opportunity to defeat Trump and the rise of right wing populism by backing Sanders yet they chose to back a candidate whom voters dislike almost as much as Trump. Now voters are left with a choice of “anybody but Trump.” But in many cases it was the policies of the Democratic Party and politicians like Hillary which led to the anger and frustration with establishment politics that is taking a distorted form in support for Trump.
Break From The Two Parties Of Wall Street!
The Democratic Party is not a party for working people. Working people deserve a presidential candidate that is willing to stand up to big business, environmental destruction, and horrendous trade deals. Working people deserve a candidate that will stand by their “public position.” The only way to achieve that is to build a party of the 99% that isn’t tied to big business and Wall Street, a party where working people decide policy democratically and don’t have to compete with million dollar campaign donation from billionaire donors.
Now is the time for independent politics, not just to defeat Trump but future right wing candidates that will continue to exploit the genuine anger of working and poor people. The corporate media will tell you otherwise and the truth is many people will vote out of fear of Donald Trump. I understand, for I too share the disgust and concern for someone like Trump becoming the president. I want to defeat him with a candidate that represents the issues that I care about and one that is able to redirect the genuine anger and frustration feeding into right wing populism.
I don’t believe the Democratic Party is willing to provide such a candidate due to its close ties to big business. We need to lay the foundation for a party of the 99%. That is why I will be casting my vote for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate . I cannot ignore the terrible policies of Hillary that not only affect people here but abroad as well. I cannot let the fear of one man outweigh the reality for most, including myself, that this system is NOT working! The Democrats and Republicans have failed to deliver any real change for the better and I’m not prepared to wait any longer.
You will be faced with this same decision. The choice between the lesser of two evils. You will think to yourself, “I can’t let Trump win.” I get it, fear is a powerful thing but when you go to the voting booth this November, just know #WhichHillary you are being told you’ve got to vote for.