Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, a British view

This video from the USA says about itself:

Wall Street Reform and Financial Policy | Bernie Sanders

5 January 2016

Bernie Sanders discusses his vision for economic reform in America, including reining in Wall Street and financial policies he would implement as president. “If Wall Street does not end its greed, we will end it for them!” #BreakEmUp

NY State Senator James Sanders introduces US Senator Bernie Sanders with an illuminating speech on the impact of the financial meltdown on New Yorkers from all walks of life.

By John Haylett in Britain:

No longer a stroll in the park for Hillary Clinton

Friday 12th February 2016

The money-talks fixers and manipulators may yet carry the day in the Democratic Party, but the disenfranchised and dispossessed are speaking out and demanding that their voices be heard, writes JOHN HAYLETT

HILLARY CLINTON’S resounding defeat to self-styled “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire primary this week is being played down by the Clinton camp.

Her supporters look forward to contests in the more racially diverse states Nevada and South Carolina, having declared New Hampshire unrepresentative and custom-made for Sanders, the independent senator for neighbouring Vermont.

It wasn’t always so. Eight years ago, it was the scene of a stunning victory for Clinton over Barack Obama.

Before that her husband Bill Clinton proclaimed his surprising second-place finish in 1992 as evidence that he was the “comeback kid” with the ability to recover from largely self-created crises.

New Hampshire ought to have been a stroll in the park for her, but Sanders romped home with 60.4 per cent of the poll to 38 per cent for Clinton, clinching 15 delegates to nine for the Democratic Party’s national convention.

This followed Iowa where previously hot favourite Clinton squeaked in by 49.9 per cent to 49.6 per cent, taking 23 delegates to the Vermont senator’s 21.

Nevada provides the next setting on February 20 for registered Democrat voters, followed by South Carolina on February 27.

Sanders has little record of making a pitch to voters on the basis of identity, in contrast to Clinton who has built support through contacts in the trade unions and the Congressional Black Caucus, where 18 of 20 members of the caucus’s political action committee have opted to back her.

Interestingly, South Carolina Representative James Clyburn has not yet shown his hand, having previously indicated that he would back Clinton.

“That was certainly my intention, but I am re-evaluating that. I really am having serious conversations with my family members,” he told the Washington Post this week.

Clinton’s supporters often refer to African-American voters as her “firewall,” which increasing numbers of black people regard as patronising and offensive.

The same goes for the claim made in the 1990s that Bill Clinton was the first black US president, which was a silly enough comment then, but after eight years of Obama takes on an even more objectionable flavour.

It also ignores comments made by Bill Clinton in 2008 when he accused his wife’s opponent of playing the race card.

Obama said then: “We are up against the idea that it’s acceptable to say anything and do anything to win an election. We know that this is exactly what’s wrong with our politics.”

Former president Clinton has apparently not learned the lesson of that campaign, taking on the role of attack dog once more against his wife’s opponent.

Sanders makes no secret of what he sees as the corrupting influence of big business, especially Wall Street, on US political life.

“We’re running a very radical campaign because we are telling the American people the truth and that’s something that is not often told in the political world, he told supporters last week.

He has singled out the role of Goldman Sachs, which has paid Hillary Clinton $670,000 for three speeches and shelled out $850,000 to the right-wing Democrats’ Third Way think tank that pumps out propaganda misrepresenting Sanders’s policies.

Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein believes that the Vermont senator’s presidential candidacy represents “a dangerous moment.”

Given that Sanders wants to see the “too-big-to-fail banks” broken up and an end to corporate tax-dodging, he would, wouldn’t he?

Sanders’s stance that he will accept no corporate campaign donations provoked excitement among a broad spread of the population — notably but not exclusively young voters — who want to believe that politics can be different from the cynical stitch-up it often appears to be.

He portrays his campaign as a “political revolution,” prompting Bill Clinton to sneer: “When you’re making a revolution you can’t be too careful with the facts.”

Clinton derided Sanders as hypocritical, “hermetically sealed” and dishonest and was backed by his wife who implied that her opponent had benefited from Goldman Sachs money indirectly through donations to the Senate Democratic Caucus.

