Early voting is underway here in Maryland. This is much to the State’s credit, although I wish they would get rid of their stupid closed primary so I could go back to being the independent I was for most of my adult life.
But back on topic. I think two outcomes are possible in the presidential election. One, is that Hillary will win by a huge margin. The other, is that she won’t. Either way, what we are witnessing appears to be the politics of desperation. A shoot-from-the-hip kind of non-fact-based rhetoric, that turned Donald Trump’s buffoonery into a serious threat. If the polls are to be believed, a great many people are now desperate enough to elect a man whose campaign began as a kind of political joke. A sideshow to the real race that eventually turned reality on its head as millions of Americans, living on the edge and feeling abandoned, gave up on the “business as usual” politics represented by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, thrusting the nation into the politics of desperation.
Why desperation? That’s easy.
In October of 2014, Christopher Inghram wrote a piece for the Washington Post entitled, “Child poverty in the U.S. is the worst in the developed world.” In his story Inghram reports that “The United States ranks near the bottom of the pack of wealthy nations on a measure of child poverty, according to a new report from UNICEF. Nearly one third of U.S. children live in households with an income below 60 percent of the national median income in 2008 – about $31,000 annually. In the richest nation in the world, one in three kids live in poverty. “
You need more? Okay, here it is. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, things are improving, but we still have a big problem with 43.1 million Americans living in poverty in 2015. That’s 3.5 million fewer than 2014. It’s an improvement, but still an outrageous number condering the United States is the seventh richest country in the world.
No matter what misinformed, disinformed or just plain deluded individuals might shout out at rallies, we are not number one. Based upon data from the IMF we are number seven, Behind Qatar, Singapore and Norway among others, all of whom appear to be unaffected by the much publicized evils of socialism the right continues to promise will be the end of us all. Not really. That’s disinformation. For some of the wealthiest countries on earth, a little Socialism is a very good thing. It’s working very well. Not Communism. Take a deep breath, try and calm down before you start shouting. What many countries have is Socialism in conjunction with free enterprise. It works, no matter what Ayn Rand and her Neocon fear peddlers might tell you.
Believe it or not, Mr. Ripley, in most of the developed world, there are people who think others who are sick or infirm or broken and bloody, deserve healthcare, even if they can’t afford to pay for it. It’s called advanced human civilization. Beyond that, and amazing as it might seem, keeping people healthy is far more cost-effective than letting them fall terribly ill and then paying to sustain their illness for months or maybe even years. What a shock.
It was along those same lines, undoubtedly in consort with a fact-based investigation, thatBarack Obama began promoting a public option as part of the ACA. That’s the “Affordable Care Act,” or what some call “Obamacare.” He wanted a form of national healthcare that would actually compete with the private health insurance industry, but had to give up on it lest his entire health reform package might be shot down by legislators bought off by lobbyists for the healthcare industrial complex. And so, again according to the Census Bureau, 29-million Americans remain uninsured, while the cost of private health insurance continues to rise.
At the same time, as Bernie Sanders loved to point out before his campaign was sideswiped and run off the road by the Clinton machine assisted by a less than impartial DNC, “America now has more wealth and income inequality than any major developed country on earth, and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is wider than at any time since the 1920s.” Another factoid Bernie loved to hammer home was that, “There is something profoundly wrong when 58 percent of all new income since the Wall Street crash has gone to the top one percent.”
Yes there is, and Bernie got it, but Bernie, unfortunately, is no longer in the race, leaving us with Hillary and Donald Trump.
I don’t care for Hillary Clinton, what with her ties to Wall Street and big corporate money. But I will vote for her. With Hillary, at least we know what we’ll be getting. At least she has given some indication of who she is – a centrist Republican in Democrat’s clothing. With Mr. Trump, there is no certainty as to what he might try and wose yet, do, as president, other than continue to objectify and belittle women while making outrageous statements containing little or no fact as he launches childish ad hominem Twitter attacks and threatens lawsuits against anyone who questions his opinions as master of the universe. Except for people he likes, like Vladimir Putin, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani and New Jersey Governor, Chris Chrisite, who is currently under investigation in connection with the “Bridgegate” scandal.
Mrs. Clinton, is clearly far from perfect. My biggest concern is whether she will be able to poke her head out from inside the beltway bubble that encapsulates so many in D.C., preventing them from seeing the deperation that exists in a world with no connection to the toney eateries of Georgetown. A desperation that has convinced millions that it will be a good idea to let Mr. Trump blow up the existing broken government rather than giving Hillary a shot at trying to fix it.
For me, the risk of voting for the political fantasyland of Donald Trump, is far too great. I’ll be voting for Hillary in the hope that she can permanently shake off the Neoliberal persona that had firmly taken hold of her before Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders came along pulling her back to the traditional ranks of real Democrats, providing hope to so many of the hopeless. Like millions of students, being crushed by student-loan debt and homeowners facing foreclosure by corrupt bankers. A wealthy nation being smashed by income inequality with a neo-feudal system ignoring those in need while people like Donald Trump promise to give even more tax-cuts to the wealthy, perpetuating the practice of “trickle down Reagonomics” which has failed the nation’s common good so miserably.
With Hillary, at least we know what we’ll be getting. At least there is hope for her to continue along a less Neoliberal path. Hope that she will be further persuaded by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, that there is a better way. With Mr. Trump one fears that we will all eventually see fiction turn to fact, with millions of us relegated to being litle more than steet urchins standing out in the cold with our outstretched hands pleading on behalf of our empty bellies, “Please Sir, I want some more.”