“Anybody that doesn’t agree with me is a tool of the establishment,” the former president mocked, ignoring the reality of the wealth, power and connections enjoyed by his family.

In a reminder that satire died when Henry Kissinger won the Nobel prize for peace, Clinton accused Sanders’s supporters of “sexism” because of negative internet comments.

This serial sexual predator of workplace subordinates cited a “progressive” blogger who had used a pseudonym to support his wife and “been subject to vicious trolling and attacks that are literally too profane often, not to mention sexist, to repeat.”

To his credit, Sanders said that he was aware of people who claimed to be his supporters making such vile slurs, declaring: “It’s disgusting. Look, we don’t want that crap. Anyone who’s supporting me and doing sexist things, I don’t want them. We don’t want them.”

The directness of Sanders’s principled rejection of supposed supporters whose approach contradicts his own is at variance with Clinton’s all-things-to-all-voters approach.

She claims on the one hand to have a similar enmity towards the power elite while being clearly part of it.

Clinton told students at New England College her opponents sowed doubts about her even though she had a long history of talking about the toughest issues.

“I know that I am viewed as a direct threat to the forces that call the shots in this country,” she said.

Expressing respect for the “very strong passion that Senator Sanders brings to his critique of the economy and his critique of Wall Street,” she added: “I happen to share it” before suggesting vacuously that Wall Street wasn’t the only problem and that all barriers holding people back had to be addressed.

She was proud to welcome her husband’s former secretary of state Madeleine Albright to a campaign rally.

Albright, who retains notoriety for her remark that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children during the sanctions imposed on Baghdad in the 1990s constituted “a price worth paying,” contended that Clinton should receive the backing of all women voters.

“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women,” she asserted.

Common Dreams blogger Donna Smith responded: “For many, many years, working-class women and girls like me in this country have suffered in a ‘special kind of hell’ as we have struggled against policies rigged to protect the interests of the wealthy and powerful.

“So for these and other reasons, I must take issue with making gender the primary determinant when making my choice in this Democratic presidential primary.”

Smith detailed the traumas endured by her family because of the US insurance-based health system, concluding: “Having a vagina is not sufficient for me. Supporting Medicare for All is. My support is with Bernie Sanders for this reason and many other similar policy reasons.”

Her refusal to submit to knee-jerk identity politics was mirrored in Iowa, for example, where Service Employees International Union president Mary Kay Henry and other union leaders urged workers to vote Clinton but many chose not to.

Union confederation AFL-CIO Iowa president Ken Sager said: “I know there’s a lot of rank-and-file people that like Bernie Sanders.

“The people I have talked to think that he is very genuine in terms of supporting the issues that are important to workers and their families.”

Automatic African-American support for Clinton may also be overstated, with various straws in the wind.

Former National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People president Ben Jealous backed Sanders for having “the courage to confront the institutionalised bias that stains our nation.”

South Carolina state representative Justin Bamberg said: “Before a few weeks ago I never gave Bernie Sanders the time of day, but if you look at Sanders he has been as solid as concrete with regard to his passion for racial, social and economic justice.”

Erica Garner, whose father Eric Garner was choked to death by a New York City police officer as he was arrested for selling loose cigarettes, commented: “Black Americans — all Americans — need a leader with a record that speaks for itself and to me it’s clear.

“Of all the presidential candidates, Senator Bernie Sanders is our strongest ally.”

Civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton discussed where Sanders stands with the candidate himself this week in Harlem but will offer no endorsement until after speaking to Clinton next week.

“Senator Sanders coming here this morning further makes clear that we will not be ignored,” he said.

If nothing more, the old Democratic Party certainties are becoming a little shaky.

Grassroots campaigners and voters who believe that present-day reality can’t be as good as it gets are speaking out and, just as Labour members in Britain did, daring to elect the supposedly unelectable.

Sanders may not win the race, although opinion polls indicate that he would beat Donald Trump more comprehensively than Clinton would.

The money-talks fixers and manipulators may yet carry the day in the Democratic Party, but the disenfranchised and dispossessed are speaking out and demanding that their voices be heard.

6 thoughts on “Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, a British view

  1. Pingback: Killed Eric Garner’s daughter on Bernie Sanders | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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